The Gravest Show on Earth: America in the Age of AIDS

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Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995 - Political Science - 399 pages
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Not since And the Band Played On has any journalist taken readers behind the scenes in the war against AIDS to reveal how avarice, ignorance, and egotism are subverting the nation's struggle against the epidemic. But Elinor Burkett goes well beyond Randy Shilts. She not only reports on the decade of plague he did not cover, but addresses the wider questions about what AIDS reveals about America on the brink of the new millennium. Readers meet the major players - from activist/playwright Larry Kramer to scientist Robert Gallo and MTV star Pedro Zamora - and watch them in action at home, in their laboratories, and at demonstrations. We see Jonas Salk manipulating his company's stock prices by carefully parceling out research information, Henry Heimlich peddling malaria as the magic bullet that will kill HIV, and federally funded scientists making "advertorials" for the drug companies whose products they test. We are taken into the streets at political funerals and behind the scenes of the negotiations at which leaders of the AIDS service industry divide up government funding for the dying. We read detailed accounts of the tensions that AIDS has caused in the African American community and of the fight staged by women to end the nation's decades-long policy of approving drugs tested only on men.

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User Review  - Kirkus

Former Miami Herald reporter Burkett (coauthor of A Gospel of Shame: Children, Sexual Abuse, and the Catholic Church, 1993) flings accusations of greed, incompetence, and mendacity at virtually ... Read full review

The gravest show on earth: America in the age of AIDS

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Writing that "AIDS is the most politically controversial epidemic in human history," Burkett, a reporter for the Miami Herald from 1988 to 1992, delivers what might be considered a sequel to Randy ... Read full review


ONE Pomp Without Circumstance
TWO Evidence to the Contrary
THREE Magic Bullets and Bottom Lines

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