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The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA
  • Benita Roth, Binghamton University, State University of New York

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    The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA
    • Online ISBN: 9781316226940
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Book description

The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA explores the history of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, Los Angeles, part of the militant anti-AIDS movement of the 1980s and 1990s. ACT UP/LA battled government, medical, and institutional neglect of the AIDS epidemic, engaging in multi-targeted protest in Los Angeles and nationally. The book shows how appealing the direct action anti-AIDS activism was for people across the United States; as well as arguing the need to understand how the politics of place affect organizing, and how the particular features of the Los Angeles cityscape shaped possibilities for activists. A feminist lens is used, seeing social inequalities as mutually reinforcing and interdependent, to examine the interaction of activists and the outcomes of their actions. Their struggle against AIDS and homophobia, and to have a voice in their healthcare, presaged the progressive, multi-issue, anti-corporate, confrontational organizing of the late twentieth century, and deserves to be part of that history.


'Dense and meticulously annotated, it makes for a cumbersome, though essential, read. … Perhaps the most striking part of the book is learning how often members of ACT UP/LA were scared and frightened to participate in actions but still did.'

Scottie Campbell Source: Watermark Online (

'Thoroughly researched by author Benita Roth, she offers a fresh perspective and respect for the rebellious and historical work done by the men and women of ACT UP.'

Bill Bliss Source: Rage Monthly

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