How to Survive a Plague
Green Carnation Prize
Baillie Gifford Prize
The riveting, powerful and profoundly moving story of the AIDS epidemic.
Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
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
How to Survive a Plague by David France is a social and scientific history of AIDS, 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.
'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 is epoch-making: the whole social and scientific history of AIDS, brilliantly told. Informative, entertaining, suspenseful, moving, and personal.
As one generation grows up with the misconception that AIDS is nothing more than a manageable illness, another grows old with the fear that the epidemic's early days will disappear into the fog of history. How to Survive a Plague is the book for both generations. France has pulled off the seemingly impossible here, invoking the terror and confusion of those dark times while simultaneously providing a clear-eyed timeline of the epidemic's emergence and the disparate, often dissonant forces that emerged to fight it.
Heroic and heartbreaking and magnificent history throughout, How to Survive a Plague is one of the great tales of our time: the story of incredibly brave and determined men and women who defied government, the pharmaceutical industry, vicious homophobia, and the death sentence of AIDS to overwhelm an awful scourge.