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Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

Mountains Beyond Mountains (2003)

by Tracy Kidder

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While I admire Dr. Farmer's work I thought the book was dry as dust. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
I expected to like this book much more than I did. The story of what Paul Farmer did in providing health care in Haiti intrigued me. I did, however, feel the story bogged down in places -- mainly when it got "too medical" or "too political" for a mainstream audience. I'm glad Kidder decided to share Farmer's story with the world; however, it could have been more readable. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jan 25, 2017 |
Nonfiction, a remarkable, unforgetable story about Dr. Paul Farmer, who has inspired many in the world regarding medical care for the poor. He revolutionized the treatment of TB and HIV in a seemingly understated quiet, powerful way. The author is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Dr. Farmer's favorite place to practice is Haiti, so the book is timely now as well. I keep wondering if he was there during the earthquake. This man has made a difference in lives around the world in ways hard to understand unless you read about the connectedness of things in this book.

I highly recommend it to all. It's awesome, quite literally, as are the people in it. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
I deliberately chose to read the "Adapted for Young People" version not because I dislike Tracy Kidder (on the contrary, I generally really enjoy his books) but because I knew this was a subject that would cause me to gnash my teeth, stomp my tiny feet, and rage and rage. Also, I was fully prepared for the idea that I wouldn't necessarily like Dr. Paul Farmer.

That's two to me.

Being broke is tough. Being poor when everyone you know is just as poor, and illiterate, and ill, as well as hungry, that's not merely tough, that's deadly. Paul Farmer met Haitian farmworkers while he was a student and Duke. By the time he'd completed his medical and anthropology training at Harvard he was already firmly established as the primary caregiver for the inhabitants of the central plateau of Haiti. Since then he has done astounding work in multi-drug resistant TB treatment and AIDs treatment among the poorest peoples in the world. He's developed widely repeated drug protocols as well as a much-copied healthcare clinic. Everyone should have such a caring and creative doctor.

And yes, sometimes he is annoying because he has eidetic memory, and only needs to sleep four hours a night, and he is banging his head against stupid bureaucracy, and poor logic, and the worst kind of social injustice, every single day.

He is, I think, a kind of living saint, a man who has thrown himself entirely and completely into looking after the sick, the poor, the imprisoned. And the authors make it clear that this is hard, hard work. Good on him. He should make us all feel uncomfortable and guilty, because no matter how much good we might do with our lives, we aren't doing as much good as he is.

Library copy. ( )
  Kaethe | Oct 17, 2016 |
Interesting book about Paul Farmer, who really seems to be a one-of-a-kind guy, not caring about money and fame but truly interested in helping the poor and needy in Haiti. First 1/2 to 3/4 of the book kept me riveted as it talked about Paul growing up and building this medical free-clinich-ish foundation in Haiti. The last several chapters got a bit dry in all the little nit-picky things that had to be done and how Paul had problem after problem; kinda like the relative who comes to visit and likes to clean, and how cool that is, until it's the 18th week and the guy who liked to clean now seems like an OCD anal-retentive clean-a-holic! But overall worth the read, and maybe even donate if you can. ( )
  marshapetry | Oct 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
''Mountains Beyond Mountains'' is inspiring, disturbing, daring and completely absorbing. It will rattle our complacency; it will prick our conscience.
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Beyond mountains there are mountains.
--Haitian proverb

. . . And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realized;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying . . .
--T. S. Eliot
"The Dry Salvages"

For Henry and Tim Kidder
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Six years after the fact, Dr. Paul Edward Farmer reminded me, "We met because of a beheading, of all things."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812973011, Paperback)

Tracy Kidder is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, Among Schoolchildren, and Home Town. He has been described by the Baltimore Sun as the “master of the non-fiction narrative.” This powerful and inspiring new book shows how one person can make a difference, as Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who is in love with the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer—brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti—blasts through convention to get results.

Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that "the only real nation is humanity" - a philosophy that is embodied in the small public charity he founded, Partners In Health. He enlists the help of the Gates Foundation, George Soros, the U.N.’s World Health Organization, and others in his quest to cure the world. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”: as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.

Mountains Beyond Mountains unfolds with the force of a gathering revelation,” says Annie Dillard, and Jonathan Harr says, “[Farmer] wants to change the world. Certainly this luminous and powerful book will change the way you see it.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:04 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A portrait of infectious disease expert Dr. Paul Farmer follows the efforts of this unconventional Harvard genius to understand the world's great health, economic, and social problems and to bring healing to humankind.

» see all 9 descriptions

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