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Publisher's Summary

Douglas Braithwaite is an American aviator and managing director of an airline flying humanitarian aid from Kenya to war-ravaged Sudan. Quinette Hardin is an evangelical Christian from Iowa whose human rights group works to redeem slaves from Arab raiders. Fitzhugh Martin is a multiracial Kenyan seeking a calling that will rejuvenate his directionless life. These and other characters populate Philip Caputo's riveting novel that describes the classic confrontation between Westerners and the Third World, people who go forth with solid commitments to human rights but find themselves plunged into a kind of moral corruption for which they are ill prepared.

Braithwaite and Hardin are passionate idealists who deeply believe in their crusades, but their strengths are their weaknesses, and in the cauldron of modern Africa, circumstances conspire with their flaws to cause their sense of mission to curdle into self-righteous zealotry and greed, leading them to conspiracy and murder.

This is a novel with plenty of action, three strong romances, two of them interracial, and some wonderful characters: bush pilots, Sudanese warlords, an Englishwoman straight out of Out of Africa, and an ambitious CNN reporter. Caputo has a strong sense of his chosen territory, and the result is a novel that is gripping and thoughtful - a cautionary tale for Americans of the 21st century.

©2005 Philip Caputo (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Caputo may have set out to write an epic parable about the dangers of uncritical belief, but he ended up with, quite simply, a great story." ( The New Yorker)
"Devastating.... 'Acts of Faith' will be to the era of the Iraq war what Graham Greene’s novel 'The Quiet American' became to the Vietnam era.... Powerful." ( The New York Times)
"A miracle.... You can hardly conceive of a more affecting reading experience." ( The Houston Chronicle)

What listeners say about Acts of Faith

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Overlong and Dull

Any additional comments?

Those fans of Philip Caputo's Vietnam memoir, A Rumor of War, will not find the same taut prose and carefully chosen phrasing in this overlong effort. This book is self-indulgent in the way of a New Yorker magazine article--nothing is deemed too tangential to be included, so the plot suffers and the listener has to plow through hours of tedium to get to the interesting stuff. There are too many characters to keep straight and certain stories are simply not integrated into the overall story. A condensed version of this book would, oddly, have a better impact, although if you are interested in learning everything you could possibly know about the problems in the Sudan, this is the book for you. Caputo is a journalist, and this is more a report than a novel. As for the vocal performance, it was outstanding, so that's a plus.

1 person found this helpful

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interesting topic

I like long books, but this one was a slog to get through, mostly because the author generally didn't make things come to life with direct dialogue, the thinking of the characters etc. Much of it was told as a kind of narrative, distant from the characters. I will say, though, that the subject is fascinating and one I hadn't read about before, and I commend the author on choosing it. Also, the last 2 hours of the (29-hour) book are gripping.
I'm not going to be a spoiler, but it's very strange that at one point near the end it appears that a certain disaster is going to happen. Then it doesn't and there is no explanation of what intervened. That being said, the actual ending is more satisfying than the disaster would have been. The actual ending is very fitting.

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Interesting side of the situation in Sudan

Interesting characters and dialog.
Not sure why the title. Not a very spiritually insightful book, almost anti-faith or spiritual babies having an adventure in the heart of darkness. I was hoping for a Machine Gun Preacher type of victory of faith.
Overall it was an interesting story of the goings on of a war torn country trying to find itself.

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Acts of Faith

Any additional comments?

This story is an in-depth study of two basic areas. One, a deeply felt evangelical obsession to bring salvation to an African culture that has more pressing needs, like food. The locals are starving, war weary, and easy victims of the religious beliefs. Second, the relief workers are, in some ways, philanthropic in their righteous efforts to fulfill the medical and nutritional needs. However, they’re in it for the money. The cast of characters which includes bush pilots, missionaries, aid workers, etc, is prolific; you’ll have a hard time keeping track of them. Some are relevant to the plot, some are not.

Ticks, mosquitos, spiders … oh my.

The story is a documentary-fictional-drama, if there is such a thing. None the less, no happy ending. Educational, the persistent famine and constant struggle for life itself is startling, depressing, and unimaginable. A thirty hour audiobook, this is a long story, and I was compelled to fast forward through some sections. Took me a few chapters to get into the cadence of Stefan Rudnicki, the narrator. However, he ultimately does a passable job. If you have interest in the Sudan or Africaa culture in general, I’m sure you will find the story gripping.

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yawwwnnnn

Although there are interesting elements to this story, it is extremely difficult to listen to due to the VERY drone-happy narrator. Additionally, there is so much bouncing around between the characters, it's challenging to keep up with where you are in the story and with whom.

1 person found this helpful