HIV history and cultural consequences
June 30, 2011 8:27 PM   Subscribe

Looking for books about the history of HIV/AIDS in North America. Wanting both clinical/ epidemiology and social narratives. Also, would love anything that touches on stage performers and the affect it had on creative fields during the 80s.
posted by asockpuppet to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
And the Band Played On by the late Randy Shilts is the classic. Also The Epidemic by Jonathan Engel.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:29 PM on June 30, 2011 [10 favorites]

For a theatrical perspective, you should read "The Normal Heart" by Larry Kramer.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:50 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I haven't read it, but I have heard that "My Own Country" by Abraham Verghese is supposed to be really good.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:15 PM on June 30, 2011

"The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance" by Laurie Garrett has a chapter on HIV/AIDS, most libraries have a copy.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:58 PM on June 30, 2011

This is more of a fictionalized social narrative, but 'Angels in America' is well worth watching. It covers a number of intersecting stories in the midst of the crisis. It's a beautiful piece of work.
posted by artof.mulata at 12:34 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Heaven's Coast (memoir of partner's death at that point in history, in New England) by Mark Doty (US writer/poet).
posted by rumposinc at 4:48 AM on July 1, 2011

Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration by David Wojnarowicz

More memoir than history, as the title implies, but it's terribly powerful and deeply relevant. Please read it.
posted by safetyfork at 6:31 AM on July 1, 2011

Abraham Verghese: My Own Country: A Doctor's Story
posted by ryanshepard at 7:15 AM on July 1, 2011

James Gillett's A Grassroots History of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in North America.

Regarding the impact of HIV/AIDS on performers and other creative people take a look at the well-regarded organization Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Someone there could likely provide you with resources.
posted by ericb at 8:46 AM on July 1, 2011

Good Intentions is a really excellent history - it was my intro to the politics of HIV back in the early 90's.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:40 AM on July 1, 2011

As Is and The Normal Heart (the latter already recommended by The Pink Superhero) are the two earliest plays written about the epidemic. They're a nice pair - As Is is more about relationships in the face of the epidemic and The Normal Heart is more about the activism that was emerging around it.

There are a number of oral history projects out there. Most of them have content available online. UC Berkeley, NIH, ACT UP, NYPL for the Performing Arts.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:26 PM on July 1, 2011

Impure Science
Sex and Germs
The AIDS Crisis is Ridiculous
AIDS Demo Graphics
AIDS Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism
White Nights and Ascending Shadows

I love Laurie Garrett and 2nd that recommendation. Also the Mark Doty.

I hate and despise And the Band Played On. If you must read it, please do not assume that anything in there happened remotely as Randy Shilts imagined it.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:52 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

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