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

( 4 )

Overview

Tracy Kidder's critically acclaimed adult nonfiction work, Mountains Beyond Mountains has been adapted for young people by Michael French. In this young adult edition, readers are introduced to Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard-educated doctor with a self-proclaimed mission to transform healthcare on a global scale. Farmer focuses his attention on some of the world's most impoverished people and uses unconventional ways in which to provide healthcare, to achieve real results and save ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$15.29
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$16.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (28) from $1.99   
  • New (14) from $7.89   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   
Mountains Beyond Mountains (Adapted for Young People): The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$8.99
BN.com price
Note: Visit our Teens Store.

Overview

Tracy Kidder's critically acclaimed adult nonfiction work, Mountains Beyond Mountains has been adapted for young people by Michael French. In this young adult edition, readers are introduced to Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard-educated doctor with a self-proclaimed mission to transform healthcare on a global scale. Farmer focuses his attention on some of the world's most impoverished people and uses unconventional ways in which to provide healthcare, to achieve real results and save lives.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An important story that feels like it breathes a dose of virtuous oxygen right into readers' heads."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
"Accessible and fascinating. It's focus on Farmer the humanitarian provides a much-needed education in empathy."—Booklist
 
"A thoughtful examination of a complex man operating in a complex world."—The Horn Book
Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
The story of Dr. Paul Farmer is one marked by courage, perseverance, and dedication. As a young medical student, and later a noted physician, Dr. Farmer felt compelled to provide treatment and support to people living in poverty. Dr. Farmer's was particularly focused on the people of Haiti, one of the most desperately poor countries in the world. On this impoverished island, he found a society dogged by cruelty, want, and pain. Dr. Farmer quickly learned that diseases that would be relatively easy to cure in the United States spun out of control there. Major illnesses such as TB and AIDS had reached epidemic proportions in Haiti, and Dr. Farmer felt no one was concerned about the human costs. In the face of such neglect and suffering, Paul Farmer responded not only by providing direct medical assistance but also by raising funds to establish functioning rural clinics. This approach was not without risk; on several occasions, Dr. Farmer's name was added to proscription lists crafted by the military dictators who ruled the land. In telling this story, Tracy Kidder offers readers not only a chronicle of Dr. Farmer's work but also inspiration in the face of the flood of misery that can be seen on the news. Paul Farmer has shown that people can commit themselves to their fellow human beings and actually make things better. This powerful message is retold in a highly effective way in this fine book. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
VOYA - Amanda Fensch
This story of Dr. Paul Farmer, medical scientist and infectious disease expert, begins with Kidder's recounting how he met Farmer in Haiti by accident. This "undeniably confident" man who looked like nothing very special would dramatically alter the way politicians, scientists, and world leaders thought about infectious diseases in Haiti and other countries. Farmer's unusual childhood, which found he and his family living in the strangest of places (including a boat), helped to shape the doctor into a fearless champion of the poor and ill. Farmer's story takes him from the U.S. to Haiti to Russia and many places in between, fighting for equality in health care and proving that one person can, in fact, change the world. Kidder's breathtaking story about Farmer's strength, resilience, and nearly indomitable will has been adapted in this novel for a young adult audience. The original work by the same title is quite a bit more wordy and involved, but this book's adaptation does not reduce or besmirch Farmer's story in any way. If nothing else, French's adaptation makes the tale of Dr. Paul Farmer accessible for a younger audience—more to the point, but with enough detail to keep readers interested. There are so few good nonfiction titles for teens that this book has earned a place on almost any library's shelves. Reviewer: Amanda Fensch
Kirkus Reviews
The story of a doctor's quest to heal the sick in a poor Haitian community and beyond. Dr. Paul Farmer is one of those characters the world could use a few more of, which is why it is great to have this book to put in as many young hands as possible. He saw something his conscience simply could not abide--the medical neglect of poor people--and then went and did something about it, setting up a clinic to serve the medical needs of an impoverished Haitian neighborhood. But he is everywhere else as well, from Peru to Russia, a powerhouse for medical good. He has a wonderful way of screwing down on some of the worst behaviors of humanity--how we habituate ourselves to the misery of others, the absurd self-regard of the medical profession--while (mostly) not coming across as churlish or self-righteous. French has done a fine job of adapting Kidder's book for young readers, almost invisibly tinkering with the original storytelling while not dodging any of Farmer's obsessive characteristics or forceful arguments. The power of the story, of the need to just get things done since there are always resources to tap if the cause is just, pours forth as Kidder intended. An important story that feels like it breathes a dose of virtuous oxygen right into readers' heads. (Nonfiction. 12-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—An adaptation of the 2003 adult book with the same title. It is an admiring biography constructed from long stretches of personal experience with Farmer, international health specialist and infectious disease expert, whose focus was always the Haitian poor. Farmer has spent his life taking modern medicine (as well as schools, houses, sanitation, and water systems) to a poverty-stricken area of Haiti and to underdogs around the world. Lending "a voice to the voiceless," and working as a clinician as well as an organizer, he developed Partners in Health, funded first by a Boston philanthropist and later by the Gates Foundation and now internationally active. While French's adaptation follows the same sequencing, his compression removes much of the detail that made the original so readable and interesting. Omissions make episodes difficult to understand and, at least in one case, a description of one character is applied to another. Still, books showing how one person can make a difference are always welcome in young adult literature and this one will be appreciated where the young readers' edition of Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin's Three Cups of Tea (Dial, 2009) has been popular. But for the full flavor of the man's life and his impact on the author, older readers should seek out the original.—Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385743181
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/9/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 693,198
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 1120L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Tracy Kidder

