AND THE BAND PLAYED ON

3 Sep
IMG_3129 (2)

Penguin Group 1987 soft cover 621 pages including Afterword – non fiction politics and the AIDS epidemic

For the past month or so, I’ve seemingly been in a delirium with regard to reading anything other than that of a spiritual nature. Interesting how we tend to gravitate toward the sacrosanct when life doubles you over with a sucker-punch. Anyway, in looking through my up-stairs’ personal library for something to read other than that of a soul searching kind, I’ve come across many non-fiction books (didn’t realize how many I had until I started assimilating through the masses). These are my scavengers: the strays without a home who have somehow found a way to congregate amongst their own kind. So, having prefaced with this anomaly, I now continue onward with one of the non fiction books I’ve been reading when I haven‘t been immersed in the study of religious theories.

And the Band Played On is the true story about how the Aids (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic began and how it was swept under the rug by government bureaucracy for years. This is a true story about my generation. We, who lived through it, and we who didn’t.

During the late 1970s, as I recall, while I was still in California, the baby boomer generation was just beginning its transition into a new decade as a hushed plague was making itself comfortable. Something out there was killing us – singeing and torching lives before anyone noticed and certainly before anyone wanted to notice. The hub of the matter, in California, was in San Francisco, not far from the maddening crowd, as they say.

Randy Shilts (1951-1994) was the first openly gay journalist to work for a mainstream newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle. The book, as it turned out, was to be his own uncanny prophecy. On the day he gave his manuscript for publication (1987), he also learned that he had tested positive for HIV, which later turned into full blown AIDS.

The story chronicles some of the individuals who were ill at the time, and the scientific community who were trying to put a face on a serial killer. Obviously, since its publication, more light has been shed on this disease, but at that time, the yawn of indifference spoke volumes. No one cared. This was, at the time, not a mainstream concern.

All that changed in 1985 when the spotlight shinned so bright that the executioner could no longer hide. This is the story of the inception of a lethal dose of a reality being swept under the rug. Not only by the politics of the time, but by the scientific community as well. This book is a tour de force piece of journalistic writing. It gets down and dirty. It name’s names and makes no excuses for it.

Yes, I know. You already know all about it. Do you? Do you really?

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One Response to “AND THE BAND PLAYED ON”

  1. Recniky September 17, 2015 at 8:59 p09 #

    You’ve hit the nail on the head: We know – and yet we don’t know all of it. Such a great reminder to your readers to check this topic out – and through this book. Thanks!

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