Saturday, July 16, 2011

Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader

Edited by: Haun Saussy

First line: People sometimes refer to Paul Edward Farmer, MD, born in 1959, as a hero, saint, madman, or genius.

Why you should read this book: This collection of scholarly essays, spanning a period of more than two decades, collects some of medical anthropologist Dr. Farmer's powerful research on the intersection of poverty, gender, ethics, and healthcare. Based mostly in Haiti, but covering the entire world, with implications for everyone, he discusses infectious disease, particularly AIDS and tuberculosis, and they way in which the modern medical model fails those who need the most help. From "stupid" (easily preventable) deaths, to child prostitution, violence, and the objectification of the poor, resulting in prejudicial attitudes that poverty must be an impediment to healthcare, this book dissects the false beliefs, negated by Farmer's actual success, that have allowed wealthy nations to set aside their responsibility to others.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Although Farmer writes with a quiet wit, this is a rather dense scholarly work and may not be easy for some readers to get through.

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