February 2020 Non-Fiction Lead Titles

Fighting For Our Lives: The history of a community response to AIDS Nick Cook


Paperback | Feb 2020 | NewSouth | 9781742236766 | 400pp | 234x153mm | GEN | AUD$39.99, NZD$47.99

Fighting For Our Lives, a history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Australia, focuses on the role played by affected communities in addressing the crisis, a side of the story that is often overlooked. 

Marginalised people — mostly gay men, sex workers and people who inject drugs — came together to form community organisations that gave them a voice in the corridors of power. They formed an unprecedented alliance with politicians and medical experts, a three-way partnership that made Australia’s response to AIDS one of the most successful in the world. It’s an inspirational story, one which takes place against a backdrop of harrowing illness and death. With lives and the survival of communities on the line, Fighting For Our Lives captures the high-stakes drama of this extraordinary period by concentrating on the people at the centre of the struggle during the darkest years of the epidemic. It’s an important story, and one that must never be forgotten.

‘This book is proof positive that light, hope and courage can grow out of the darkest corners of human experience. ACON emerged in 1980s to give leadership in the Australian struggle against HIV/AIDS. Soon that challenge expanded to a myriad of new controversies: gay rights, drug use, sex work, trans and prisoner experience. Nick Cook chronicles the terrifying early years of the HIV epidemic, identifying heroes and villains. And the story continues to this day to call forth our “better angels”.’ — The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, Past Justice of the High Court of Australia and Patron of the Kirby Institute