My Own Country

By Abraham Verghese,

Book cover of My Own Country: A Doctor's Story

Book description

A Doctor's storyof a town and its people in the age of Aids

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Why read it?

2 authors picked My Own Country as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is a memoir that has really stayed with me. It is beautifully written and a compulsive read.

Dr. Verghese describes the world of the deep south on the precipice of the AIDS epidemic. It is his story of being a young doctor, but also the story of the explosion in HIV cases far from the coastal cities that were the epicenters of the epidemic. I found myself crying over the cases he described, and feeling his heart-ache as he battled for individuals with HIV to gain acceptance, support, and treatments in their communities. 

If someone else wrote this story, they’d say Abraham Verghese was a hero. He doesn’t. Instead, he describes his quest as a member of a foreign minority to become an American doctor, one who ironically finds himself striving to help young men who are outcasts in their own country. When AIDS first arrived in Johnson City, Tennessee in 1985 there was no way to test for the virus and no effective treatment. Fear ran rampant. A local undertaker didn’t want to put socks on the feet of a victim because he was afraid to touch the corpse’s bare feet. Some…

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