The founder of POZ magazine shares "a captivating...eyewitness account from inside the AIDS epidemic" (Next) and "a moving, multidecade memoir of one gay man's life" (San Francisco Chronicle). As a politics-obsessed Georgetown freshman, Sean Strub arrived in Washington, DC, from Iowa in 1976, with a plum part-time job running a senate elevator in the US Capitol. He also harbored a terrifying secret: his attraction to men. As Strub explored the capital's political and social circles, he discovered a parallel world where powerful men lived double lives shrouded in shame. When the AIDS epidemic hit in the early 1980s, Strub was living in New York and soon found himself attending "more funerals than birthday parties". Scared and angry, he turned to radical activism to combat discrimination and demand research. Strub takes you through his own diagnosis and inside ACT UP, the organization that transformed a stigmatized cause into one of the defining political movements of our time. From the New York of Studio 54 and Andy Warhol's Factory to the intersection of politics and burgeoning LGBT and AIDS movements, Strub's story crackles with history. He recounts his role in shocking AIDS demonstrations at St. Patrick's Cathedral as well as at the home of US Senator Jesse Helms. With an astonishing cast of characters, including Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Keith Haring, Bill Clinton, and Yoko Ono, this is a vivid portrait of a tumultuous era "[with] the suspense and horror of Paul Monette's memoir Borrowed Time and the drama of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart.... What a lot of action - and life - there is in this gripping book." (The Washington Post). Photo: Iowa City Press-Citizen
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An Inspiration to Act Up!
A Knockout Account of the Battle Against AIDS
Oh yeah, Strub weaves important milestones and facts in the battle against AIDS with personal tales from the front. It's one man's story but you learn a lot of the history of HIV, from initial denial of the scourge by the nation (and by gay men), to the widespread fear and panic, the initial push to get federal funding and recognition from the Regan and Bush administrations, the failure of Clinton's, the fight for treatments and drug approval, all the way to the thoughtful reflections as the author recovered from near death, and as AIDS and HIV, along with the intense activism, moved to back burners. With Sean Stub finding a renewed vigor to fight the mind-boggling horrors of criminalizing people with HIV, my money's on Strub and justice.
Strub himself, of course. One's man's story, struggles and fight that pretty much encompasses the whole history of the disease. He brings to the front important people that may have been lost to time, like the pivotal activism of Stephen Gendin, POZ columnist and important in FDA drug approval reform. Strub recounts his friendships with Keith Haring, Gore Vidal, John Berendt-there's, so there's plenty of celebrities here, though none told just for kicks or name dropping, only for their importance in his amazing life.
Strub again. Nuanced performance.
AIDS. Has. Met. Its. Match.
One of the best parts of the book are Strub's accounts of his youthful job as elevator operator in the U.S. Capital. Really funny interactions with some powerful people. Secret passages, alcoholic senators...good stuff.
- Carter Hooper