Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America / Edition 1

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There is no question that AIDS has been, and continues to be, one of the most destructive diseases of the century, taking thousands of lives, devastating communities, and exposing prejudice and bigotry. But AIDS has also been a disease of transformation—it has fueled the national gay civil rights movement, altered medical research and federal drug testing, shaken up both federal and local politics, and inspired a vast cultural outpouring. Victory Deferred, the most comprehensive account of the epidemic in more than ten years, is the history of both the destruction and transformation wrought by AIDS.

John-Manuel Andriote chronicles the impact of the disease from the coming-out revelry of the 1970s to the post-AIDS gay community of the 1990s, showing how it has changed both individual lives and national organizations. He tells the truly remarkable story of how a health crisis pushed a disjointed jumble of local activists to become a nationally visible and politically powerful civil rights movement, a full-fledged minority group challenging the authority of some of the nation's most powerful institutions. Based on hundreds of interviews with those at the forefront of the medical, political, and cultural responses to the disease, Victory Deferred artfully blends personal narratives with institutional histories and organizational politics to show how AIDS forced gay men from their closets and ghettos into the hallways of power to lobby and into the streets to protest.

Andriote, who has been at the center of national advocacy and AIDS politics in Washington, is judicious without being uncritical, and his account of the political maturation of the gay community is one of the most stirring civil rights stories of our time.

Victory Deferred draws on hundreds of original interviews, including first-hand accounts from: Virginia Apuzzo, Reverend Carl Bean, Marcus Conant, M.D., John D'Emilio, Anthony Fauci, M.D, Fenton Johnson, Larry Kramer, Lawrence D. Mass, M.D., Armistead Maupin, Walt Odets, Torie Osborn, Eric Rofes, Urvashi Vaid, Timothy Westmoreland, and Reggie Williams.

"[Victory Deferred] is a richly textured account of the rise of the AIDS sector, that though detailed and comprehensive, reads quickly. The thematic organization of the book works especially well. The clear chronology of the events reveals how competing models of service delivery, treatment activism and private-public cooperation were subsumed into a national AIDS movement. The book should prove excellent for teaching or recreational reading."—Jose Gabilondo, Washington Post

"[A] fine history of the epidemic. . . . Andriote shines with chapters on less-covered but no less important subjects, including the multibillion-dollar 'AIDS industry' and private fund-raising groups. He brings together in one place many facts and figures heretofore unsynthesized."—Joe R. Neel, Boston Globe

"While many books have explored aspects of the impact of AIDS, Victory Deferred is among the most comprehensive. Andriote's adroit integration of the personal and the historical results is an illustrative, analytical account of the disease and its impact on the gay civil-rights movement. His depiction of the poignant struggles, heroic responses and resultant social and political gains emanating from AIDS is a perceptive document for our time—relevant to all readers, regardless of their sexual orientation."—John R. Killacky, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"[A] well-researched and nuanced portrait of the many lives on which this grave disease has wrought both destruction and transformation."—Publishers Weekly

