The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of Aids

Elizabeth Pisani

The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of Aids

A World Bank and WHO advisor and epidemiologist presents a scathing assessment of the factors influencing international AIDS prevention, in a report that makes recommendations about how to more appropriately allocate tax funds and draws on interviews with a wide range of contributors, from Indonesian transsexuals to Chinese prostitutes. 4.0 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of Aids

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy, Psychology & Psychiatry
Format Hardback
Pages 288
RRP £18.35
Date of Publication May 2008
ISBN 978-0393066623
Publisher WW Norton & Co
 

A World Bank and WHO advisor and epidemiologist presents a scathing assessment of the factors influencing international AIDS prevention, in a report that makes recommendations about how to more appropriately allocate tax funds and draws on interviews with a wide range of contributors, from Indonesian transsexuals to Chinese prostitutes.

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Michael Bywater

Wonderful... [Pisani] makes epidemiology both accessible to the lay reader and as fascinating as it deserves to be (and as it actually is: epidemiologists such as Pisani have a hell of a story to tell, though one less appealing to television than the current obsession with forensic science).

14/06/2008

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The Times

Rachel Holmes

Pisani's expertise is epidemiology, the study of how diseases spread in a population. In short, she is a card-carrying, intellectual number-crunching boffin nerd. But - and here's what makes the book a good read - Pisani is a charismatic, fun-loving, intellectual boffin nerd, full of joie de vivre and the ability to turn a rip-roaring good story.

24/04/2009

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The Sunday Times

Alex Renton

Her book is a gripping and surprisingly entertaining account of the waste, fraud and jaw-dropping arrogance of the Aids industry, and it tells you a lot about what has gone wrong in the fight against the millennial plague. It's an insight, too, into some other conundrums of the modern world: why public-health science has lost our trust; why so many of the super-national bodies set up in the hopeful years after the second world war have failed to do the good they promised; and why such institutions find it so easy and acceptable to lie to the public. It's hard to think of anyone who shouldn't read it.

04/05/2008

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The New Statesman

James Le Fanu

It is probably mere illusion to suppose that The Wisdom of Whores will, as it certainly should, cause much heartsearching within the industry.

15/05/2008

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The Observer

Stephanie Merritt

Pisani writes with candour and humour, both essential given the general squeamishness with regard to the subjects she has to discuss... Pisani's deliberately colloquial style cuts through the jargon - though she has an infuriating habit of referring to 'cute guys' and 'cute chicks' - and the view she opens up is often shocking but, ultimately, cautiously optimistic.

24/04/2009

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The Scotsman

Richard Holloway

[an] honest and fiercely unsentimental book...

17/05/2008

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Time Out

Hamish McKenzie (Hong Kong)

It makes for reading that is by turns entertaining and depressing. Ultimately, though, she strikes a chord that is oddly encouraging. The spread of HIV is not an impossible problem, and we can shut it down with simple, cost-effective steps.

01/05/2008

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The Economist

The Economist

"There may be one breathless description too many of hanging around with transvestite prostitutes in Indonesia, but the epidemiologist and ex-AIDS consultant's colourful anecdotes generally serve her cause well. Most welcome is her desire to challenge taboos."

24/04/2009

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The Evening Standard

Will Self

Thoughtful and necessary... Pisani isn't exactly jolly-hockey-sticks but she's still a ewe when it comes to Aids; unfortunately, it was already clear back in the mid-1980s, to those of us who were in high-risk groups, that this is a ram's world.

01/05/2008

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The Guardian

Michael Fitzpatrick

It is ironic that, more than a century after the pioneering feminist campaign led by Josephine Butler for the repeal of these repressive measures, Pisani's advocacy of a return to Victorian coercion has the appearance of a radical alternative to the deceitful posturing and colossal wastefulness of the crusade against Aids.

24/05/2008

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The Independent

Jeremy Laurance

Her deeply egocentric and simplistic analysis fails to take account of the political, social and human complexities of the epidemic... As an extended piece of rhetoric, her book has freshness, charm and innocence, reminding us of the core elements that remain at the heart of this epidemic. But its attempt to provide, as the blurb says, "a clear-sighted analysis of where we have gone wrong" is hopelessly unsatisfactory. It tells us a lot about whores but, sadly, contains very little wisdom.

09/05/2008

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