A cold and revealing history of an American archetype, sure to appeal to readers whose lives have been affected by AIDS, and...

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AIDS DOCTORS

VOICES FROM THE EPIDEMIC

A detailed oral history of the first decades of the AIDS epidemic, told from the vantage point of the treating physician.

Meticulous interviews with 74 doctors form the core of this lengthy narrative. Beginning with the events of the late ’70s and early ’80s, the doctors in these pages describe the sudden advent of the mysterious disease that presented itself, in various urban centers, as an immunologic deficit coupled with rampaging, exotic infections. Many physicians’ professional lives paralleled the emergence of AIDS medicine in the US: as recently minted residents when the first cases of AIDS appeared, many perceived AIDS both as a clinical opportunity (allowing them to engage in groundbreaking scientific research) and a professional coup (gaining them early entrée into the lime-lit medical demimonde of cutting-edge medicine). Startlingly candid, more than a few physicians here express their passion for cowboy medicine—as well as their pride in publishing journal articles, receiving coveted speakers’ invitations, and achieving the crowns of professional stature (such as tenured professorships and government appointments, historically reserved for more senior physicians). The intellectual and emotional conflicts raised by the nearly constant stream of AIDS deaths (until the advent of antiretroviral “cocktails” in the last half of the 1990s) devastated and sobered a generation of physicians taught that treatment leads to cure. Technical gaffes in the storytelling (such as describing the death of an AIDS physician, yet quoting her extensively in subsequent chapters) may confuse and distract the reader, but the eloquence and candor of many of the doctors quoted outweigh a certain lack of editorial finesse.

A cold and revealing history of an American archetype, sure to appeal to readers whose lives have been affected by AIDS, and it might do well as required reading in medical school.

Pub Date: July 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-19-512681-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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