"Andriote combines broad strokes and telling details in this engaging history of the complicated war against both disease and bigotry."—Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The AIDS pandemic has been chronicled in numerous books, from Randy Shilts's And the Band Played On to Steven Epstein's Impure Science, many of which have focused specifically on the disease's political, social, psychological or medical aspects. In his first book, Andriote, who has covered AIDS and gay politics in the gay and mainstream press, offers a comprehensive survey of the many ways AIDS has transfigured gay social and political life. With a mix of straightforward journalism, cultural analysis and personal reminiscence, his study focuses on the period from the early 1980s, when AIDS first surfaced in gay urban neighborhoods, to the 1996 visit of President and Hillary Clinton to the AIDS quilt in Washington, D.C. Much of the book is devoted to histories of AIDS service organizations, organized political initiatives and grassroots activist endeavors through which Andriote creates a detailed panorama of the impact of AIDS and the waves of lesbian and gay civil rights organizing. He is best at sketching in the cultural context, as when he explicates the long-standing psychological misunderstandings of homosexuality or quotes writers such as Andrew Holleran and John Preston to illustrate the literary response to AIDS. He is also careful never to whitewash gay in-fighting and deals sensitively with the complicated race politics of AIDS funding, resulting in a well-researched and nuanced portrait of the many levels on which this grave disease has wrought both destruction and transformation. (June)
Library Journal
Over a decade after Randy Shilts's And the Band Played On (LJ 11/15/87) and the many titles that followed comes this investigation of the impact of AIDS on gay male communities. Andriote, a Washington journalist who has written about AIDS since the mid-1980s, attempts "to organize and explain a complex and multifaceted cultural, medical, political, and social phenomenon." Weaving material from over 200 interviews into the existing literature, Andriote has written "a sympathetic account--but not an uncritical one." Familiar stories of appalling apathy and lack of leadership are coupled with the heroic accomplishments and fatal mistakes of individuals who recognized the communities' need to take care of their own. Contrasting the experiences of white middle-class gay men with their counterparts in communities of color, Andriote combines broad strokes and telling details in this engaging history of the complicated war against both disease and bigotry. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--James E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
Washington-based journalist Andriote turns his coverage of AIDS from its effect on individuals to the impact it is making in the corridors of government power, the backrooms of pharmaceutical companies, artists' studios, and gay and lesbian organizations and political groups. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Kirkus Reviews
A rousing and readable history, mammoth in scope yet minute in detail. Through countless interviews with what appears to be everyone remotely connected to the AIDS crisis from the 1970s until yesterday, Washington-based journalist Andriote captures the overwhelming grief and boundless love encountered within the gay community during its long fight against the viral terror. Combining journalistic accuracy with ethical critiques of those who have ignored or exploited AIDS, Victory DeferredÊfearlessly analyzes the darkest moments of the plague, such as the bilking of the crisis by a few "charities" concerned more with raising funds for administrators than with fighting the disease. The outlook is never entirely bleak, however, as Andriote counterbalances the awesome weight of AIDS with moments of small victories, the times of healing which illustrate that the worst situations often bring out a person's best. A voice of conscience for the gay community, which has often been hesitant to point out the connections between unsafe sex and HIV infection for fear such a call could be deemed antisex, Andriote speaks calmly for a moral ballast that will serve this community well when the AIDS crisis has indeed been weathered. Judicious choices in which stories to tell would at times have created more compelling reading; Andriote provides such an extensive range of material that depth is sometimes lost to the sheer number of narratives. This shortfall also leads to problematic generalizations, momentary conflations of parts of the gay community into rigid identity blocs. An individual's experience is often a troublesome source from which to draw larger conclusions about a diverse group ofpeople. Nonetheless, Andriote relates with simplicity, compassion, and heart an essentially optimistic tale of the gay community's discovery of itself as a force for change beyond the sexual realm. The most important AIDS chronicle since Randy Shilts's And the Band Played On.
Joe R. Neel
"A fine history of the epidemic, keen and thoughtful. Andriote shines with chapters on less covered but no less important subjects, including the multi-billion dollar 'AIDS industry' and private fundraising groups. He brings together in one place many facets and figures heretofore unsynthesized."
John R. Killacky
"Andriote's adroit integration of the personal and the historical results in an illustrative, analytical account of the disease and its impact on the gay civil-rights movement. His depiction of the poignant struggles, heroic responses and resultant social and political gains emanating from AIDS is a perceptive document for our time, relevant to all readers, regardless of their sexual orientation."
Jonathan Rauch
"People who want to know how a community mobilized in the face of an unprecedented crisis will want to start here."
Jose Gabilando
"Andriote has interviewed every major player in his nearly two decades of reporting as a journalist on AIDS, and it shows."
Kirkus Reviews
"The most important AIDS chronicle since Randy Shilts' And the Band Played On."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226020495
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 494
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John-Manuel Andriote began reporting on AIDS while he was a graduate journalism student at Northwestern University in the mid-1980s. In 2008 the Smithsonian Institution created the "John-Manuel Andriote Victory Deferred Collection" at the National Museum of American History, to make available for researchers the original interviews and other materials used to develop the book. Andriote regularly speaks to audiences across the country. Please visit for more information.
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Table of Contents

Preface Introduction
1. The Field
2. A Pox on Our House
3. Rallying the Troops
4. Safety Dance
5. The Making of Soldiers
6. Advance and Retreat
7. Industrial Strength
8. War Bonds
9. In Memoriam
10. Victory Deferred Notes Index

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