Infectious Ideas

U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis

By Jennifer Brier

312 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 illus., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7211-6
    Published: September 2011
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-9547-4
    Published: November 2009
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7917-2
    Published: November 2009

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Viewing contemporary history from the perspective of the AIDS crisis, Jennifer Brier provides rich, new understandings of the United States' complex social and political trends in the post-1960s era. Brier describes how AIDS workers--in groups as disparate as the gay and lesbian press, AIDS service organizations, private philanthropies, and the State Department--influenced American politics, especially on issues such as gay and lesbian rights, reproductive health, racial justice, and health care policy, even in the face of the expansion of the New Right. Infectious Ideas places recent social, cultural, and political events in a new light, making an important contribution to our understanding of the United States at the end of the twentieth century.

About the Author

Jennifer Brier is assistant professor of gender and women's studies and history at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
For more information about Jennifer Brier, visit the Author Page.


"There is no comparable book on the market that ties an event such as the AIDS crisis to the historical/political landscape nor one that shows the impact of a disease such as AIDS on government and politics."--Doody Enterprises

"This is an important addition to the literature on AIDS. . . . The chapter on Reagan alone, with excellent original source material, is worth the price of admission."--Windy City Times

"Offers a more comprehensive and complex understanding of how marginalized communities engaged the state of neglect by linking the politics of sexuality to politics, culture, and the economy, thereby shaping the political landscape. . . . Thoroughly researched. . . . An insightful analysis."--Choice

"Places recent social, cultural, and political events in a new light, making an important contribution to our understanding of the US at the end of the 20th century."--Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment

"Helps readers make sense of political history as more than just red or blue states. . . . Redefines our understanding of the mainstream. . . . Read it."--Journal of American History

"Any historian studying this period would do well to read Jennifer Brier's Infectious Ideas, which uses AIDS as a lens through which to view the period."--History News Network