• How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France

REVIEW

How scientists and citizens affiliated calm to lift the afterlife book from AIDS.

It may be adamantine for anyone not animate at the time to appreciate how devastatingly the AIDS epidemic announced itself in the aboriginal 1980s and how adamant the Ronald Reagan government was in accomplishing annihilation about it. Emblematic was Jesse Helms, the North Carolina segregationist agent who argued in abutment of an alteration bearing his name to prohibit analysis and analysis funding, which he said would “promote, encourage, or disregard homosexual activities.” Added bills introduced at the time included a apartment that, amid added things, “sought to bar people with AIDS from practicing in the bloom affliction industry, alike as X-ray technicians.” Matters in the government did not activate to about-face around, writes documentarian/journalist France (Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal, 2004), until the Democrats took the White House, afterward a annoyed barter with activists in which applicant Bill Clinton “cast himself as a bigger acquaintance to bodies with AIDS than bodies with AIDS themselves.” It was those activists and their active efforts, France documents, that kept the amount of AIDS and allotment for its analysis in the public eye and on the political table, and while the continued action exhausted many—as France writes, there was a additional catching of biologic use, attributable to the self-medication of the traumatized—it was additionally abnormally able in rallying both accessible and scientific/medical support. The aftereffect was a transformation of the disease—not aloof a concrete one, with medications developed and fabricated accessible that could “regenerate a person’s allowed system,” but additionally a social one, with abundant of the stigma aerial from the ill. All this, as the author addendum in closing, was able by angry, articulate bodies out in the streets—a actual acceptable assignment for activists affianced in added issues today.

A lucid, burning updating of Randy Shilts’ And the Band Played On (1987) and a accomplished work of amusing history.

EDITORIAL REVIEW

A New York Times 2016 Notable Book

The definitive history of the successful battle to halt the AIDS epidemic—from the creator of, and inspired by, the seminal documentary How to Survive a Plague.

A riveting, powerful telling of the story of the grassroots movement of activists, many of them in a life-or-death struggle, who seized upon scientific research to help develop the drugs that turned HIV from a mostly fatal infection to a manageable disease. Ignored by public officials, religious leaders, and the nation at large, and confronted with shame and hatred, this small group of men and women chose to fight for their right to live by educating themselves and demanding to become full partners in the race for effective treatments. Around the globe, 16 million people are alive today thanks to their efforts.

Not since the publication of Randy Shilts’s classic And the Band Played On has a book measured the AIDS plague in such brutally human, intimate, and soaring terms.

In dramatic fashion, we witness the founding of ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group), and the rise of an underground drug market in opposition to the prohibitively expensive (and sometimes toxic) AZT. We watch as these activists learn to become their own researchers, lobbyists, drug smugglers, and clinicians, establishing their own newspapers, research journals, and laboratories, and as they go on to force reform in the nation’s disease-fighting agencies.

With his unparalleled access to this community David France illuminates the lives of extraordinary characters, including the closeted Wall Street trader-turned-activist, the high school dropout who found purpose battling pharmaceutical giants in New York, the South African physician who helped establish the first officially recognized buyers’ club at the height of the epidemic, and the public relations executive fighting to save his own life for the sake of his young daughter.

Expansive yet richly detailed, this is an insider’s account of a pivotal moment in the history of American civil rights. Powerful, heart-wrenching, and finally exhilarating, How to Survive a Plague is destined to become an essential part of the literature of AIDS.

How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS

  • BookHow to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS
  • Author:David France
  • ISBN:0307700631
  • ISBN-13:9780307700636
  • Binding:Paperback
  • Publishing Date:2016-11-29
  • Publisher:Knopf
  • Language:English
  • Number Of pages:640