Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS

Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS

by Martin Duberman

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Overview

In December 1995, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the release of protease inhibitors, the first effective treatment for AIDS. For countless people, the drug offered a reprieve from what had been a death sentence; for others, it was too late. In the United States alone, more than 318,000 people had already died from AIDS-related complications—among them the singer Michael Callen and the poet Essex Hemphill.


“Relevant and heartbreaking” (Bay Area Reporter), “incisive, passionate, and poetic” (New York Journal of Books), and “powerful” (Kirkus Reviews), Hold Tight Gently is Martin Duberman’s poignant memorial to two of the great unsung heroes of the early years of the epidemic. Callen, the author of How to Have Sex in an Epidemic, was a leading figure in the fight against AIDS in the face of willful denial under the Reagan administration. Hemphill, a passionate activist and the author of the celebrated Ceremonies, was a critically acclaimed openly gay African American poet of searing intensity and introspection.


A profound exploration of the intersection of race, sexuality, class, and identity, Hold Tight Gently captures both a generation struggling to cope with the deadly disease and the extraordinary refusal of two men to give in to despair.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620971925
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he founded and for a decade directed the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. The author of more than twenty books, Duberman has won a Bancroft Prize and been a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Before the Storm 1

2 Reading the Signs 43

3 Career Moves 75

4 The Mideighties 105

5 The Toll Mounts 145

6 Drugs into Bodies 183

7 Stalemate 217

8 Breaking Down 247

9 Wartime 271

10 Home 291

Acknowledgments 305

Notes 307

Index 331

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