For all the tragedy it brings to the lives it touches, AIDS seems to inspire individuals to draw upon personal resources of strength, courage and compassion that might otherwise have gone untapped, as reporter and novelist Whitmore (Nebraska and The Confessions of Danny Slocum) reveals in the three portraits assembled here. Indeed, the fact that Whitmore pursued this project after he was himself diagnosed with Kaposi's Sarcoma (as revealed in the epilogue) is testimony to the exact selfless dedication that he chronicles. What emerges from the profiles is the unquestioning commitment with which a disparate variety of peoplea gay volunteer who spends time with a fellow New Yorker whose illness has left him apartment-bound; a mother who brings her San Francisco street-hustler son back to his small Colorado hometown to die; health workers in a Bronx hospitalshare the blessings of their vitality with those who have been deprived of their own. Whitmore's presentation does not aggrandize their efforts but quietly records the simple sense of duty that compels them to battle adversity in its viral, personal and institutional forms. The book stands as a moving document of human service, an inspiring work as worthy of respect as the remarkable individuals that it commemorates. (April).