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Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America 1st Edition

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226020495
ISBN-10: 0226020495
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Editorial Reviews Review

AIDS may have become a manageable disease syndrome, at least in Western countries, at the end of the 1990s, but the crisis has hardly run its course; as HIV continues to mutate, doomsayers predict even worse epidemics closely resembling AIDS in their etiology and social ramifications. Likewise, despite a large extant body of commentary--what Paula Treichler has called the "epidemic of signification"--work continues apace on the syndrome's history, a chronicle of devastating physical consequences and troublesome politics that for years prevented government and health officials, to say nothing of religious leaders and media pundits, from responding in the most effective, compassionate manner. But, given all the plague chronicles from historians, artists, musicians, and literati, how can one construct another comprehensive history of equal necessity? That was the question facing journalist John-Manuel Andriote when friends encouraged him to emphasize the effects of the syndrome on "the nation's hardest hit community, gay men." As such an account, intercutting personal testimonies with Andriote's straightforward, though righteously indignant, narrative, Victory Deferred serves a very useful purpose.

Andriote sets the stage for the identification of AIDS as a distinct political issue and disease syndrome by describing U.S. gay life of the 1970s, an era inaugurated by Stonewall and characterized by parallel increases in political activism and promiscuity. As the one fueled the other, he argues, gay men were rehearsing for the struggle that their sexual behavior would, in a sense, later require. Unfortunately, Andriote makes mistakes common to certain forms of AIDS reportage and thoroughly deconstructed in AIDS theory--calling it an STD that men "contract," for example--that go hand in hand with stereotypical foreshadowing ("little did they know") and foresight ("this would help in the fight against AIDS"). He admirably strives to avoid political correctness, however, and makes good use of his varied sources, ending with the precarious but hopeful '90s. Victory Deferred in no way supplants the indispensable work of predecessors such as Dennis Altman and Douglas Crimp, but Andriote has nevertheless written a fine overview of the 20th century's last major epidemic. --Robert Burns Neveldine

From Publishers Weekly

The AIDS pandemic has been chronicled in numerous books, from Randy Shilts's And the Band Played On to Steven Epstein's Impure Science, many of which have focused specifically on the disease's political, social, psychological or medical aspects. In his first book, Andriote, who has covered AIDS and gay politics in the gay and mainstream press, offers a comprehensive survey of the many ways AIDS has transfigured gay social and political life. With a mix of straightforward journalism, cultural analysis and personal reminiscence, his study focuses on the period from the early 1980s, when AIDS first surfaced in gay urban neighborhoods, to the 1996 visit of President and Hillary Clinton to the AIDS quilt in Washington, D.C. Much of the book is devoted to histories of AIDS service organizations, organized political initiatives and grassroots activist endeavors through which Andriote creates a detailed panorama of the impact of AIDS and the waves of lesbian and gay civil rights organizing. He is best at sketching in the cultural context, as when he explicates the long-standing psychological misunderstandings of homosexuality or quotes writers such as Andrew Holleran and John Preston to illustrate the literary response to AIDS. He is also careful never to whitewash gay in-fighting and deals sensitively with the complicated race politics of AIDS funding, resulting in a well-researched and nuanced portrait of the many levels on which this grave disease has wrought both destruction and transformation.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 494 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226020495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226020495
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,931,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James L. Holm on September 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
We have waited for a voice within the gay community to relate what AIDS has done and continues to do to our souls. Andiote bares that soul to the scrutiny of a verteran journalist and writer. He descibes the gay community's response to the AIDS epidemic. He outlines the growth the community made in the process. He isn't afraid to criticize where appropriate.
He tells the stories of the heroes of and the commentators on the epidemic. He delves, for example, into the internal machinations of a community trying to deal with safer sex and outlines both successes and failures. He indentifies the ongoing crisis and politics of promoting behavior change in the most intimate aspect of our lives. Through this type of no holds barred reporting that Andriote conveys the impact of AIDS on a community struggling to free itself from past and present disease related definitions.
Andriote's research is thorough, interviewing two hundred activitist and paritcipants. These individuals tell the story of a gay movement catapulted to the forefront of America's consciousness. He starts well before rhe empidemic and couches it in the context of a liberation stuggle. He tells the insider's story.
Victory Deferred will supplant Randy Shilt's And the Band Played On as the dinifitive story of one community heroically responding to the health crisis of the century.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Andriote's excellent book is a must read for anyone interested in the major events that have shaped the last three decades of the 20th century. It is an excellent and thoughtful overview of the tragic social, political and economic events that shaped the response to the AIDS epidemic. This book should be mandatory reading in colleges, medical schools and schools of public health.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
John-Manuel Andriote has accomplished a momumental task in this historical and moving account of the AIDS epidemic. He has done an exhaustive study of the progression of this disease and has intervied people from the trenches to the board rooms.
As a journalist he has kept a focus on reporting the facts, as a gay man he has infused each chapter with the passion that comes from loosing so many friends and loved ones.
He has a keen eye to connect so many different facets and factions and does not hold back in speaking the truth as he has discovered it. AIDS has certainly not only just changed gay life in America, it has changed life in America.
I give this book five stars and know that it will be a work that I will refer to over and over in the years ahead.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is very well written. It's obvious that a lot of hard work and time were put into it. The author is a truly gifted writer. I hope he continues his efforts and we see a lot more his work here.
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robby on January 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book was suggested for a selected reading in my 300 level sociology class and I thought I would stop by Amazon and reflect a bit on how I (as a student) feel about it.

First off, I have been in college 3 years now, so I am certiantly not oblivious to the fact that about 90% of social science professors are complete and utter flakes that are about as deep as a mud puddle. That said, our reading from this book was about on par with any other discussion I have ever had on the subject of HIV/AIDS or homosexuality in school. Quite frankly, they look at the world with blinders on, and this work is very much a case in point.

As opposed to giving any kind of objective overview of the subject at hand, it prefaces everything based upon this whimsical notion of gay victim-hood, as if that alone is supposed to alleviate any sort of responsibility by the author to fairly and objectively cover material? I think not.

Having to do readings like this makes me very happy that I decided upon biology as a major, as opposed to the folks in social science dept who view the scientific method and the rules of evidence as only a rough guide for scholarly pursuits. 90% Supposition and conjecture is not what I pay over 200 dollars a credit hour for.

Since I only read small portions of this book, I still thought it correct to give the book 4 stars since it would be unfair of me to downgrade a work I have not completed. However, based upon what I did read, It is likely a safe assumption that the remainder is filled with more of the same.
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