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Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

Mountains Beyond Mountains (2003)

by Tracy Kidder

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Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
An interesting portrait of Paul Farmer. You get a good sense of Farmer's personality and motivations, with lots of revealing anecdotes. The story falls apart somewhat in the second half, when it becomes more of a travelogue of the author following Farmer around.

Farmer is fascinating, but not inspirational to me. I was troubled by a story where his organization decided to spend >$20,000 on airlifting a dying patient to Boston, to die there, when they did not even have a working ambulance. In this case, his staff made the decision, and from the description it seems like they did it more to make themselves feel good than to help the patient. Not making decisions to triage, to economically prioritize spending money to maximize good, might be exactly what makes Farmer inspirational, and therefore effective in raising money. But this style of fundraising seems designed to appeal to people who donate to make themselves feel good, rather than to do good. ( )
  breic | Aug 27, 2018 |
This gave a pretty decent overview of the medical issues facing Peru, Haiti, and Russia without getting too bogged down in sciences-speak. The background story on different people did nothing to add to the book and merely padded length. ( )
  benuathanasia | May 1, 2018 |
dedication from Diana to Hanne, 2003
  AlanBudreau | Apr 3, 2018 |
3.5 stars

Before Paul Farmer became a doctor, he spent some time in Haiti with poor people. He already had an anthropology degree. He realized that helping these people get well was what he wanted to do with his life. And workaholic that he seemed to be (at least doing this, what he loved to do), that’s what he did! And, he started a foundation (Partners in Health) that expanded to Peru and Russia and beyond. They treated mostly TB and HIV.

This was good. Impressive, everything he did/does, but at the same time one wonders how he managed/manages to get everything done. He had to also navigate political interactions, as well. ( )
  LibraryCin | Mar 23, 2018 |
Great telling of the history of Dr. Paula Farmer as he fights to solve TB in poverty stricken Haiti as well as other areas of the world. God gave us plenty of resources. He didn't make us share them. ( )
  addunn3 | Feb 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 131 (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
First words
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 10 descriptions

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