How to Survive a Plague

The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS

4.45 based on 520 ratings & 123 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 01.12.2016
ISBN: 9781509839414
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

Winner of The Green Carnation Prize for LGBTQ literature

Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT non-fiction

Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2017

'This superbly written chronicle will stand as a towering work in its field' Sunday Times

'Inspiring, uplifting and necessary reading' - Steve Silberman author of Neurotribes, Financial Times

How to Survive a Plague by David France is the riveting, powerful and profoundly moving story of the AIDS epidemic and the grass-roots movement of activists, many of them facing their own life-or-death struggles, who grabbed the reins of scientific research to help develop the drugs that turned HIV from a mostly fatal infection to a manageable disease. Around the globe, the 15.8 million people taking anti-AIDS drugs today are alive thanks to their efforts.

Not since the publication of Randy Shilts's now classic And the Band Played On in 1987 has a book sought to measure the AIDS plague in such brutally human, intimate, and soaring terms.

Weaving together the stories of dozens of individuals, this is an insider's account of a pivotal moment in our history and one that changed the way that medical science is practised worldwide.

In the media

This superbly written chronicle will stand as a towering work in its field, the best book on the pretreatment years of the epidemic since Randy Shilts’s And the Band Played On (1987), which it corrects in places. Most of the people to whom it bears witness are not around to read it, but millions are alive today thanks to their efforts, and this moving record will ensure that their legacy does not die with them.
Sunday Times
David France's riveting and comprehensive How to Survive a Plague purports, accurately, to be the definitive account of the successful struggle to halt the AIDS epidemic. Its 640 pages are packed with scientific, medical and social history, offering the reader a simultaneously intimate and sweeping understanding of the crisis from its earliest onset . . . and beyond to the era in which survivor's guilt troubled many of the movement's former activists . . . In rich detail and with a fine texture that benefits from his insider position, France charts the disease's spread as well as the heroic and flawed human efforts to contain it. Grippingly narrative and action-packed . . . A remarkably written and highly relevant record of what angry, invested citizens can come together to achieve, and a moving and instructive testament to one community's refusal — in the face of ignorance, hatred and death — to be silenced or to give up.
Chicago Tribune
David France managed to simultaneously break my heart and rekindle my anger in just the first few pages of his breathtakingly important new book . . . Riveting.
Washington Post