Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World

Written by: Tracy Kidder

First line: Six years after the fact, Dr. Paul Edward Farmer reminded me, "We met because of a beheading, of all things."

Why you should read this book: In turn heartbreaking, inspiring, astonishing, painful, and eye-opening, this Pulitzer-winning book recounts the life and work of Dr. Paul Farmer, as seen through the eyes of writer Tracy Kidder, who accompanies him around the world, from Haiti to America to Peru to Russia and back to Haiti, documenting Farmer's determination to eradicate multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, AIDS, and any other disease that comes him way amidst populations that most of the planet has already decided should be allowed to die. Farmer's unrelenting work on behalf of the poorest and most downtrodden people of the world serves as a wake-up call that anyone, anywhere can make a difference if he or she is determined to change the world, and this book demonstrates how Farmer's advocacy for the poor has changed the world: building clinics and houses, cleaning up water supplies, and negotiating with the international groups that determine treatment protocols, distribute funds, and control drug prices. Kidder's sensitive reporting helps the average reader understand the mind of a nearly super-human genius, rendering his subject accessible and encouraging a little more compassion, understanding, and determination from his audience.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You've already assuaged your white liberal guilt with your checkbook.

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