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And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic | [Randy Shilts]

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

Upon its first publication 20 years ago, And The Band Played On was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of investigatve reporting. An international best seller, 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 80s while the most trusted institutions ignored or denied the threat.
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Publisher's Summary

By the time Rock Hudson's death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century. America faced a troubling question: What happened? How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously?

In answering these questions, Shilts weaves the disparate threads into a coherent story, pinning down every evasion and contradiction at the highest levels of the medical, political, and media establishments. Shilts shows that the epidemic spread wildly because the federal government put budget ahead of the nation's welfare; health authorities placed political expediency before the public health; and scientists were often more concerned with international prestige than saving lives.

Against this backdrop, Shilts tells the heroic stories of individuals in science and politics, public health and the gay community, who struggled to alert the nation to the enormity of the danger it faced. And the Band Played On is both a tribute to these heroic people and a stinging indictment of the institutions that failed the nation so badly.

As an added bonus, when you purchase any of our Audible Modern Vanguard productions of Randy Shilts' books, you'll also get an exclusive Jim Atlas interview added to your library.

This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.

©1987 Randy Shilts; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The most thorough, comprehensive exploration of the AIDS epidemic to date....It is fascinating, frightening, and essential reading." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"And the Band Played On is about the kind of people we have been for the past seven years. That is its terror, and its strength." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A heroic work of journalism." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (29 )
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4.3 (4 )
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  •  
    sarah east balmain, Australia 06-07-10
    sarah east balmain, Australia 06-07-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Excellent Journalism"

    Fantastic research; interesting format ranging from political to personal stories; comprehensive detail... and beautifully read. Buy this, it's fantastic!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Captain Awesome 09-13-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    "One of the best"

    This is one of the best works of social commentary of the 20th century. What "the jungle" did for the meat packing industry, this book should have done for epidemiology. The audiobook flows nicely, bringing Shilts' prose to life. A must read!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Alvaton, KY, United States 01-04-10
    Angie Alvaton, KY, United States 01-04-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Book"

    I enjoyed this book. Some parts a bit repetitive but mostly that is the nature of the story - continually people dropping the ball and making the same mistakes over and over. All in all an eye opening read.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dulce USA 03-16-12
    Dulce USA 03-16-12 Member Since 2010

    Avid reader until vision impairment set in. Now an avid listener!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Advocacy journalism about AIDS in America"

    When Shilts' detailed history of the early AIDS epidemic was first published, it was received as a pathbreaking work of advocacy journalism. It's a story of brilliant although sometimes craven scientists, short-sighted and callous government officials, heroic AIDS activists and tragic victims. It makes for compelling listening, although it's clear that the account is not impartial. The frequent lack of objectivity is understandable (Shilts was not just a local journalist but also a member of the gay community), but is often irritating.

    Shilts' anger at what is perceived to be government heel dragging regarding the epidemic is front and center, made especially so by the narration. The narrator has two voices: one is a sarcastic and furious tone aimed at officials, the other a soothing, empathic tone describing the victims of the disease. At times these are so exaggerated that they veer into near parody. The story is poignant enough that it doesn't benefit from the overdramatic narration.

    I was alternately engaged in and taken out of the story. In parts it was beautifully written, the many personal details just right for the point that was being made. In other parts it was so slanted and even unfair that I couldn't listen without mentally objecting to what was being said. It's also marred by a great deal of redundancy, and over the course of 31 hours of listening, this became very tedious.

    I'd recommend this to anyone who wants an eyewitness account of the early years of AIDS written by a someone who himself became a participant and even later a victim of the disease. It's impassioned and well detailed, but not always objective.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Worcester, MA, USA 08-29-09
    Elizabeth Worcester, MA, USA 08-29-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Definately a must read!!"

    This is an EXCELLENT book. The narrator did a beautiful job. The movie was great, but the book is so much better.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mayte a coruña, Spain 12-28-09
    Mayte a coruña, Spain 12-28-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Beautiful and brilliant"


    It really shows the difficult early years of the epidemic. I loved it, I liked the movie but the book is awesome

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Gordon New York, NY 08-03-10
    James Gordon New York, NY 08-03-10 Member Since 2004
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    "Don't bother writing a review, they'll lose it."

    I wrote a review when this book was first made available ... and waited ... and waited ... and waiated for it to be posted. It never happened. It shows up for me when I call up all my reviews, but has never been posted for others to consider. This is not the first time this happened - jut the last - since I no longer waste my time writing reviews ....

    8 of 27 people found this review helpful
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