And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, 20th-Anniversary Edition

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, 20th-Anniversary Edition

Randy Shilts

Language: English

Pages: 656

ISBN: 0312374631

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Upon it's first publication twenty years ago, And The Band Played on was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of investigatve reporting. An international bestseller, a nominee for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and made into a critically acclaimed movie, Shilts' expose revealed why AIDS was allowed to spread unchecked during the early 80's while the most trusted institutions ignored or denied the threat. One of the few true modern classics, it changed and framed how AIDS was discussed in the following years. Now republished in a special 20th Anniversary edition, And the Band Played On remains one of the essential books of our time.

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Congressional Research Service sent over the report he had been seeking for months. The basic mortality statistics were startling enough, the service found, far worse than the 40-percent-dead figure that always made the papers. Of the handful of cases diagnosed in 1979, 85 percent were dead, about the same level of mortality as for cases reported in 1980. For cases reported in 1981, 60 percent already were dead, while one in four patients diagnosed between January and June of 1982 had died.

candles glimmering down Market Street, Gary thought. It would be such a gentle, nonthreatening battle line. The demands could be made, not in an ugly confrontational way, but in a way that invited the best in people. Besides, the media could not avoid taking long, lingering shots of homosexuals holding candles. It would be a smash. Gary got on the horn to other people with AIDS. It was going to be their march, they decided, articulating their needs as the people most intimately struggling with

minister clearly had authority to speak on matters “biblical.” Few regions were immune to the AIDS anxiety sweeping the United States. In New York City, a bank robber used that fear, handing tellers a note demanding cash. “I have AIDS,” the note read, “and I have less than 30 days to live.” The strategy worked. One bank employee later admitted she could have dropped behind her bandit barrier and called for help, but she said she was so worried that she might have contracted AIDS from touching

whom he had contracted the disease, and everybody had a different version of the ruse he was using to conceal his identity. The most popular was that he wasn’t wearing his toupee. At one point, both San Francisco dailies and three of the four local television news stations were trying to track down the rumors. What made the story so irresistible, many agreed privately, was that Reynolds was so masculine. The notion that he might have AIDS tickled the archetypal view of sex roles that lurked in

couldn’t believe that Kico had lived six months in San Francisco and had never gone to bed with anybody. He laughed at the earnest twenty-four-year-old when he saw the Hindu religious book, the Bhagavad Gita, by Kico’s bed. “You’re just like a little kid,” concluded Bill after they made love. “What other way is there to be?” Kico asked. Kico was enchanted by the earnest politico who seemed so caught up in helping people and making a difference in the world. Bill explained all kinds of things

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