Tracy Kidder is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, AmongSchoolchildren, and HomeTown. 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 ...
Tracy Kidder is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, AmongSchoolchildren, and HomeTown. 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."
Tracy Kidder lends a credible voice to a story so inspiring that the term seems inadequate - the story of Paul Farmer and Partners in Health. If nothing else, this work confirms that a person can recognize a problem and work to solve that problem and should do so when presented with the opportunity. A simple message that the world might do well to remember. Kidder's narrative exhibits a stark honesty that protects this tale of self-sacrifice from smacking of self-satisfaction. Mountains Beyond Mountains is done well enough that it literally has the power to change the reader's life . . . It certainly did for me.
Oct 8, 2009
I had read the book and liked it and wanted my wife to listen on disc. But the book turned out to be abridged and the labeling was deceptive in not disclosing that. Tht is a frequent problem with books on discs. The publishers (and sometimes the sellers) do not disclose it--or bury the word "abridged".
Sep 10, 2009
Mountains Beyound Mountains is definitely a recommended read, no wonder it was a Pulitzer winner. It is well written, and inspiring. The only downside is that after 200 pages, one gets a little tired of all the talk of Tuberculosis (sp).
Sep 10, 2009
If there was only one book I was allowed to read, this is the one I would choose.
Jan 19, 2009
Inspiring but Convoluted
Dr. Paul Farmer is a saint and this book is living proof. It's hope in humankind and the realization that despite racial, geographical, national, and religious boundaries, we are all but mortal afterall. The imagery and lessons learned in this book can be beautiful, symbolic, and just plain awestriking. How one man can be crazy enough to aspire to change the world, and how all it takes is one man to start-- a myth to possibility to fact.
On a practical level, for the average person, this book may be far too informative to keep a readers' attention. At first, it's absolutely amazing, and Dr. Farmers devotion continues to inspire, but it's just too many facts thrown out there and it often seems to ramble. It's almost a guilty bore, to be honest. For me personally, I feel guilty for getting bored at a story of someone so wonderful and real.
Our entire Arts & Sciences college was assigned to read this and most, though respectful and honoring of Dr. Paul Farmer, found this as something they wouldn't want to read again because there's just too much history/statistics/stories thrown into it. Plus, there is no plot... it is a biographical piece. There's no set climax, it comes and goes, it informs and it shows.
It'd be great for someone into global affairs and medicine. No doubt. If you're into really informative biographical type pieces, this is for you. 5 stars there and 5 stars for Dr. Farmer.
Otherwise, it's enlightening for all, but sometimes difficult to continue to focus reading for the average person.
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