In this riveting, magisterial narrative, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Crewdson shows how one of America's star bioscientists falsely claimed to have been the first to isolate the AIDS virus, then garnered the resulting honors and riches at the expense of the true discoverers in Paris; how the Reagan and Bush administrations struggled to cover up the truth; and how it all finally came out anyway, at the expense of the reputations of celebrated scientists and important government officials. SCIENCE FICTIONS is an arresting tale of vanity, corruption, greed, mendacity, and cutthroat competition-an enthralling revelation of how big bioscience really works today.
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Science Fictions recounts the most notorious biomedical scandal of our times: the Robert Gallo affair. It is not, author John Crewdson says, "about AIDS. Nor is it really about science." Indeed. It is a tale of behavior most base in circles most rarified.
In 1983 Gallo, of the National Cancer Institute, and a group of scientists at Paris's Pasteur Institute announced their isolating of separate AIDS viruses. The stakes--moneyed prizes and patents, not to mention cures--were stratospheric. By 1985, the Pasteur Institute filed suit claiming that Gallo--whose discovery was actually a dead end--had appropriated "their" virus as his own. In 1992, the National Academy of Sciences agreed, accusing Gallo of "intellectual recklessness" and "essentially immoral" behavior.
This definitive, chilling book is also, unfortunately, a daunting one. Its sheer size--notes, glossary, and list of characters alone occupy 100 pages--and scientific complexity will defeat all but the most determined and scientifically informed reader. --H. O'BillovitchAbout the Author:
John Crewdson won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of immigration. He is the author of two previous books, The Tarnished Door: The New Immigrants and the Transformation of America and By Silence Betrayed: The Sexual Abuse of Children in America. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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