The epidemic of AIDS has also highlighted other health and social ills affecting the ``immune system'' of society, note the authors, including a wide range of sexual practices and drug addictions among persons of diverse ages and groups, and has given rise to much fear and prejudice. In this highly rational and eloquent book, Bateson, professor of anthropology and English at George Mason University in Virginia, and Goldsby, who teaches biology at the University of Massachusetts, provide succinct explanations of the immune system, conditions favoring epidemics and the nature and symptoms of the AIDS virus, along with approaches to its management. They stress that the threat AIDS poses to our very survival, evolution and value systems challenges our scientific, sociological and ethical resources. They discuss the advisability of diagnostic testing, and the epidemic's possible demographic and economic consequences as among the AIDS-related issues that face individuals and society. The same effort, discipline and imagination needed to solve the AIDS problem, Bateson and Goldsby suggest, could help as well to control the arms race, hunger and pollution. Major ad/promo. (September)
Bateson and Goldsby provide an ecological framework for thinking about society's options for adaptation to the AIDS epidemic. They posit that while the AIDS tragedy may result in global social disaster, it may also provide opportunities for cultural evolution. This well-reasoned book will be frequently cited, although like many philosophical efforts, the obligatory practical recommendations it makes are somewhat less compelling. Highly recommended for academic libraries, large public libraries, and subject collections. Judith Eannarino, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C.