ASHAMED TO DIE

SILENCE, DENIAL, AND THE AIDS EPIDEMIC IN THE SOUTH

In this powerful debut, Skerritt (Journalism/Florida A&M Univ.) uses the stories of African-Americans living in an impoverished South Carolina community to reveal the hidden scourge of HIV/AIDS throughout South.

The author attributes the spread of AIDS among Southern heterosexuals to endemic rural poverty particularly among blacks, concomitant social breakdown— broken families, drug addiction, promiscuity and prostitution—and the scarcity of resources that would allow public-health measures adequate to stemming the epidemic. The author began covering the AIDS crisis in 2000, after hearing the Rev. Patricia Ann Starr preach. The pastor of a local evangelic Baptist church in York, S.C., she is known for her work helping people with the disease and is a vocal advocate of safe sex despite her disapproval of promiscuity. Until her own sister tested positive for the HIV virus and her neighbors began dying of AIDS, she—like many Americans—had believed the disease to be confined to gay men living in urban areas like Chicago and New York. Skerritt writes movingly of families caught up in this tragedy and the group of health professionals who do their best to deal with the crisis. He cites shocking statistics—while the incidence of AIDS deaths decreased throughout the U.S. between 2001 and 2005, the opposite is the case in the Deep South—but notes that most of the funds to fight the disease have been funneled to the large northern and western cities. Skerritt deplores the fact that liberal politicians such as Hillary Clinton focus on funding for their own constituencies to the disadvantage of the small rural communities that are now under the gun. The author makes a strong case that the shame is not with the dying but with those who turn away from the reality of this epidemic.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-814-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books/Chicago Review

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more