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 Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (c. 2003)

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Age : 51
Location : Geneva, Illinois

PostSubject: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (c. 2003)   Wed 25 Mar 2009, 8:54 pm

Since I already over achieved to a pretty nauseating degree on my March topic (six books), I'm going to get started on April ~ Travel.

Mountains Beyond Mountains has been on my "to be read" pile for a few years, so I thought this would be the perfect time. It is non fiction about an infectious disease physician, Paul Farmer, who seemingly tries to cure some of the global health problems by himself ~ and helps many of the people who would have normally not received medical care ... which brings the reader from Haiti to Peru, Cuba and Russia. Supposedly, this is a truly amazing story of how one person can change the course of the world.

Tracy Kidder is an excellent journalistic writer. I have read a few others by him and I just think he really knows people and how to tell an exciting, engaging true account of the amazing people and things around us.



Review to follow.

Carolyn
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PostSubject: Review of Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder   Thu 02 Apr 2009, 8:42 am

Review of Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, by Tracy Kidder

This is an astounding book about a modern-day hero, few or none, of us know anything about ~ the kind of person that just seems not to exist anymore. But as we traverse the globe with infectious disease physician, Paul Farmer (who also has a PhD in anthropology), I felt myself being inspired by what one person can truly accomplish if he sets his mind to it. I will say, I've never met anyone with Farmer's pure and myopic drive towards helping first, his patients (and that means any patient, poor, destitute, wealthy or moderate), but secondly, the effort to bring medicine and aid to the people of the world who need it the most. It's wild, I had the racing feeling that one lifetime just wasn't enough for someone trying to accomplish so much. Farmer takes on the international bureaucratic nightmare that is global health care (which of course, weaves in political unrest in many areas as well as the greed of pharmaceutical companies) and amazingly, comes out on top most of the time. I think he just never imagines NOT succeeding. But also, the guy got results ~ he cured patients, saved lives, hundreds of them. He improved areas deemed inhabitable and made a difference in so many people's lives.

But behind Farmer is a very small army of dedicated people, from gracious donors like Tom White, to his core team, Ophelia and Dr. Jim Kim. They are also fascinating to read about.

Kidder is a wonderful journalistic author who brings the seemingly insurmountable data together and he does so beautifully. At times, the medicine gets slightly dry (I think a reader has to have some seed of interest in the topic), but I learned more about MDR TB (multi drug resistent tuberculosis) than I ever thought I could/would. Also, the AIDS epidemic, and how TB and HIV are inter-linked. Of course, explosion of either of those two diseases occurs in areas of severe poverty ... and Kidder takes us to many of those areas (mostly Haiti, but also Peru, Mexico and Russia), which are hard to read about, but I think, necessary, to understand the gravity of the problem.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who cares about social change and helping this fractured world.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Carolyn
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PS ~ This ended up being a suprisingly good book for our "travel" topic as literally, a reader is on the plane with, or in various countries with Paul Farmer, in most of the book. There are small sections that take place in Boston/Harvard as well though.
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PostSubject: Re: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (c. 2003)   Mon 06 Apr 2009, 8:35 am

Carolyn,
I've put this book on my "to read" list. It sounds really good. I became a fan of Tracy Kidder a number of years ago when I first started teaching. I received his book "Among School Children" as a gift and really enjoyed it. He is a very talented writer. Thanks for turning me on to another one of his books.
Karen
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Well Rounded Reading Cooperative (WRRC) :: The Twelve Categories - 2009 :: 2. Travel From Your Couch-
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