The first and only memoir written by early AIDS activist Ruth Coker Burks, All The Young Men is a heartfelt and personal account of Ruth’s work as an advocate for men with AIDS in Hot Springs, Arkansas in the mid-1980s. It is also an elegy to those on the front lines of the epidemic for whom she cared deeply.
Single mother Ruth’s unexpected story of female empowerment and strong women’s activism evokes the stories of Erin Brockovich, Karen Silkwood, Gloria Steinem, and Harvey Milk. All The Young Men will also appeal to fans of the Oscar-winning film, Dallas Buyers Club and Angels in America by Tony Kushner.
Ruth is widely admired by journalists and correspondents, namely Gio Benitez on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, and Ann Curry of PBS’ We’ll Meet Again, and has continuously been supported by Bill Clinton since his time as Governor of Arkansas. She was also the subject of a short film based on her life called Ruth (2017), directed by Rose McGowan, who has called her an “American Hero.” An Oscar-winning producer is adapting Ruth’s story for feature film and Dakota Johnson is attached to star as the author.
Audible has purchased the audio rights in a sizeable acquisition and will be promoting the book.
This is the first time Ruth has given us her own full and detailed portrait of the realities faced by AIDS patients in Arkansas during the 1980s. The depictions of deep discrimination in the conservative south are visceral and informative, as are the silenced voices of the brave men she profiles here.
Ruth Coker Burk, also known as the Cemetery Angel, has been honored as an Unsung Hero by the Human Rights Campaign, The World AIDS Museum in Fort Lauderdale, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Florida, the National AIDS Memorial, and her story has been widely shared on media outlets such as NPR, BBC, CBS, Vanity Fair, Elle Magazine, and Katie Couric Media.
Kevin O’Leary, Ruth’s co-writer, has written five New York Times bestselling books, including This Is Me with actress Chrissy Metz, and Open Book with singer Jessica Simpson.