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Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would… (2003)

by Tracy Kidder

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4,5771442,130 (4.14)306
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." From the Hardcover edition.… (more)
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» See also 306 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Although I appreciate the message behind this book and the incredible story of this man’s work, the book was boring and tedious at times. I did highlight many quotes I liked, such as, “…paying attention to individual patients was a moral imperative.” (P. 146). Farmer’s commitment to being a doctor to his patients, individually, is inspiring and important. ( )
  samanddiane1999 | Jun 22, 2022 |
excellent. ( )
  Michael_J | Jun 2, 2022 |
Signed by Kidder and Paul
  eerowland1 | Feb 22, 2022 |
I loved being immersed in public health and learning about Dr. Farmer’s visionary methods for treating the most challenging cases in Haiti. At times he reminded me of Steve Jobs (after reading his bio) in his unorthodox, passionate and often insane ways of getting things done. I suppose the biggest take away is how challenging the public health situation in Haiti is right now and how it really does require a bit of insanity (and a Harvard education doesn’t hurt) to make a difference. ( )
  cdbazek | Feb 20, 2022 |
I found this to be a really incredible book telling a remarkable story. I'm currently a college student and I am studying public health and as a public health student, looking at what Paul Farmer does throughout this book is really incredible. This book is really about global public health and I spend more time looking at community health and drug abuse issues but I still found this book to be really fascinating and give such a unique model to approaching public health. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is at all interest in public health or global health in general. ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (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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Epigraph
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"

Dedication
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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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." From the Hardcover edition.

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