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Will to Live:
AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival
João Biehl
Photographs by Torben Eskerod

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"[João Biehl's] book is important for understanding a complex public health program in a developing country. It is well written; the chapter that contains patients' testimonies is particularly emotional and poignant."--Carlos M.F. Antunes, Sc.D., New England Journal of Medicine

"[Will to Live] argues that, despite the government's commitment, treatment has been difficult to implement among HIV-positive poor Brazilians, who are often stigmatized."--Chronicle Review

"Will to Live is a compellingly crafted study of AIDS in Brazil, an exemplar of how careful ethnographic work can illuminate the place of everyday life in the constitution of, and response to, globalizing forces. . . . I bring a unique understanding of, and appreciation for, Biehl's achievement. It is significant."--Tom Boellstorff, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Biehl manages to make his writing accessible, informative, fluid and engaging, resulting in a text which requires no prior knowledge of the subject matter, or the methods of anthropological research. As such, while deeply anthropological in approach and commitment to ethnographic forms of narrative, the book will enlighten, challenge and fascinate readers from a wide range of disciplines, from medicine to health policy, sociology to government, STS and law."--Rachel Douglas-Jones, Kaleidoscope

"This is an insightful read for those interested in medical anthropology, the pharmaceutical industry, medical ethics, AIDS activism, and health studies. It is an essential tool for those seeking to understand the complexity of tackling the AIDS issue on the ground level."--Lindsay Sprague, Anthropology in Action

"Will to Live is an impressive and moving analysis by an engaged ethnographer. . . . Biehl presents a powerful example of how ethnographic investigation can illuminate the fine details and trajectories of people's lives while also informing critical analysis of broad shifts in global and national health policies."--Steven Epstein, American Journal of Sociology


"Will to Live is a wonderful contribution not only to anthropology but also to social medicine, medical ethics, and our understanding of the pharmaceutical industry. At the same time, it provides an intimate view of what it's like to live with both AIDS and poverty in Brazil. This is one of the few studies of AIDS than can claim to move easily between a deeply affecting psychological analysis, born of careful ethnographic work and of long-term conversations few are privileged to have, and a more experience-distant look at diagnostic technologies, the way drugs are used, and the medical professionals who deliver care. The photographs by Torben Eskerod are both beautiful and haunting and lend even more depth to this remarkable book."--Paul E. Farmer, Harvard University, and founding director of Partners In Health

"João Biehl's Will to Live is one of the most exceptional studies of the response to HIV and AIDS that I have ever had the chance to read. I believe that it will become a true classic in this field of research."--Richard G. Parker, Columbia University

"Will to Live is a terrific ethnography and a major scholarly study. It is going to be widely read and have a big impact because it tells the story of Brazil's public response to HIV and AIDS--the most important and innovative one in the developing world. The photographs are superbly well-fitted to the ethnography, their artistry wonderfully evocative."--Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University

"This is a brilliant book, an arresting exposé of the world of AIDS treatment access. Biehl moves artfully between the bureaucratic and the intimate until the bureaucratic loses its abstract status as powerfully removed from the intimacy of everyday life. Will to Live is a major contribution to medical anthropology, science studies, politics, and public health--all fields that must now deal with the human costs and changing structures of power driven by the contemporary dynamics of neoliberalism and globalization."--Kay Warren, Brown University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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