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One Boy At War: My Life in the AIDS Underground

By Paul A. SergiosMadeline Sergios
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Book Details
  • Author: Paul A. SergiosMadeline Sergios
  • Publisher: Brand: Knopf
  • Edition: 1st
With its opening idyllic images of children at play on the edge of a duck pond, One Boy at War introduces us to Paul Sergios - an all-American boy with an all-American life: an uneventful but happy childhood, a double date on prom night, graduation from USC in Los Angeles, a burgeoning career in film production. He was the quintessential Hollywood whiz kid - an attractive, bright, successful young executive on the rise, comfortably homosexual, basking in the glow of self-esteem. But in one horrifying moment of revelation, all that changed forever: Paul Sergios discovered he was HIV-positive. Filled with sorrow, terror, and rage, and faced with the prospect of allowing fate to lead him where it might, he chose instead to take control of his destiny - by any means, at any cost. Thus began the new life of Paul Sergios, a very brave and tenacious young man. He was also an impatient one. Looking to the American government and the mainstream medical establishment for help, he encountered near-total apathy. Drawing on knowledge gained from his second major at college - psychobiology - and poring through volume after volume of the available medical literature, he found nothing but an informational black hole. And he watched with ever-increasing frustration as the foremost scientists throughout America and Europe seemed to be engaged less in a common effort to find a cure than in a divisive mega-battle of political and medical egos. So it was that Sergios, in the face of death, became more fearlessly life-embracing, a paradox that propelled him headlong into the AIDS underground in a furious and obsessive quest for solutions to his predicament. It started quietly: a few phone calls, a handful ofcarefully composed letters. Making use of every piece of ammunition available to him - library research; one-on-one meetings; obscure and alternative medical journals; clandestine laboratories; experimental, frequently risky drugs smuggled across international borders; "clinics" housed in innocuous motels and shopping centers across the country - Sergios began waging his "war", linking hands, heart, and mind with a wildly diverse network of men and women who frequently had little in common but their determination to help one another and a desperate will to survive. In its final, devastating images of the "Walden Pond" of Sergios's youth - seen now from an entirely different perspective - One Boy at War ultimately comes full circle and goes beyond the immediate issue of AIDS; it evolves, instead, into a powerful metaphor of shattered dreams and innocence lost. Sure to provoke controversy, One Boy at War is gripping, heartbreaking, and brave - the story of a man whose questions about his fate have been outnumbered only by his refusals to take "no" for an answer.