Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Review: Mountains Beyond Mountains

Title Mountains Beyond Mountains:
Author Tracy Kidder
Rating *****
Tags non-fiction, doctors, medicine, haiti, russia, peru, tuberculosis 

What a marvelous book! It is the story of Dr. Paul Farmer, who grew up poor, living for years in a bus with five siblings or on a boat. He grew up with a fierce desire to help people. He got into Harvard medical school, and while there got interested in Haiti and all its severe problems. He went to one of the poorer regions in a poor country, and he has proven over and over that hard work, organization, imagination, good medical practices, personal attention, and some money can make a big difference. Necessarily he and his coworkers became experts in tuberculosis, since it is one of Haiti's major medical problems. They had a lot of success treating drug resistant TB, using a different and more effective regimen than recommended by the World Health Organization. Farmer and his colleagues in Partner in Health became busier than ever, working on TB in Peru and in Russian prisons.

Kidder is a terrific writer. He gives a great sense of what an amazing but wholly human character Farmer is, as well as some of his coworkers.

The book proves that one person CAN make a difference, but few are as capable as Farmer. Those of us without his talents can but support him however we are able.

Well, now I can add another hero to my list. Last year it was Greg Mortenson, profiled in Three Cups of Tea. This year its Paul Farmer - and it is only January!

Publication Random House (2004), Paperback, 336 pages
Publication date 2004

Posted via web from reannon's posterous

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