Friday, March 23, 2007

Mountains Beyond Mountains

Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains is a book so beautifully written, so gripping, and so informative that this hypochondriac was able to read an entire book about drug resistant TB without having a panic attack. Dr. Paul Farmer is one of those people who does so much good in the world its hard to believe he's real. As a young man he traveled to Haiti, fell in love wth the country and devoted himself to becoming a doctor and helping the people there. He became one of the founders of Partners in Health, and spends half of his time in Boston, raising money and teaching, and the other half in Haiti, practicing medicine and working to improve the heath care system there. In his spare time (ha) he tries to assist Russia, Cuba and other countries with health care problems and writes books about Haiti and medicine. I learned so much from this book, about Haiti and about international health, particularly TB, HIV and how the two intertwine. Because of Kidder's masterfully touch in portraying three demensional people, Farmer seems human and real, and the book doesn't seek to judge the reader for not following Farmer's example, even though maybe it should. Kidder also wrote Old Friends and Among Schoolchildren, two other non-fiction books I loved, along with several others I haven't read yet.

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