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Acts of Faith

by

Acts of Faith Cover

ISBN13: 9780375725975
ISBN10: 0375725970
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Thirty years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Philip Caputo crossed the deserts of Sudan and Eritrea on foot and camelback, a journey that inspired his first novel, Horn of Africa, and awakened a lifelong fascination with Africa. His travels have since taken him back to Sudan, as well as to Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania, and from those experiences he has fashioned Acts of Faith, his most ambitious novel. A stunning and timely epic, it tells the stories of pilots, aid workers, missionaries, and renegades struggling to relieve the misery wrought by the civil war in Sudan.

The hearts of these men and women are in the right place, but as they plunge into a well of moral corruption for which they are ill-prepared, their hidden flaws conspire with circumstances to turn their strengths — bravery, compassion, daring, and empathy — into weaknesses. In pursuit of noble ends, they make ethical compromises; their altruism curdles into self-righteous zealotry and greed, entangling them in a web of conspiracies that leads, finally, to murder. A few, however, escape the moral trap and find redemption in the discovery that firm convictions can blind the best-intentioned man or woman to the difference between right and wrong.

Douglas Braithwaite, an American aviator who flies food and medicine to Sudan's ravaged south, is torn between his altruism and powerful personal ambitions. His partners are Fitzhugh Martin, a multiracial Kenyan who sees Sudan as a cause that can give purpose to his directionless life, and Wesley Dare, a hard-bitten bush pilot who is not as cynical as he thinks he is and sacrifices all for the woman he loves.

They are joined by two strong women: Quinette Hardin, an evangelical Christian from Iowa who liberates slaves captured by Arab raiders and who falls in love with a Sudanese rebel; and Diana Briggs, the daughter of a family with colonial roots in Africa, who believes that her love for her adopted continent might be enough to save it.

Pitted against them is Ibrahim Idris ibn Nur-el-Din, a fierce Arab warlord whose obsessive quest for an escaped concubine undermines his faith in the holy war he is waging against Sudan's southern blacks.

In a harsh yet alluring landscape, these and other vividly realized characters act out a drama of modern-day Africa. Grounded in the reality of today's headlines, Acts of Faith is a captivating novel of human complexity that combines seriousness with all the seductive pleasure of a masterly thriller.

Review:

"Caputo's ambitious adventure novel, set against a backdrop of the Sudanese wars, makes for a dense, riveting update on Graham Greene's The Quiet American. The American in this case is Douglas Braithwaite, a 'mercenary with a conscience' who founds Knight Air, a charter airline that conveys relief supplies from NGOs to war-torn southern Sudan. Braithwaite launches his service by flying aid to the Nuba, a region in the northern Sudanese sphere of influence that is a no-go zone for U.N.-sponsored airlines. He hires Fitzhugh Martin, a former soccer star and mixed-race Kenyan from the Seychelles Islands, as his operations manager, and soon teams up with Texan bush pilot Wes Dare as well as a shady Somali financier. From Fitzhugh's perspective, we see corruption ensue from Douglas's decision to expand his air service — crushing his competitor, Tara Whitcomb, in the process — and to smuggle arms to Michael Goraende, the Nuban militia head. Douglas's support for the Nuban commander also brings Quinette Hardin, a Christian aid worker from Iowa who marries Goreande, into Knight Air's orbit. Caputo presents a sharply observed, sweeping portrait, capturing the incestuous world of the aid groups, Sudan's multiethnic mix and the decayed milieu of Kenyan society. Though this long atmospheric novel offers a very slow build and doesn't always avoid formula, the understated climax that leads to Knight Air's demise is powerful in its impact. Agent, Aaron Priest. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In Acts of Faith Philip Caputo has fashioned a gripping cast of characters and placed them in a spellbinding story. You can't get any better than that." Winston Groom

Review:

"Philip Caputo, from Vietnam onwards, has understood the hardest truths of the modern world better than almost anybody. Acts of Faith is a stunningly unflinching novel. On the surface it is set in Africa, but in fact its true landscape is the ravaged soul of the twenty-first century. Philip Caputo is one of the few absolutely essential writers at work today." Robert Olen Butler

