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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Kidder introduces us to a remarkable man who tackles some of the world's most frightening medical and social problems through principled actions. Harvard Medical School graduate and MacArthur "genius" fellow Paul Farmer spent much of his med school years in Haiti, where he created a health care system and clinic in one of the most grindingly poor places in the world. Owning only one suit and living part of each year in a house without hot water, he travels widely and takes a global approach to the interaction between politics, wealth, social problems, and disease. Farmer makes a difference quietly, using his intellectual gifts and his charisma to further his philosophy that "the only real nation is humanity."
© 2003 Tracy Kidder; (P) 2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Many readers have come to expect that anything authored by Kidder...will be of high merit." (Library Journal)
"[This book] is inspiring, disturbing, daring, and completely absorbing." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A gifted storyteller, Mr. Kidder is able to explain the web of circumstances that contribute to the wretched conditions of the world's poor." (The New York Times)
"Paul Michael captures the book's mix of intensity and elaboration beautifully....Just the right amount of edge-of-your-seat passion....A very good rendition of an important book." (AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Overall

A Great Book

I wish that I could rate this book twice. The first half of the book describes Dr. Farmer's childhood, the life choices he made and the strongly held beliefs that have guided him in his service to the poor. This first half gets 5 out of 5 stars.
The second half is a current view of Dr. Farmer's day to day schedule. The writer follows Dr. Farmer as he travels between clinics in Central America, Peru, Russia and elswhere while engaging the Doctor in philosophical arguments about healthcare funding and politics. This second half gets 4 out of 5 stars.

48 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Philip
  • Milwaukee, WI, USA
  • 12-03-03

Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder

Since becoming a member of Audible over a year and a half ago, I can say without reservation that this is the best, most compelling, and most inspiring book I've read. The narration is stellar, a must for my Audible choices. But the story itself draws you in, and you can't stop reading as you follow the humble beginnings of Partners in Health, its unique founder, Dr. Paul Farmer, and the impact a small group of highly-movtivated and committed individuals has made on world health. There are many miles to go yet in the journey of Partners in Health. By reading this book, you will want to join them.

44 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Subject

I wish that John McPhee had written this book, but I guess I am being greedy. At 72 I suppose McPhee could not have kept up with Paul Farmer well enough to do him justice. This stunning account of Dr. Farmers' work with the worlds sick and poor(the two seem to be synonymous) moved me more deeply than I could have imagined. Be prepared to sell your house and car and move to Central America.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Thomas
  • Ibaraki-shi, N/A, Japan
  • 10-24-03

Great book about an inspiring man

The subject of this book, Dr. Paul Farmer and his work with the poor in Haiti (and other places), are interesting, moving, and enlightening. The writer does a good job of asking the hard questions that the reader wants to have asked, while maintaining a basically sympathetic approach. The narration is very well done-you forget you're listening to a professional voice actor. You only hear the author, an old Haitian woman, or a Russian doctor. You'll learn some things from this book. Can one person make a difference? Read this one and find out.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Molly
  • Laporte, MN, USA
  • 07-09-04

Inspiring, captivating

I flew throught his book. Not only was it educational and thought-provoking, it was wonderful story of a ture role model in world health reform. As a doctor, it inspired me to think more globally and to listen intently to my patients and their families.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jana
  • Richmond, CA, United States
  • 11-10-03

A quirky genius saint

I loved the book, including the narration. I've long enjoyed Tracy Kidder's work and this is every bit as good as his others. Along with the important, dramatic, amazing story of Dr. Farmer's work and life, I especially enjoyed the way Mr. Kidder captures Dr. Farmer's inventive use of words and his quirky shorthand language and acronyms. I was sorry when the book ended but grateful for the way it cut through my cynicism about what one person can do.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • Jacksonville, AL, USA
  • 08-10-04


One of the most inspirational and informative books I have ever read. The audio production is sympathetic to the material and never gets in the way of the message.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • Fairbanks, AK, United States
  • 07-24-09

The Power of One Person to change the world

Reminds me of Bobby Kennedy's statement which I believe is: "Some see things as they are and wonder why. I see things that never were and wonder why not?" Paul Farmer seems to follow that in his daily life--he is a saint! He could be a wealthy Boston doctor, but instead chooses to spend his time fighting poverty and abysmal health care in Haiti and around the world. His story is fascinating, his impact immeasurable. Very inspiring tale, along the lines of Three Cups of Tea. A must for your audio bookshelf.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

World-wide Altruism

A physician forsakes wealth, fame and love to do what he feels is right: bring medicine to the poorest of the poor. This is an amazing story of true altruism. This is the story of Dr. Farmer, a physician trained at Harvard, who spends every free moment while at school to treat people that could live if they only had a doctor or some medicine. His thought is always of what can he do to save lives and mitigate suffering - and to hell with cost effectiveness. Farmer sees his patients as individuals. He treats their bodies and their spirits. He sees a problem and continues to work to solve it, despite the problems. This book had me continually questioning whether what I am doing is the right thing, or whether I should be working with Dr. Farmer to alleviate tuberculosis in Haiti or HIV in Peru. This is an amazing book about not only the actions, but also about the thoughts of a true humanitarian.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

We need more people like Dr. Farmer

This story about Dr. Farmer is amazing. He is the most unselfish person we will probably ever know, giving 100% of himself 100% of the time. The conditions in Haiti made me cry but Dr. Farmer's commitment to making a difference is inspiring and uplifitng.
Reading this book will change how you think about what you are doing with your life. It made me wonder why we spend so much money on things we really don't need, things that don't really make us better people or help others in any meaningful way. It can't help but make you examine your life in a different perspective.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful