Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival

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Simon and Schuster, Jan 14, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 420 pages
Sean Strub, founder of the groundbreaking POZ magazine, producer of the hit play “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me,” and the first openly HIV-positive candidate for US Congress, charts his remarkable life—a story of politics and AIDS and a powerful testament to loss, hope, and survival.

Sean Strub, founder of the groundbreaking POZ magazine, producer of the hit play The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, and the first openly HIV-positive candidate for U.S. Con­gress, charts his remarkable life—a story of politics and AIDS and a powerful testament to loss, hope, and survival.

As a politics-obsessed Georgetown freshman, Sean Strub arrived in Washington, D.C., from Iowa in 1976, with a plum part-time job running a Senate elevator in the U.S. Capitol. He also harbored a terrifying secret: his attraction to men. As Strub explored the capital’s political and social circles, he discovered a parallel world where powerful men lived double lives shrouded in shame.

When the AIDS epidemic hit in the early 1980s, Strub was living in New York and soon found himself attending “more funerals than birthday parties.” Scared and angry, he turned to radical activism to combat discrimination and demand research. Strub takes readers through his own diagnosis and inside ACT UP, the activist organization that transformed a stigmatized cause into one of the defining political movements of our time.

From the New York of Studio 54 and Andy Warhol’s Factory to the intersection of politics and burgeoning LGBT and AIDS movements, Strub’s story crackles with history. He recounts his role in shocking AIDS demonstrations at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the home of U.S. Sen­ator Jesse Helms. Body Counts is a vivid portrait of a tumultuous era, with an astonishing cast of characters, including Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Keith Haring, Bill Clinton, and Yoko Ono.

By the time a new class of drugs transformed the epidemic in 1996, Strub was emaciated and covered with Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, the scarlet letter of AIDS. He was among the fortunate who returned, Lazaruslike, from the brink of death.

Strub has written a vital, inspiring memoir, unprecedented in scope, about this deeply important period of American history.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bobbieharv - LibraryThing

I enjoyed this book in the beginning when it was more like a memoir. About halfway through it became a bit of a slog: too much detail about every single meeting, too much name-dropping, too much about his many businesses and activism. It needed some drastic editing to give it more power. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SigmundFraud - LibraryThing

Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival by Sean Strub is the story of a young boy growing up in Iowa who sort of realizes he is gay but is not certain exactly what that is all about ... Read full review

Contents

December 1989 New York City
1
Out of Iowa
5
AIDS cont Strubs congressional campaign and
16
The Way Out
23
Tennessee and Me
45
Sphere of Influence
49
Making Movement
65
Virus and Violence
83
Today Is a Good Day
259
The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me
265
gays and 20 68 108 109 11316 visiting people with 19091 2078
274
Ask and Tell
275
Launch
283
Gingrich Newt 248 327
285
Firsts
289
Pharma Watching
305

Kentucky Fried Closet
97
Aburto Gonzalo 31011 39798
98
The End of a Day Like This
109
Of Mousetraps and Men
121
Stigma and Solidarity
141
Testing and Telling
155
The Living Room
169
Rolodead File
183
Georgia 8 103
187
SilenceDeath
195
Unexpected Expire
207
Keith and Swen
219
Cardinal Sin
227
Hope Is Hope
235
Running Man
239
Taking the Helms
251
Creating Communities
309
Dark Mark
315
Feeling Our Pain
325
Barebacking
335
Eugene and Angel
341
Memento Mori
347
Recall
355
Lazarus
361
Stephen
371
Postpartum
379
Naked to the World
383
HIV Is Not a Crime
391
Acknowledgments Index 401
401
Hail Marys 2 229
413
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Sean Strub is an activist, writer, and executive director of the Sero Project, which combats the criminalization of people with HIV. He founded POZ magazine, the leading publication providing information about HIV, and is a frequent speaker about HIV/AIDS, self-empowerment, and the intersections of sex, public health, and the law. A native of Iowa City, Strub attended Georgetown and Columbia universities. He and his partner, Xavier Morales, live in New York and Milford, Pennsylvania.

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