Review:

"This is a big novel, old fashioned in the best way, full of intrigue and a large cast of sharply drawn characters. And with a Sudan cease-fire recently in the news, it couldn't be timelier." Booklist

Review:

"Acts of Faith offers an image of Africa deserving comparison with Conrad, Hemingway, Peter Matthiessen, and Jan de Hartog's forgotten near-masterpiece The Spiral Road." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"Caputo's devastating new novel...will be to the era of the Iraq war what Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American became to the Vietnam era." Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times

Review:

"Philip Caputo's Sudan is a place drawn so real, dust and despair fall from the pages....So beautiful, so awful, so authentic, so wonderful, so hopeless, it grieves the heart." The Miami Herald

Review:

"Destined to be a generation-defining book." St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Review:

"A miracle....You can hardly conceive of a more affecting reading experience." Houston Chronicle

Review:

"Philip Caputo is a splendid, muscular story teller who possesses the crucial power to make endearing ordinary men from diverse fragilities and stubborness." Gloria Emerson, Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Caputo lets no one and nothing off the hook." Richard Bausch, Washington Post Book World

Synopsis:

From the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, author of the highly praised novels The Voyage and Horn of Africa — a stunning, timely new novel about the physical perils and moral crises faced by a group of men and women who try to relieve the suffering caused by war and famine in contemporary Sudan.

Douglas Braithwaite, an American aviator who flies medicine and food from Kenya to Sudan's ravaged south, feels himself beginning to take sides in the conflict. Flying with him: Wesley Dare, a hard-bitten bush pilot who sacrifices all for the woman he loves; Fitzhugh Martin, a multiracial Kenyan who sees Sudan as a cause with which he can rejuvenate his directionless life; Quinette Hardin, an evangelical Christian from Iowa working to buy slaves back from the Arab raiders, who falls in love with a Sudanese rebel; Diana Briggs, a daughter of a family with colonial roots in Africa, who believes that her love for her adopted continent might be enough to save it.

These and the other vividly realized characters who populate the blasted landscape of this riveting novel are unwitting combatants in the classic confrontation between Westerners and the third world. As they plunge into a well of moral corruption for which they are ill prepared, we see how their hidden flaws conspire with circumstances to turn their strengths — bravery, compassion, daring, empathy — into weakness, their altruism curdling into self-righteous zealotry and greed, leading them to conspiracy, and, finally, to murder. Grounded in the hard reality of today's headlines, Acts of Faith is a galvanizing novel.

Synopsis:

Philip Caputo's tragic and epically ambitious new novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. There's the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who can't help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander.

As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens, it becomes apparent that Acts of Faith is one of those rare novels that combine high moral seriousness with irresistible narrative wizardry.

Synopsis:

Philip Caputos tragic and epically ambitious new novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. Theres the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who cant help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander.

As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens, it becomes apparent that Acts of Faith is one of those rare novels that combine high moral seriousness with irresistible narrative wizardry.   

About the Author

Philip Caputo worked nine years for the Chicago Tribune and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his reporting on election fraud in Chicago. He is the author of six other works of fiction and two memoirs, including A Rumor of War, about his service in Vietnam. He divides his time between Connecticut and Arizona.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Brenda Harrison, June 21, 2007 (view all comments by Brenda Harrison)
Philip Caputo is a masterful author. He takes you through a complicated story and makes you a part of it. He does not disappoint. The story evolves and the ending is done with thoughtful attention to detail. I'm tired of reading books only to have it fall apart at the end and Caputo in " Acts of Faith" took care of his reader.

