Mountains Beyond Mountains Book Review

Book: Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World

Release date: August 31, 2004
 Pages: 333
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Source: Borrowed Library Book on Kindle (E-book Version)

Summary: At  the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer—brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti—blasts through convention to get results.

Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity” – a philosophy that is embodied in the small public charity he founded, Partners In Health. He enlists the help of the Gates Foundation, George Soros, the U.N.’s World Health Organization, and others in his quest to cure the world. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”: as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.


 My Thoughts: This book I had to read for a class I’m taking next year, Advanced Molecular Biology, and it’s nonfiction, so of course I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it too much. However, that wasn’t entirely the case. The way Tracy Kidder informs readers about the different places around the world suffering from diseases, as well as people he meets along the way keeps you hooked, because it’s told in more of a story format. I think that’s the part that made it enjoyable to read. This book also opened my eyes to different perspectives and things happening in the world around, outside of the place we live and feel comfortable. I think it even increased my interest in the study of medicine and further stabilized my hope of becoming a doctor in the future. For a book I had a feeling I wouldn’t like, I was surprised in a good way. Some things I didn’t enjoy was just the genre of nonfiction itself. Even though there were mini “plots” per say, it’s not a fiction book, and that’s the genre I prefer and feel comfortable reading. It took me a little while to get into it. There were some words that I wasn’t sure of, like medical terms, but for the most part, I liked the writing style. It wasn’t too difficult to read. All in all, this is a book I might read again, but not a for sure reread. I am glad I had the chance to read it though. I gave this book a 3 out of 5 on Goodreads.
Writing: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Plot: 7/10
Ending: 7/10
Originality: 7/10
Overall: 39/50
Cover: 6/10

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