TRACY KIDDER graduated from Harvard University and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of My Detachment, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine.

MICHAEL FRENCH has published twenty books, including fiction for adults and young adults, biographies, and art criticism. He has adapted many acclaimed adult works for young people. Michael French divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Six years after the fact, Dr. Paul Edward Farmer reminded me, “We met because of a beheading, of all things.”

It was two weeks before Christmas 1994, in a market town in the central plateau of Haiti, a patch of paved road called Mirebalais. Near the center of town there was a Haitian army outpost–a concrete wall enclosing a weedy parade field, a jail, and a mustard-colored barracks. I was sitting with an American Special Forces captain, named Jon Carroll, on the building’s second-story balcony. Evening was coming on, the town’s best hour, when the air changed from hot to balmy and the music from the radios in the rum shops and the horns of the tap-taps passing through town grew loud and bright and the general filth and poverty began to be obscured, the open sewers and the ragged clothing and the looks on the faces of malnourished children and the extended hands of elderly beggars plaintively saying, “Grangou,” which means “hungry” in Creole.

I was in Haiti to report on American soldiers. Twenty thousand of them had been sent to reinstate the country’s democratically elected government, and to strip away power from the military junta that had deposed it and ruled with great cruelty for three years. Captain Carroll had only eight men, and they were temporarily in charge of keeping the peace among 150,000 Haitians, spread across about one thousand square miles of rural Haiti. A seemingly impossible job, and yet, out here in the central plateau, political violence had all but ended. In the past month, there had been only one murder. Then again, it had been spectacularly grisly. A few weeks back, Captain Carroll’s men had fished the headless corpse of the assistant mayor of Mirebalais out of the Artibonite River. He was one of the elected officials being restored to power. Suspicion for his murder had fallen on one of the junta’s local functionaries, a rural sheriff named Nerva Juste, a frightening figure to most people in the region. Captain Carroll and his men had brought Juste in for questioning, but they hadn’t found any physical evidence or witnesses. So they had released him.

The captain was twenty-nine years old, a devout Baptist from Alabama. I liked him. From what I’d seen, he and his men had been trying earnestly to make improvements in this piece of Haiti, but Washington, which had decreed that this mission would not include “nation-building,” had given them virtually no tools for that job. On one occasion, the captain had ordered a U.S. Army medevac flight for a pregnant Haitian woman in distress, and his commanders had reprimanded him for his pains. Up on the balcony of the barracks now, Captain Carroll was fuming about his latest frustration when someone said there was an American out at the gate who wanted to see him.

