In the Shadow of the American Dream is a compilation of David Wojnarowicz’s journal entries spanning 20 years—from the age of 17 to just before his death, at 37. Editor Amy Scholder explains that she selected entries from 31 diaries “illustrative of the values he cherished, the struggles he endured, and the pleasures he sought.”
David’s intimate entries take the reader from the coastal islands of Maine to New York to San Francisco to Paris—his wanderlust finally finding expression in his art and sexuality when he landed on New York’s Lower East Side, in the late ’70s. Even in the face of his own 1988 HIV/AIDS diagnosis, David embraces life without restraint, throwing himself into his life and art. The worsening AIDS epidemic reveals him to be both a compassionate friend and a fierce socio-political critic.
Open Road Media re-released In the Shadow of the American Dream in 2014 as part of a series of republished Kindle editions of Close to the Knives, Memories That Smell Like Gasoline, and The Waterfront Journals.
More resources re: David Wojnarowicz, In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz. Edited by Amy Scholder. New York: Grove Press, 1999.