Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993

Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993

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lgbt, , queer-nonfiction, activism, nonfiction-you-ought-to-read, History, Nonfiction, LGBT, GLBT, Politics, Art, New York, Historical, North American Hi...

One of O, the Oprah Magazine's 32 LGBTQ Books That Will Change the Literary Landscape in 2021

A masterpiece of historical research and intellectual analysis that creates many windows into both a vanished world and the one that emerged from it, the one we live in now
. --Alexander Chee

Twenty years in the making, Sarah Schulman's Let the Record Show is the most comprehensive political history ever assembled of ACT UP and American AIDS activism




In just six years, ACT UP, New York, a broad and unlikely coalition of activists from all races, genders, sexualities, and backgrounds, changed the world. Armed with rancor, desperation, intelligence, and creativity, it took on the AIDS crisis with an indefatigable, ingenious, and multifaceted attack on the corporations, institutions, governments, and individuals who stood in the way of AIDS treatment for all. They stormed the FDA and NIH in Washington, DC, and started needle exchange programs in New York; they took over Grand Central Terminal and fought to change the legal definition of AIDS to include women; they transformed the American insurance industry, weaponized art and advertising to push their agenda, and battled--and beat--The New York Times, the Catholic Church, and the pharmaceutical industry. Their activism, in its complex and intersectional power, transformed the lives of people with AIDS and the bigoted society that had abandoned them.

Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members and rich with lessons for today's activists, Let the Record Show is a revelatory exploration--and long-overdue reassessment--of the coalition's inner workings, conflicts, achievements, and ultimate fracture. Schulman, one of the most revered queer writers and thinkers of her generation, explores the how and the why, examining, with her characteristic rigor and bite, how a group of desperate outcasts changed America forever, and in the process created a livable future for generations of people across the world.

Title:Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993
ISBN:9780374185138
Format Type:

    Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 Reviews

  • Erik

    Sarah Schulman's landmark "Let the Record Show" is so much more than a historical accounting of the AIDS crisis: it's oral history meets activism road map that pays homage to one of the last successfu...

  • Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Want a comprehensive, informative, and moving account of the influential ACT UP New York organization during the early days and peak of the AIDS crisis. The inclusion of women activists i...

  • Heather

    Topical now and informative if you don’t know the history of the LGBTQ struggles in NYC. Or anywhere else to be fair. Inform yourself with the facts rather than clips from social media....

  • Jennifer

    I received this as an ARC from NetGalley. This book provides new context and analysis of the rise, development, and eventual splintering of ACT UP. I still don’t love Schulman’s tendency to insert...

  • Kaleb

    "I have come to understand that, for one thing, AIDS activist history has been mistakenly placed in the trajectory of gay male history. I can understand why this connection would be made: gay men were...

  • Seamus

    It took me a while to get Thru this book because of its length but I love how much better this book is for representation of women and POC In act up and I feel like this is way beyond what I expected ...

  • Katie

    This is a true monster of a book, and I really really enjoyed it. Having read How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS years ago, I was wondering if this accoun...

  • Ang

    This is a fascinating history of ACT UP, but it's also (as so many reviewers have noted) a handbook on how to use direct action to make marginalized voices heard. (I also think it's a good illustratio...

  • Zach Shultz

    This book changed the way I think about AIDS history. An important contribution not only to queer history but American history more broadly. A guide for anyone interested in social movements and polit...

  • Scott Pomfret

    This is a sloppy sprawling glorious mess of a book focused deliberately and narrowly only on the NYC chapter of ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) during the years 1987-93. It is based nearly en...