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.
I don't generally review the non-fiction I read here, though every once in a while I have to share a title :) This one especially, mainly because it needs a warning label: "Beware, those who read this will seriously wonder what they're doing with their life and want to take a more active role in helping others." I'm not kidding.
My hubby came across this book years ago and after reading it, promptly purchased it for most of the members of my family (I have a *lot* of health professionals in my family...I'm the odd woman out). I've had this on my list for ages, but it wasn't until Kidder was scheduled to speak here at U Montana that I picked it up. And absolutely loved it. It was, well, inspiring. Dr. Paul Farmer is an incredibly individual who has views on public health that make a whole lot of sense. And the fact is, more really could be done. Lots and lots more. The stories in the book pack an emotional punch, but also show what a difference a small group of dedicated individuals can do. I loved Kidder's take on things, and he did a wonderful job of describing Farmer, the work in Haiti and on international health, and generally wrote one of the most inspiring books I've read in a long time. If you haven't read this, definitely pick it up :)
What is the most inspiring book you've ever read?