The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide

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Product Details
$29.99  $27.89
Celadon Books
Publish Date
6.41 X 9.45 X 1.2 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author
STEVEN W. THRASHER, PHD holds the inaugural Daniel H. Renberg chair at Northwestern University's Medill School, the first journalism professorship in the world created to focus on LGBTQ research. He is also a faculty member of Northwestern's Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. A columnist for Scientific American, his writing has been widely published by The New York Times, Nation, The Atlantic, Journal of American History, BuzzFeed News, Esquire and New York. In 2019, Out magazine named him one of the 100 most influential and impactful people of the year, and the Ford Foundation awarded him a grant for Creativity and Free Expression. An alumnus of media jobs with Saturday Night Live, the HBO film The Laramie Project and the NPR StoryCorps project, Dr. Thrasher has also been a staff writer for The Village Voice and a columnist for The Guardian. He holds a PhD in American Studies and divides his time between Chicago and New York. The Viral Underclass is his first book. Twitter: @thrasherxy.

**One of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Politics & Current Events books for Fall 2022**
**One of USA Today's 5 Must-Read New Books**

Steven Thrasher has written the book we urgently need. Putting a compelling and human face on the millions of people affected by the course viruses like HIV and Covid take in the human population, he shows us how race, class, gender, and sexuality combine to help some survive pandemics and even profit from them, while others experience pandemic through their bodies in the form of illness, death, death of loved ones, shame, stigma, and financial insecurity. His analysis of the viral underclass should be required reading for everyone concerned with transforming unequal access to health care in a world where pandemic heightens the brutality of inequality.
--Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author of Tears We Cannot Stop and What Truth Sounds Like

The pandemic brought America's health inequities into stark relief, but The Viral Underclass illustrates that the problem isn't new, and that it is embedded more deeply than many of us realize... Thrasher, a gay Black man, brings figures from the viral underclass to life in this engaging, enraging read.
--The Boston Globe

At once precise and sweeping, rigorous and inviting, The Viral Underclass fearlessly crosses the policed borders of academic disciplines and literary forms, creating an irresistibly readable and humane exploration of the barbarities of class. Through the sheer force of his story telling, Thrasher challenges us to abandon our fatal illusions of separateness in favor of an embrace of our place in a collective entanglement of bodies. Readers are gifted that most precious of things in these muddled times: a clear lens through which to see the world.
--Naomi Klein, New York Times bestselling author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

Throughout this insightful and unflinching book, Thrasher is unafraid to let his anger shine, but he also consistently deploys love and compassion. In a text marked by mistreatment and loss, the author encourages hope...Powerful and revelatory, this is an essential, paradigm-shifting book.
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

I fully expected to encounter rigorous research and a full accounting of the relevant history in Dr. Steven W. Thrasher's The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide. But what excited me and kept me rapt the entire time was the astonishing level of craft and depth of compassion with which the book was written. More than just sets of facts, Dr. Thrasher illuminates truths, all of which implore us to live by the grandest, most liberating of all principles: love. The Viral Underclass is journalism and journey, science and sermon, astute articulation of grievance and pathway to healing. It is vital reading.
--Robert Jones, Jr., New York Times bestselling author of The Prophets

The Viral Underclass marks the beginning of a new epoch in cultural work. Steven Thrasher has utilized and finely crafted theory, memoir and reportage to show us what we've been doing the first few years of this century.
--Kiese Laymon, bestselling author of Heavy and winner of an Andrew Carnegie Medal

A compelling and compassionate analysis of health disparities that delivers both wake-up call and gut-punch.
--Booklist, starred review

In The Viral Underclass, through a combination of broad and deep reporting and narrative storytelling, Steven Thrasher examines the ways HIV/AIDS and other viruses strike people and communities with deliberate intention. His book is essential reading for our current moment--and a signpost for understanding epidemics to come.
--Linda Villarosa, author of Under the Skin and contributor to the New York Times bestselling The 1619 Project

It turns out that race, class, and economics have a lot more to do with the spread of disease than you might think. Journalist Steven W. Thrasher has been covering the AIDS crisis and LGBTQ+ issues for years, giving him a great background to explore the eye-opening parallels between HIV and the COVID-19 pandemic. In this sometimes shocking, always fascinating book, Thrasher reveals how politics, money, and cultural scapegoating have cost lives throughout modern history. Along with solid reporting and impressive research, Thrasher introduces us to people who've been caught in the web of viral disease or are fighting to protect others--and his warm, compassionate character studies remind us of the human beings behind the statistics. You may be outraged by The Viral Underclass, but it's a gripping read and a powerful call to action.
--Apple Books

Rigorous scholarship and intimate portraits of life and death on the margins make this a must-read.
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

A page turner. An intimate view of how stigma and class inequality produce suffering at the hands of our two emblematic viruses: Covid and HIV. Thrasher tells a complex story of social stratification and injustice through very well drawn portraits of individuals in his life and in the world. Moving and compelling.
--Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993

Thrasher is an excellent investigator. The reader sees how and why the narratives develop in particular ways, and feels fury and despair, as well as occasional glimmers of hope.