By examining the early outbreaks in San Francisco, Cochrane unfolds the "creation" of AIDS in one geographic location and then traces how and why major claims about the transmission of HIV were made, extrapolated and then disseminated to the rest of the world - all important factors in understanding this disease.
Michelle Cochrane received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley and has taught at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles
"Excellent-controversial, argumentative, and extremely well researched, When AIDS Began brings a hidden trove of information on the handling of the first cases of AIDS in San Francisco out to the light of day. Fascinating in its detailed accounts of these first stories and how surveillance workers actually make their decisions on who has HIV or AIDS and why. There isn't another book like it." -- -Nancy E. Stoller, author of Lessons From the Damned: Queers, Whores, and Junkies Respond to AIDS
"At last an impeccably researched book on AIDS that critically examines the untested assumptions and misleading language that were built into the very fabric of AIDS research from its outset. A must read for anyone interested in the ways that linguistic, sociological and anthropological issues structure the nature of medical investigation and the way we think about disease." -- -Robert Root-Bernstein, author of Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus
"Cochrane's powerful book revisits a crucial turning point in recent history-the birth of the AIDS epidemic and the discursive formation that arose so quickly to encompass it. Erudite and unsettling, her work disrupts our certainties and shows how rapidly this apparatus congealed." -- -Paul Rabinow, author of Anthropos Today: Reflections on Modern Equipment