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Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

Written by: Richard A. McKay
Narrated by: Paul Woodson
Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
4 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In Patient Zero, Richard A. McKay presents a carefully documented and sensitively written account of the life of Gaetan Dugas, a gay man whose skin cancer diagnosis in 1980 took on very different meanings as the HIV/AIDS epidemic developed - and who received widespread posthumous infamy when he was incorrectly identified as patient zero of the North American outbreak.

McKay shows how investigators from the US Centers for Disease Control inadvertently created the term amid their early research into the emerging health crisis; how an ambitious journalist dramatically amplified the idea in his determination to reframe national debates about AIDS; and how many individuals grappled with the notion of patient zero-adopting, challenging, and redirecting its powerful meanings - as they tried to make sense of and respond to the first 15 years of an unfolding epidemic. With important insights for our interconnected age, Patient Zero untangles the complex process by which individuals and groups create meaning and allocate blame when faced with new disease threats. What McKay gives us here is myth-smashing revisionist history at its best.

©2017 The University of Chicago (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Was Dugas a modern Typhoid Mary?

An important perspective on how North America reacted to the mysterious disease that predominantly affected gay men, caused several strange symptoms, and whose cause was unknown. As people have done for all of history, fingers were pointed at a single man and his promiscuous behaviour. In this novel, McKay does a great job of explaining why and how the Patient Zero narrative was invented. In fact, which he prodigiously attempts to reverse the harm caused by the narrative, and focusses on the human side of such a tragedy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ACASSIDY
  • 2019-02-12

Whoa! Lots of Info!

I couldn't get very far into this book. It has SO much information on things other than patient zero. It was hard to follow. I got through the forward and half of chapter 1 and had to keep rewinding to revisit what i just heard. In my opinion, it has way too much-unwanted information.

The narrator of this book, however, is fantastic.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • La Suzy
  • 2018-10-04

Mix bag for me

Let me first say, I never bought that Gaetan Dugas was "Patient Zero". So I'm glad that the truth about this myth has been corrected.

That being said, I felt the book was on a constant wash, rinse , repeat. The author clearly is no fan of Randy Shilts. I get it, Mr. McKay, you dislike Mr. Shilts.

Now I did learn a lot more about Randy Shilts' life that I had no idea about. I will admit makes me see him in a different light. It's a mixture of pity and disappointment.

On a side note: The narrator is fantastic. I'll have to look for more books with his narration.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful