And the Band Plays On by Randy Shilts

I think that AIDS is a thing that queer people in later generations have to find a way to deal with. It’s this piece of living history that wiped out so many of our role models and would-be mentors. We need to find a way to mourn or understand or do something, how to live alongside this past.

It’s something I keep reading about, and I don’t always know how to handle about it, but it can’t be ignored.  It was kind of miserable to spend three straight days reading about how the Reagan administration let people die, but I couldn’t stop reading. It’s incredibly compelling.

This is very well done journalism. It looks at national organizations and political movements without ever losing track of the humans. It doesn’t just talk about the gay organizations, but really digs into the CDC and other medical organizations that were involved.

There are some parts that are dated. Africa gets called primitive too often, and a few other things that pinged me as odd reading in the year 2016, though I can’t recall exactly what now. Some of the language feels remarkably flowering for journalism, but I enjoyed that actually. It added character, made the book feel more beautiful and gay.

It’s definitely worth reading. It’s a really valuable perspective on a really important subject.


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