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Hardcover Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World Book

ISBN: 0375506160

ISBN13: 9780375506161

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

" A] masterpiece . . . an astonishing book that will leave you questioning your own life and political views . . . Kidder opens a window into Farmer's soul, letting the reader peek in and see what truly makes the good doctor tick."--Nicholas Thomas, USA Today In medical school, Paul Farmer found his life's calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Tracy Kidder's magnificent...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Farmer as saint, Haiti as Hell and Kidder as biographer

This book was a loan. It is a worthwhile and absorbing read, mostly because of Kidder's writing ability. The book exists on three distinct levels: the first is as a biography of an interesting man-Paul Farmer, the second is a story about Haiti, the abuse of both it's people and it's land over time and how that creates the modern morass, and lastly is the story of how Kidder became a Farmer fan or how i came to write this book. The book is tying these three levels, these distinct threads into an engrossing and fascinating story so that by the end you too are a Farmer fan. Why do some, a pityfully few people, seem to do something with their lives, seem to matter in the long run, seem to get useful work out of their time here that others just seem to waster and squander? Is it technique, is it passion, is it ability and in their genes, is it just restless energy? The book offers a few insights into this complex and important topic. But mostly it is a straightforward biography of Paul Farmer, from an unusual childhood to travelling often from Haiti to Boston, from the bottom to the top of the social and material world, about a dichotomy expressed in the life of one man: love of these poor people and love of modern medicine and what it can do for patients as real people. I appreciated the book, i can hope to read more like this, i can never hope to be like him and will remain a spectator of such people, who seem to exist on a plane of their own. I am glad they live among us and i would believe that their presence blesses the rest of us. But i will remain in the bleachers cheering them onward, perhaps i can write a few small checks to their works but i will always see them from afar. Kidder does all us avid readers a great service by writing down what he saw and heard, thanks.

Unexpectedly compelling, brilliantly written

I confess that when this book was selected for my book club, I was relatively unenthused. I work for a non-profit and am interested in public health issues, so it wasn't for lack of interest in the topic, but the title and subtitle just made it sound somewhat repetitive and lengthy - I suppose I thought the read itself would be an uphill battle. I was completely wrong. The book was compelling throughout, and the writing was brilliant. Kidder makes the medical terminology extremely accessible, while also making the imagery of the various countries, landscapes, and people come to life. While I won't go into the details of Farmer's quest (the other reviews and summaries do it justice), I will say that I was duly inspired. This inspiration was partially circumstantial, as I read it while I was experiencing an inertia and lull at work, but all the people I've spoken with concur that it had the same effect on them. However, despite the glowing portrayal of Farmer's visionary quest, Kidder also did a great job of illuminating some of the monsters among Farmer's windmills, the drawbacks of his lifestyle, and the (though few) less-than-charming quirks. I think this was important psychologically for both Kidder and his readers, who could easily be overwhelmed by the enormity of Farmer's vision and impact. This book made for a great book club discussion and it would also be excellent for high school and college classroom discussions, as it raises a number of issues related to social justice, ethical dilemmas, international politics/policy, personal responsibility, and global health. I highly recommend it and I look forward to checking out some of Kidder's other works.


I don't really recommend many books, tastes being what they are.But let me tell you, that each person to whom I have given this book has been grateful for having had the chance to read it, and to pass it on. I have never read a book that so truthfully explains the complex roots of poverty, and our complicity in it. In writing about Paul Farmer, Mr. Kidder uses brushstrokes that are sometimes gentle, and then he gives us a Paul Farmer truth to jolt us out of our comfortable chairs. As one reads, one sees Mr. Kidder himself transformed. And one also sees that, complex as poverty is, there are solutions. In reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, one finally understand that vital to its cure are working personally and in community with those who live it every day. I regret having to say that I had not heard of Paul Farmer before reading this book. I received it as a gift, out of the blue and for no special occasion. I will always be grateful, to the gifter, to Tracy Kidder and most of all, to Paul Farmer and the community around him.

both thrilling and important

You might think the story of a caregiver in the poorest country in the western hemisphere would be depressing. You might think that learning about the "Global ATM"-- aids, tuberculosis, and malaria-- and that these three diseases kill six million poor people a year, would be depressing.Yet, the story of Paul Farmer is energizing, and will leave you breathless as you see the human potential of one person to make an enormous difference. Tracy Kidder is at his best in this book, and does a magnificent job covering different shades of character and events.And finally, this book is also a love story with the Haitian people, a people cursed by 200 years of bad government and western imperialism, for whom even the smallest effort and assistance will save many lives.Please read this book, and buy it as a present for those you love. It can change your, see for info about my first trip to Haiti, taken as a result of this book.

Mountains Beyond Mountains

In a world where it is easy to feel as though we are helpless in the face of everyday violence, war, greed, and inhumanity, the story of Dr. Paul Farmer and his colleagues is an important reminder of the power within all of us to contribute to a better, more just world. I suspect many people who read this book begin it with little or no knowledge of Haiti's history nor of its desperate situation today (not something we see in school curriculums!) and so the book also serves as a great "primer" for readers on Haiti and the impact of US policy there. Tracy Kidder does an excellent job of allowing us to "shadow" the steps of Paul Farmer as he moves in Haiti and around the world. I think Kidder's detailing of his own evolving relationship with Paul Farmer is particularly well done. He does an excellent job of chronicling the details of personalities, individuals, and events without ever letting the reader lose sight of the larger global context in which they are situated.

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World Mentions in Our Blog

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World in Die-hard Do-Gooders
Die-hard Do-Gooders
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 30, 2020

This time of year has lots of us thinking about how we can help the world to be a better place. This post features six extraordinary heroes across the past century who haven’t been afraid to take on big challenges for change.

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