The first journalist to report exclusively on AIDS, Randy Shilts watched the disease grow from a mysterious cluster to an epidemiological nightmare. His account, And the Band Played On, published in 1987, tracked the disease’s spread, primarily attributing it to a sexually promiscuous population and slow-moving government response. “AIDS did not just happen,” Shilts said. “AIDS was allowed to happen.” In a prescient analysis of the harm wrought when public health is not a financial priority, Shilts blamed the Reagan Administration’s reduction in domestic spending for failing to contain the epidemic in its early years. But it was his clear-eyed, nuanced portrait of the gay community that made him a champion to many: writer-historian Garry Wills said that the book was to gay liberation what Silent Spring had been to environmentalists.
Autobiography / Memoir
Self-Help / Instructional