And the Band Played On Author:Randy Shilts "By October 2, 1985, the morning Rock Hudson died, the word was familiar to almost every household in the Western world: AIDS. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome had seemed a comfortably distant threat to most of those who had heard of it before, the misfortune of people who fit into rather distinct classes of outcasts and social pariahs. But ... more »suddenly, in the summer of 1985, when a movie star was diagnosed with the disease and the newspapers couldn't stop talking about it, the AIDS epidemic became plapable and the threat loomed everywhere."
So begins Randy Shilt's massive, compulsively readable "And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic". As a reporter in San Francisco, and as a gay man himself, Shilts was uniquely poised as the right man in the right place at the right time to look at the roots of the AIDS epidemic, and more importantly, at the social milieu and the response of the medical community which battled bureaucracy, prejudice, and disbelief in its attempts to identify, treat, and prevent the spread of a profoundly threatening medical crisis.« less