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

Farrar. May 2021. 736p. ISBN 9780374185138. $40. SOC SCI
Few activist organizations of the late 20th century have had the impact of ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. Novelist and playwright Schulman was herself intimately involved in the group, and has written a deeply personal account of its heady years. ACT UP’s New York chapter is the mother chapter of 148 groups worldwide; Schulman says it was the site of incredible creativity, research, and leadership. She states that she is not a trained historian, but her skilled use of oral histories, combined with solid research into earlier social movements, provide a complete history of ACT UP, from its founding in 1987 to the present day. The writing is given a personal touch with the inclusion of profiles and oral histories of notable people, such as chemist Iris Long and HIV/AIDS researcher Mark Harrington. These portraits, together with the historical context offered throughout, prove the lasting influence of ACT UP and have a lot to teach readers about activism today. Schulman reminds us that ACT UP still exists because the HIV/AIDS crisis is not over.
VERDICT This engaging, accessible book will find a wide audience among readers interested in activism from the ground up. It will also be a foundational document for historians for generations to come. A must-read.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing