The Fragile Coalition: Scientists, Activists, and AIDS

Robert Wachter, Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-05801-2
More than an insider's account of a pivotal scientific meeting, Wachter's re-creation of the Sixth International Conference on AIDS (held in San Francisco last June) is a telling commentary on the politics of the AIDS epidemic. Although the conference dramatized the increasingly confrontational relationship between scientists and groups like ACT-UP, it nevertheless demonstrated that doctors, scientists, persons with AIDS and activists could find common ground and work together, a collaboration due partly to Wachter's behind-the-scenes maneuverings as the meeting's program director. Outspoken activist Larry Kramer called for riots at the powwow to express the urgency of the epidemic; several groups boycotted the meeting to protest the U.S. immigration department's travel policies. Out of this chaos, a fragile coalition was born, and Wachter, a doctor who teaches medicine at the University of California, writes movingly of this process. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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