Saturday, October 7, 2006

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

This is an incredible book. I borrowed it from a friend, read it in a few days, then went and bought it at our local bookstore and made Jon read it. He read it in about 24 hours. It's about Dr. Paul Farmer, medical doctor and anthropologist, who practices at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, teaches at Harvard Medical School, and influences international health policies. But mostly he lives in Haiti, where's he's been providing basic medical services to the extremely poor and fighting drug-resistant tuberculosis and AIDS for about 20 years now. He's one of the most fascinating people I've read about for a long time.

Farmer's way of looking at poverty, medical care, and life in general is enlightening, to say the least. There were several times while reading when I probably should have made some notes about ideas of mine that were challenged, but I just wanted to keep reading. I'm planning to read it again in the near future, because I don't want to forget what I've learned. Or I want to make sure I really learned it.

It's inspiring to read about people who are so extreme. Crazy, even. Farmer knows what is most important to him; his life is totally dedicated to his ideal--getting competent medical care to the poor. He's amazing. This is a lame review. But it's a great book, and you should read it! And I am officially inviting Jon to write about it, too.

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