There were five visitors actually, four of them Haitians. They stood in the gathering shadows in front of the barracks, while their American friend came forward. He told Captain Carroll that his name was Paul Farmer, that he was a doctor, and that he worked in a hospital here, some miles north of Mirebalais.

I remember thinking that Captain Carroll and Dr. Farmer made a mismatched pair, and that Farmer suffered in the comparison. The captain stood about six foot two, tanned and muscular. As usual, a wad of snuff enlarged his lower lip. Now and then he turned his head aside and spat. Farmer was about the same age but much more delicate-looking. He had short black hair and a high waist and long thin arms, and his nose came almost to a point. Next to the soldier, he looked skinny and pale, and for all of that he struck me as bold, indeed downright cocky.

He asked the captain if his team had any medical problems. The captain said they had some sick prisoners whom the local hospital had refused to treat. “I ended up buyin’ the medicine myself.”

Farmer flashed a smile. “You’ll spend less time in Purgatory.” Then he asked, “Who cut off the head of the assistant mayor?”

“I don’t know for sure,” said the captain.

“It’s very hard to live in Haiti and not know who cut off someone’s head,” said Farmer.

A circuitous argument followed. Farmer made it plain he didn’t like the American government’s plan for fixing Haiti’s economy, a plan that would aid business interests but do nothing, in his view, to relieve the suffering of the average Haitian. He clearly believed that the United States had helped to foster the coup–for one thing, by having trained a high official of the junta at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas. Two clear sides existed in Haiti, Farmer said–the forces of repression and the Haitian poor, the vast majority. Farmer was on the side of the poor. But, he told the captain, “it still seems fuzzy which side the American soldiers are on.” Locally, part of the fuzziness came from the fact that the captain had released the hated Nerva Juste.

I sensed that Farmer knew Haiti far better than the captain, and that he was trying to impart some important information. The people in this region were losing confidence in the captain, Farmer seemed to be saying, and this was a serious matter, obviously, for a team of nine soldiers trying to govern 150,000 people.

But the warning wasn’t entirely plain, and the captain got a little riled up at Farmer’s denunciation of the School of the Americas. As for Nerva Juste, he said, “Look, that guy is a bad guy. When I do have him and the evidence, I’ll slam him.” He slapped a fist into his hand. “But I’m not gonna stoop to the level of these guys and make summary arrests.”

Farmer replied, in effect, that it made no sense for the captain to apply principles of constitutional law in a country that at the moment had no functioning legal system. Juste was a menace and should be locked up.

So they reached a strange impasse. The captain, who described himself as “a redneck,” arguing for due process, and Farmer, who clearly considered himself a champion of human rights, arguing for preventive detention. Eventually, the captain said, “You’d be surprised how many decisions about what I can do here get made in Washington.”

And Farmer said, “I understand you’re constrained. Sorry if I’ve been haranguing.”

It had grown dark. The two men stood in a square of light from the open barracks door. They shook hands. As the young doctor disappeared into the shadows, I heard him speaking Creole to his Haitian friends.

I stayed with the soldiers for several weeks. I didn’t think much about Farmer. In spite of his closing words, I didn’t think he understood or cared to sympathize with the captain’s problems.

Then by chance I ran into him again, on my way home, on the plane to Miami. He was sitting in first-class. He explained that the flight attendants put him there because he often flew this route and on occasion dealt with medical emergencies on board. The attendants let me sit with him for a while. I had dozens of questions about Haiti, including one about the assistant mayor’s murder. The soldiers thought that Voodoo beliefs conferred a special, weird terror on decapitation. “Does cutting off the victim’s head have some basis in the history of Voodoo?” I asked.

“It has some basis in the history of brutality,” Farmer answered. He frowned, and then he touched my arm, as if to say that we all ask stupid questions sometimes.

