A review of Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, by Tracy Kidder
@@@@@ (5 out of 5)
Pulitzer- and National Book Award-winning author Tracy Kidder has been writing exceptional nonfiction since the 1970s. In that time, to judge from his books, he has encountered many extraordinary people. Clearly, though, Kidder had never before come across an individual as brilliant, complex, and eccentric as Dr. Paul Farmer, his subject in this book.
Farmer is often publicly described as a secular saint for his selfless work bringing world-class healthcare to the interior of Haiti, the slums of Lima and Boston, the prisons and towns of Siberia, and many other challenging environments around the world. He has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he wins it one of these days.
Farmer’s accomplishments defy summarizing. Kidder, true to form, doesn’t even try. Instead, he paints an in-depth portrait of Paul Farmer, the individual, in all his boundless complexity. Farmer is, at one and the same time, a brilliant diagnostician, an unusually caring physician, an innovative public health administrator, a consummate leader who inspires thousands to walk in his footsteps — and, in his personal habits, as eccentric as they come. In short, Mountains Beyond Mountains is a case study in genius. It’s an exceptional portrait of one of today’s most exceptional people.