Mark McLay is Lecturer in American History at the University of Glasgow. His first book, The Republican Party and the War on Poverty: 1964-1981 will be published by Edinburgh University Press in May 2021. He is co-host of the American History Too! podcast.

Silence = Death: Podcasting the history of the AIDS Crisis

By Malcolm Craig and Mark McLay, creators of the American History Too! podcast

As two white, straight, middle-class Scottish, male historians, do we have the right to explore such subjects? We would say yes. It’s the job of the historian to look at the evidence, illuminate dark corners, and try to make people aware about what really happened.

We felt that in order to do the subject of the 1980s AIDS crisis justice, we had to avoid repeating many of the myths and falsehoods that abound about the virus and the period. It was important not only examine the historiography of the subject, but crucially to look at the personal testimonies from those who contracted AIDS, those who tried to track its origins, and those who turned a blind eye when they should have extended a hand of friendship.

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