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This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes Hardcover – April 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061759546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061759543
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Whoever Saves a Life, It Is Considered as If He Saved an Entire World"

Dr. Rick Hodes arrived in Africa more than two decades ago to help the victims of a famine, but he never expected to call this extremely poor continent his home. Twenty-eight years later, he is still there.

This Is a Soul tells the remarkable story of Rick Hodes's journey from suburban America to Mother Teresa's clinic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As a boy, Rick was devoted to helping those in need, and eventually he determined that becoming a doctor would allow him to do the most good. When he heard about famine in Africa, that's where he went, and when genocide convulsed Rwanda, he went into the refugee camps to minister to the victims. When he was told that Ethiopia was allowing its Jews to emigrate to Israel, he went to help. While there, he was drawn to Mother Teresa's mission in Addis Ababa. It was there that Rick found his calling when he began caring for the sickest children in one of the world's poorest countries. But he did more than that—he began taking them into his home and officially adopted five of them.

This Is a Soul is also a book filled with great joy and triumph. When Rick's kids return from surgery or life-saving treatments, he is exultant. "Seeing these people after surgery is like going to heaven," he says.

Marilyn Berger went to Africa to write about Dr. Hodes, but while there, she became involved with the story. When she came upon a small, deformed, and malnourished boy begging on the street, she recognized immediately that he had the exact disease Rick could cure. She took him to Rick, who eventually arranged for the boy to have a complicated and risky surgery, which turned out to be incredibly successful. The boy's story—intertwined with Rick's, and Marilyn's as well—is unforgettable in its pathos and subtle humor.

This Is a Soul is not just a story of the savior and the saved, it is a celebration of love and wisdom, and an exploration of how charity and devotion can actually change lives in an overcrowded, unjust, and often harsh world.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Marilyn Berger is a contributing writer to the New York Times. She was previously a diplomatic correspondent for Newsday and the Washington Post, and was the United Nations correspondent for ABC News and the White House correspondent for NBC News. She was the moderator on the public affairs program The Advocates and anchored WNET's City Edition. She was the director of programs and public affairs for the Council on Foreign Relations. Her articles have been published in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and New York magazine.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
88%
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8%
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See all 48 customer reviews
A must read, can't put down book.
Alexis Awan
We always wonder if one person can make a difference and where are the good people in this world.
J. Cox
Thank you, Marilyn Berger, for bringing to me, and others, the story of Dr. Rick Hodes.
Peggy Cooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Alexis Awan on April 13, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I saw this this morning on GMA and immediately downlaoded it to my Kindle. I have put it down only to write this. The first sentence grabs you and after that you can't let go. I can relate to this story as I too went to Africa and came upon such sickness and heartbreaking helplessness. In the middle of this was a tiny little boy, with a smile that lit up the room and horribly contorted legs. He was 6. He is now 11 and is my son with legs that have had surgery and still with that beautiful smile. This is a story of love, committment and ultimate selflessness. A must read, can't put down book. Makes me want to go back for another.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Tabel on May 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One cannot for too long stare directly into the sun. It is best examined obliquely, by the spreading colors of spring, or the subtle warmth on your skin. So it goes with extraordinary people. Often, one best understands them not by direct examination, but by the impact they make on those around them. "This is a Soul" excels in nearly every regard, but none more so than when it examines the impact Dr. Rick Hodes has made upon almost every life that has come into contact with his own, with the author's life being no exception to this general rule, as becomes apparent in later chapters.

The book does not go to great lengths to glorify Dr. Hodes. It very accurately catalogs and reports events, while necessarily detailing emotions without overly embellishing them. For what purpose could lavish praise serve? Would Dr. Hodes work immensely benefit by an extra superlative? By the end of the book, the reader will clearly understand that no written word could possibly do full justice to his work. Only the lives he has saved, and continues to save, serve to justify his own life's purpose. Only those souls can give Dr. Hodes his appropriate salutation.

This book brings those souls to a broader audience, and through them we can more clearly understand Dr. Hodes.

In understanding him, the reader may become motivated to act in kind. Extraordinary people strike notes that harmonize through us all, and even the most ordinary amongst us recognizes and can play this music, in turn. "This is a Soul" will surely inspire many more to join this swelling chorus, a divine orchestration, in which Dr. Hodes has most faithfully played his part.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jg on April 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having spent time in Ethiopia I was interested in this book and found it to be an eye-opening account of the work of one man that has changed so many lives in Ehtiopia and other parts of the world. I read the book in one day; simply couldn't put it down. It's a book that should be required reading for all college students. No, it should be required reading for everyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barbara on April 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An incredible true story and very well written. Prepare to be inspired. This is a book you'll want to pass along to your friends, family and especially to young people, who might worry that nothing they can do would make a difference in the world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eddie on May 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Rick has been my friend since we first met on a ferry boat going to the Greek island of Ikaria in 1976. He was then and has always been quite the character. He is an extraordinary person, but also quite human. The lesson being, you don't have to be a saint to behave like one (at least most of the time). I think this was well displayed in the book. Rather than repeat all the praise you have no doubt read by now I would just like to add (or repeat) one comment / suggestion that others have touched on. PLEASE, if you find it worthy, buy several copies and distribute them as gifts to your friends' children, public schools and to anyone else you think might be in a position to pass this message on, so that others will consider the true value of life. We desperately need MORE people like Rick in this troubled world. OK Rick, now wipe that smile off your face....!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carole A. Wolanow on April 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband and I had the privilege of meeting Rick here in Dallas several years ago when he brought his sons here for surgery and they spent many months in Jaynie's home recouperating and becoming part of the community. Subsequently we visited with Rick in December of 2008 and were privileged to visit him in both the Mother Teresa Hospital and in his home in late December 2008 and in early January 2009. We met the "kids" and Danny. This was a turning point in our lives to see Rick in action. Marilyn Berger has absolutely captured in writing everything we saw first hand on the ground. Yasher Koach, Marilyn for putting into written word a story that must be shared so that people around the world will be motivated to financially support Rick's continued works with these wonderful children.

Carole Wolanow
Dallas , texas
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Edgerton Yorrick on April 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I happen to know the geography well and I know the man about whom this book is written and have met the writer too (i say this in the spirit of full discolsure). What the author has done is created a wonderful portrait of the complex way one is called to a life work and how effective one person can be. Amazingly, the honors and publicity coming to Dr Hodes are twenty years overdue and yet will not affect him one bit in terms of who he is and what he does. I cant praise this book sufficiently nor its subject. All medical students going abroad should read this. Who knows, just like Rick, one visit might transform their life
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More About the Author

Marilyn Berger is a contributing writer to the New York Times. She was previously a diplomatic correspondent for Newsday and the Washington Post, and was the United Nations correspondent for ABC News and the White House correspondent for NBC News. She was the moderator on the public affairs program The Advocates and anchored WNET's City Edition. She was the director of programs and public affairs for the Council on Foreign Relations. Her articles have been published in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and New York magazine.

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