Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.89 shipping
+ $4.89 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – Deckle Edge, August 25, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Thought-provoking and profoundly satisfying, this book will inspire feelings of humility, admiration, and disquietude; in some readers, it may sow the seeds of humanitarian activism. As a specialist in infectious diseases, Farmer's goal is nothing less than redressing the "steep gradient of inequality" in medical service to the desperately poor. His work establishing a complex of public health facilities on the central plateau of Haiti forms the keystone to efforts that now encompass initiatives on three continents. Farmer and a trio of friends began in the 1980s by creating a charitable foundation called Partners in Health (PIH, or Zanmi Lasante in Creole), armed with passionate conviction and $1 million in seed money from a Boston philanthropist. Kidder provides anecdotal evidence that their early approach to acquiring resources for the Haitian project at times involved a Robin Hood type of "redistributive justice" by liberating medical equipment from the "rich" (Harvard) and giving to the "poor" (the PIH clinic). Yet even as PIH has grown in size and sophistication, gaining the ability to influence and collaborate with major international organizations because of the founders' energy, professional credentials, and successful outcomes, their dedicated vision of doctoring to the poor remains unaltered. Farmer's conduct is offered as a "road map to decency," albeit an uncompromising model that nearly defies replication. This story is remarkable, and Kidder's skill in sequencing both dramatic and understated elements into a reflective commentary is unsurpassed.
Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From The New England Journal of Medicine
Paul Farmer is a 44-year-old specialist in infectious diseases and an attending physician at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. His biographer, Tracy Kidder, read his book on the connections between poverty and disease -- Infections and Inequalities -- and wrote to him, "I'm reading your oeuvre." "Ah, but that's not my oeuvre," Farmer replied. "To see my oeuvre you have to come to Haiti." Indeed, Farmer founded a hospital and health center, Zanmi Lasante, in Cange, Haiti, hours from the capital and at the end of a gutted road in a region destitute even by Haiti's standards, as part of an extensive community-based health network linked to a hospital, Clinique Bon Sauveur (see Figure). For more than 20 years, Farmer has spent many months every year there, often taking care of patients himself and continually improving the treatments offered by the clinic. These now include antiretroviral drugs. Lasante is supported by a foundation based in Boston called Partners in Health, which is headed by Ophelia Dahl and largely financed by Tom White, the philanthropic owner of a large Boston construction firm. There is more. Through his patients in Cange, Farmer became interested in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. From Haiti, he exported treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis to Peru and then to Siberia, achieving cure rates comparable to those in the United States. Through the Institute for Health and Social Justice (the research and education division of Partners in Health) and his associate Jim Yong Kim, he started a movement to lower prices for the second-line drugs necessary to treat resistant tuberculosis and successfully lobbied the World Health Organization for changes in treatment recommendations for tuberculosis. Readers may have heard some of this story before (Farmer has received a MacArthur award and the American Medical Association's Dr. Nathan Davis Award) and may have wondered, as I did, where he came from and how one man could accomplish so much. Kidder traces Farmer's trajectory, starting with his unconventional childhood, which included living in a bus and on a leaky boat. He was given a scholarship to Duke, where he majored in anthropology and worked alongside poor Haitian farm workers in North Carolina's tobacco fields. After graduation he spent a year in Haiti, where he met Ophelia Dahl, and then went to Harvard Medical School. While in medical school and during his residencies and fellowships, he spent more time in Cange than in Boston. How does Farmer do it? Kidder provides some explanations: he works nonstop, hardly sleeps, sees his wife and child for a day or so every few months, inspires an uncommon degree of devotion and enthusiasm among collaborators and potential donors, and tolerates planes and airports for days on end. In addition, the Boston medical establishment has bent rules and regulations to accommodate his needs. Convincing? Maybe. There remains something miraculous about Paul Farmer. Should one go out and buy Mountains beyond Mountains? By all means. Not only it is it an enjoyable book, but it is also very likely that a part of the $25.95 spent in purchasing it will find its way back to Haiti. That is more than can be said about many books. In addition, readers looking for a worthwhile charity to support may be inspired to send some money to Partners in Health. Bernard Hirschel, M.D.
Copyright © 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
What an amazing subject for this work: Dr. Paul Farmer. This guy is just amazing! As a college student, he travels to Haiti to dedicate himself to the poor. He attends Harvard while spending 8 months a year in Haiti building his own hospital there. He gets a PhD in Anthropology at the same time he gets his MD, the latter not surprising given that he already has 6 years of intense clinical experience dealing directly with life and death situations. You would expect such a person to take on airs, maybe be a big proud of himself, maybe even be motivated by the 'big bucks' so clearly available in a rich city. Dr. Farmer appears to be vying for a "saint" award. Kidder makes you feel like you are there sitting in the same room, and it is no big deal.
To say this book is inspiring is badly understating it. Look at what you can do if you hold true to your ideals! It is humbling as well. Dr. Farmer is my age, and I can't help drawing parallels with my own life, and there is no way I could do a fraction of what he is done. Yet I don't need to: it is satisfying to know that there are people like him in the world.
There is so much to learn from the book. Never give in, and never give up! His daily accomplishments are so small, and yet at the same time so profound and consistent. It is all about "caring". If you care about your friends, your neighbors, your family, and - yes - the rest of the world, how can you not love a person who literally saves people on a daily basis? Are we seeing a saint walking among us? One has to wonder.
This is a story that needs to be told. It reminds me a lot of Three Cups of Tea. If only we could motivate others to do the same -- if only we could motivate ourselves to do the same -- the world could be a better place. How refreshing to read about a real superhero.
While continuing to work in Haiti, he started to investigate Lima Peru, where there was a disturbing trend: people with Tuberculosis that was resistant to 4, maybe even 5 of the top antibiotics. He goes there and finds that in general Peru is competently following a program in strict accordance to WHO standards. The problem was the WHO guidelines! How to raise this issue without alienating the world's most important health organization, or the officials in Peru. At the same time, what can be done about drugs with inflated costs putting them out of reach of these poor patients?
His travels take him to the prisons in Russia, which has a an extreme problem with TB as well. Prisoners are easy to study and monitor. He points out that the prisons are like a pump that cycles TB into the general population with prisoners who stay a few years and bring the disease back with him. You almost cheer when he gets a grant from the Gates foundation to develop a modified procedure to battle MDR-TB.
He does not do any of this all by himself. There are a lot of truly dedicate people who recognize his talent and follow/help him all along the way. Kidder manages to capture many of these people as well. At still, Farmer's real talent is to be the catalyst that makes it all come together. It might be better to say it all flows around him...
In the end, his success is due to one simple talent, and he says it best in his own words: "I like people." It is hard not to like him back.