And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic is Randy Shilts’ history of the AIDS crises, but that description does a huge disservice to such an amazing and important book. It is the story of a tragedy caused by missed opportunities with national and international implications. There is a cast of thousands, but the key people are listed in the front. The book could be classified as a medical history, but it reads like the best thriller. While the story is international, most of the focus is on the United States.
Within the United States, Greenwich Village is one of the key stages for this story. Many of those infected during the early years lived and worked in Greenwich Village. St. Vincent’s, due to its proximity to a large gay community, was one of the first hospitals to see unusually large numbers of rare cancers affecting otherwise healthy young gay men. Whether your interest is politics, history, art, or science, there is something in this book of interest.