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All The Young Men

In 1986, 26-year old Ruth visits a friend at the hospital when she notices that the door to one of the hospital rooms is painted red. She witnesses nurses drawing straws to see who would tend to the patient inside, all of them reluctant to enter the room. Out of impulse, Ruth herself enters to care for the young man, who cries for his mother in the last moments of his life. Before she can even process what she’s done, word spreads in the community that Ruth is the only person willing to help these young men afflicted by AIDS.

As she forges deep friendships with the men she helps, she works tirelessly to find them housing and jobs, even searching for funeral homes willing to take their bodies — often in the middle of the night. She cooks meals for tens of people out of discarded food, stores rare medications, teaches sex-ed after hours at secret bars, and becomes a beacon of hope to an otherwise spurned group of ailing gay men. Throughout the years, Ruth defies local pastors and nurses to help the men she cares for: Paul and Billy, Angel, Chip, Todd and Luke. Emboldened by the weight of their collective pain, she fervently advocates for their safety and visibility, ultimately advising Governor Bill Clinton on the national HIV-AIDS crisis.

This deeply moving and elegiac memoir honors the extraordinary life of Ruth Coker Burks and the beloved men who fought valiantly for their lives with AIDS during a most hostile and misinformed time in America.

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Product Details

Recommended Age Adults
Author Ruth Coker Burks, Kevin Carr O'Leary
ISBN 0802157246
Publication Date Dec 1, 2020
Publisher Grove Press
Language English