I found out more about him. For one thing, he didn’t dislike soldiers. “I grew up in a trailer park, and I know which economic class joins the American military.” He told me, speaking of Captain Carroll, “You meet these twenty-nine-year-old soldiers, and you realize, Come on, they’re not the ones making the bad policies.” He confirmed my impression, that he’d visited the captain to warn him. Many of Farmer’s patients and Haitian friends had complained about the release of Nerva Juste, saying it proved the Americans hadn’t really come to help them. Farmer told me he was driving through Mireba- lais and his Haitian friends were teasing him, saying he didn’t dare stop and talk to the American soldiers about the murder case, and then the truck got a flat tire right outside the army compound, and he said to his friends, “Aha, you have to listen to messages from angels.”

I got Farmer to tell me a little about his life. He was thirty-five. He had graduated from Harvard Medical School and also had a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard. He worked in Boston four months of the year, living in a church rectory in a slum. The rest of the year he worked without pay in Haiti, mainly doctoring peasants who had lost their land to a hydroelectric dam. He had been expelled from Haiti during the time of the junta but had sneaked back to his hospital. “After the payment,” he said, “of an insultingly small bribe.”

I looked for him after the plane landed. We talked some more in a coffee shop, and I nearly missed my connecting flight. A few weeks later, I took him to dinner in Boston, hoping he could help make sense of what I was trying to write about Haiti, which he seemed glad to do. He clarified some of the history for me but left me wondering about him. He had described himself as “a poor people’s doctor,” but he didn’t quite fit my preconception of such a person. He clearly liked the fancy restaurant, the heavy cloth napkins, the good bottle of wine. What struck me that evening was how happy he seemed with his life. Obviously, a young man with his advantages could have been doing good works as a doctor while commuting between Boston and a pleasant suburb–not between a room in what I imagined must be a grubby church rectory and the wasteland of central Haiti. The way he talked, it seemed he actually enjoyed living among Haitian peasant farmers. At one point, speaking about medicine, he said, “I don’t know why everybody isn’t excited by it.” He smiled at me, and his face turned bright, not red so much as glowing, a luminescent smile. It affected me quite strongly, like a welcome gladly given, one you didn’t have to earn.

But after our dinner I drifted out of touch with him, mainly, I now think, because he also disturbed me. Writing my article about Haiti, I came to share the pessimism of the soldiers I’d stayed with. “I think we should have left Haiti to itself,” one of Captain Carroll’s men had said to me. “Does it really matter who’s in power? They’re still gonna have the rich and the poor and no one in between. I don’t know what we hope to accomplish. We’re still going to have a shitload of Haitians in boats wanting to go to America. But, I guess it’s best not even to try and figure it out.” The soldiers had come to Haiti and lifted a terror and restored a government, and then they’d left and the country was just about as poor and broken-down as when they had arrived. They had done their best, I thought. They were worldly and tough. They wouldn’t cry about things beyond their control.

I felt as though, in Farmer, I’d been offered another way of thinking about a place like Haiti. But his way would be hard to share, because it implied such an extreme definition of a term like “doing one’s best.”

The world is full of miserable places. One way of living comfortably is not to think about them or, when you do, to send money. Over the next five years, I mailed some small sums to the charity that supported Farmer’s hospital in Haiti. He sent back handwritten thank-you notes on each occasion. Once, from a friend of a friend, I heard he was doing something notable in international health, something to do with tuberculosis. I didn’t look into the details, though, and I didn’t see him again until near the end of 1999. I was the one who made the appointment. He named the place.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    I read this book during my first trip to Haiti and it was a grea

    I read this book during my first trip to Haiti and it was a great companion to a life-changing experience. It's very interesting and I learned a lot about the Haitian culture and medicine. I'm confused as to why this is listed as a book for teens--if I remember correctly there's some language, and it's definitely not just for youth (if it is for youth at all). Inspiring and challenging, I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in Haiti or medicine in developing nations.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The original was published in 2004 is an excellent book about an

    The original was published in 2004 is an excellent book about an amazing humanitarian. This is an ADAPTION of the original for younger readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 13, 2013

    very informative

    I enjoyed this book mostly because it told me so many things about Haiti that I never knew. It added greatly to my knowledge of a part of the world that in all likelihood I will never get to visit.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent

    Wonderful heroic story of a man's attempts to help the people of Haiti.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)