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

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World - Tracy Kidder With a 4 star rating you know that I liked this book very much. In my head however there's a bit of tumult with regard to it.

First, the author does an impressive job concentrating years of research into such a cohesive text. Taking such a complex character as Dr. Farmer and managing to neither demonize nor idealize him; either of these extremes I believe are possible with a man such as that. The birth and staggering growth of Partners in Health are also characterized with aplomb. Though I did find the story becoming bogged down with too much politics about two thirds of the way in but that didn't last too long.

Second, Dr. Farmer as perceived by Kidder is a difficult man to like; easy to love or loathe but not like. On the surface, his attitudes that a human life has no place in a cost-benefit analysis and that the poor, the old, and the imprisoned (aka the shafted) are to be treated exactly the same as those that are not are to be lauded. But reading about the way these attitudes manifest in his actions and interactions brings out occasional revulsion and repulsion.

In the end Kidder states, quite rightly (and sadly) I believe, that Partners in Health won't survive Dr.Farmer. His genius and incomparable drive are the life force of that organization and it simply won't be the same without it.

This was not a simple read and I found my attitudes on some issues challenged, I went from admiring Dr.Farmer to being frustrated by him to wanting to smack him upside his head and then back to admiring him, I grew angry with politicians and found myself admiring priests (a rarity for me). All that said don't doubt that this book was worth the effort because it was.