NACCHO Book Club — How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS

By Emily Yox, MPH, Global Health Program Analyst, NACCHO

Each month, we will bring you a new public health book, read and reviewed by NACCHO staff. We hope to provide a well-rounded reading list that you will find enjoyable as well as informative.

December is National AIDS Awareness month. To allow for discussion during that time, our book recommendation for November is a long but engaging read by David France titled “How to Survive a Plague. The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS.” It was published in 2016 after the success of David Frank’s documentary by the same name.

David France is a gay man who was living in New York when the AIDS epidemic began in the early 1980s. His perspective sheds a unique light on the grassroots organizations (specifically TAG and ACT UP) that worked tirelessly to shift AIDS from a certain death sentence to a manageable disease.

This book provides unparalleled access to the community working in this pivotable moment in American public health history. Not only that, but it is highly inspirational and shows the magnificent successes that grassroots organizations can achieve.

Heart wrenching and spectacularly written, How to Survive a Plague is a must-read. If you prefer the documentary version-that is available on Amazon.

Want to discuss this book and others? Head over to NACCHO’s Virtual Communities page and connect with peers.