Larry Kramer is an award-winning playwright and author, and a celebrated public health and gay rights advocate. He wrote the Academy Award–nominated screenplay adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love and rose to further prominence with his bestselling novel Faggots. A pioneering AIDS activist, he cofounded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982 and founded ACT UP in 1987. Kramer has won numerous awards for his plays and received the 2013 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for a Master American Dramatist.
The long-awaited magnum opus of America’s master playwright and activist
Forty years in the making, The American People sets forth Larry Kramer’s vision of his homeland. As the founder of ACT UP and the author of Faggots and The Normal Heart, Kramer has decisively affected American lives and letters. Here he reimagines our history. This is the story of one nation under a plague, contaminated by greed, hate, and disease and host to transcendent acts of courage and kindness.
In this first volume, which runs up to the 1950s, we meet prehistoric monkeys who spread a peculiar virus; a Native American shaman whose sexual explorations mutate into occult visions; and early English settlers who establish loving same-sex couples only to fall prey to the forces of bigotry. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton revel in unexpected intimacies, and John Wilkes Booth’s motives for assassinating Abraham Lincoln are thoroughly revised. In the twentieth century, the nightmare of history deepens as a religious sect conspires with eugenicists, McCarthyites, and Ivy Leaguers to exterminate homosexuals and the AIDS virus begins to spread. Against all this, Kramer sets the intimate heartfelt story of a middle-class family outside Washington, D.C., trying to cope with the darkest of times.
The American People is a work of ribald satire, prophetic outrage, and dazzling imagination. It is an encyclopedic indictment, written with outrageous love.
Praise for Faggots
“Larry Kramer is one of America’s most valuable troublemakers. I hope he never lowers his voice.” —Susan Sontag
“True comic brilliance—a vicious Swiftian satire that, like all satire, contains a strong moral voice.” —New York magazine
Praise for The Normal Heart
“One of the great moral dramas of our time.” —Frances Fitzgerald
“Here is theater that has managed to matter, the work of a deep-diving heart as hot as the sun.” —Tony Kushner