Delivers a strong, well-told and believable message—would that it makes a difference.

THE WISDOM OF WHORES

BUREAUCRATS, BROTHELS, AND THE BUSINESS OF AIDS

Savvy epidemiologist Pisani takes an eye-opening look at who gets AIDS how, when and where.

The “how” hasn’t changed: HIV infects via the exchange of body fluids in sex, in transfusions and contaminated needles and from mother to infant in birth or breast milk. But the author’s revelations are startling. In the course of developing surveys and collecting blood samples to get an accurate reading of HIV prevalence in Southeast Asia, Pisani got to know the prostitutes, pimps, brothel owners, gays, rent boys, drug injectors and a class of transvestites (with or without genital surgery) called waria, as well as their clients. She discovered that some men and boys who consider themselves straight sell sex to other men, that whores sometimes use condoms with their johns but never with their pimps or boyfriends, that drug injectors also buy sex and have girlfriends who may also be prostitutes, that waria have loving “husbands.” All those questionnaires with check-off boxes to distinguish one high-risk group from one another just don’t make any sense, she concludes. Pisani paints likable portraits of many of the contacts she made as she explored the dives and street scenes in major cities. The whores are not actually very wise, she admits, but neither are the donors and administrators of government programs who demand abstinence, oppose family planning, think they can create a drug-free world and often operate in ignorance of what other groups are doing. A further dilemma goes to the heart of AIDS stigma. People give money to forestall the epidemic infection of all those innocent wives and children, but Pisani makes it clear that they are not the most vulnerable, at least on the turf she has covered (Africa is different). She argues that the money ought to go to needle-exchange programs, condom promotion and other preventives.

Delivers a strong, well-told and believable message—would that it makes a difference.

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-393-06662-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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