Book Review: And the Band Played On

09Jun09

My lack of frequent posting can be attributed to two things: closing my laptop more often too enjoy summer and finishing And the Band Played On by Randy Shilt, number one on my summer reading list.

This is the part in the summer reading list posts where I tell you what I thought of it. This book is incredible. The amount of research that went into the book is completely mind-boggling. I know very little about Randy Shilt’s journalism career besides this book, but the sheer depth of the detail and the wealth of information he’s made into a coherent narrative speak volumes about his skills as a reporter. Aspiring and practicing journalists everywhere should take this moment to tip their hats to Randy Shilt. *hat tipped*

As far as the content goes, probably one of the most important books I’ve read in my adult life. Since I was made in the 80’s, I have no recollection of a time before AIDS so this book gave me a play-by-play of the beginnings of that epidemic and a time in recent history that I know very little of or understand. The conflicts and issues and people embroiled in the fight against the disease have in some ways radically changed the way I look at some aspects of life. The cycle of tragic AIDS death after tragic AIDS death and denial of funds after denial of funds does get a little monotonous just pass the middle, but the book makes you live those monotonous going-in-circles moments that those suffering from AIDS and the researchers trying to stop AIDS faced.

I’m glad I read it, all 605 pages of it. It made me angry, oh so many times it made me angry. It made me sad. A few times I even came close to tears. It even made me laugh believe it or not. I don’t expect you to read it because it’s a big book to swallow, but I think if you do you won’t regret it.

Next on the list: The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean

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