I consider this book as one of the 10 best that I have ever read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375725975
Author:
Caputo, Philip
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Subject:
General
Subject:
Violence
Subject:
Americans
Subject:
War & Military
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Conspiracies
Subject:
War
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;sudan;africa;novel;war;human rights;literature;missionaries
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
20060531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
688
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 1.4 in 1.315 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Military
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Acts of Faith Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 688 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375725975 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Caputo's ambitious adventure novel, set against a backdrop of the Sudanese wars, makes for a dense, riveting update on Graham Greene's The Quiet American. The American in this case is Douglas Braithwaite, a 'mercenary with a conscience' who founds Knight Air, a charter airline that conveys relief supplies from NGOs to war-torn southern Sudan. Braithwaite launches his service by flying aid to the Nuba, a region in the northern Sudanese sphere of influence that is a no-go zone for U.N.-sponsored airlines. He hires Fitzhugh Martin, a former soccer star and mixed-race Kenyan from the Seychelles Islands, as his operations manager, and soon teams up with Texan bush pilot Wes Dare as well as a shady Somali financier. From Fitzhugh's perspective, we see corruption ensue from Douglas's decision to expand his air service — crushing his competitor, Tara Whitcomb, in the process — and to smuggle arms to Michael Goraende, the Nuban militia head. Douglas's support for the Nuban commander also brings Quinette Hardin, a Christian aid worker from Iowa who marries Goreande, into Knight Air's orbit. Caputo presents a sharply observed, sweeping portrait, capturing the incestuous world of the aid groups, Sudan's multiethnic mix and the decayed milieu of Kenyan society. Though this long atmospheric novel offers a very slow build and doesn't always avoid formula, the understated climax that leads to Knight Air's demise is powerful in its impact. Agent, Aaron Priest. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "In Acts of Faith Philip Caputo has fashioned a gripping cast of characters and placed them in a spellbinding story. You can't get any better than that."
"Review" by , "Philip Caputo, from Vietnam onwards, has understood the hardest truths of the modern world better than almost anybody. Acts of Faith is a stunningly unflinching novel. On the surface it is set in Africa, but in fact its true landscape is the ravaged soul of the twenty-first century. Philip Caputo is one of the few absolutely essential writers at work today."
"Review" by , "This is a big novel, old fashioned in the best way, full of intrigue and a large cast of sharply drawn characters. And with a Sudan cease-fire recently in the news, it couldn't be timelier."
"Review" by , "Acts of Faith offers an image of Africa deserving comparison with Conrad, Hemingway, Peter Matthiessen, and Jan de Hartog's forgotten near-masterpiece The Spiral Road."
"Review" by , "Caputo's devastating new novel...will be to the era of the Iraq war what Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American became to the Vietnam era."
"Review" by , "Philip Caputo's Sudan is a place drawn so real, dust and despair fall from the pages....So beautiful, so awful, so authentic, so wonderful, so hopeless, it grieves the heart."
"Review" by , "Destined to be a generation-defining book."
"Review" by , "A miracle....You can hardly conceive of a more affecting reading experience."
"Review" by , "Philip Caputo is a splendid, muscular story teller who possesses the crucial power to make endearing ordinary men from diverse fragilities and stubborness."
"Review" by , "Caputo lets no one and nothing off the hook."
"Synopsis" by , From the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, author of the highly praised novels The Voyage and Horn of Africa — a stunning, timely new novel about the physical perils and moral crises faced by a group of men and women who try to relieve the suffering caused by war and famine in contemporary Sudan.

Douglas Braithwaite, an American aviator who flies medicine and food from Kenya to Sudan's ravaged south, feels himself beginning to take sides in the conflict. Flying with him: Wesley Dare, a hard-bitten bush pilot who sacrifices all for the woman he loves; Fitzhugh Martin, a multiracial Kenyan who sees Sudan as a cause with which he can rejuvenate his directionless life; Quinette Hardin, an evangelical Christian from Iowa working to buy slaves back from the Arab raiders, who falls in love with a Sudanese rebel; Diana Briggs, a daughter of a family with colonial roots in Africa, who believes that her love for her adopted continent might be enough to save it.

These and the other vividly realized characters who populate the blasted landscape of this riveting novel are unwitting combatants in the classic confrontation between Westerners and the third world. As they plunge into a well of moral corruption for which they are ill prepared, we see how their hidden flaws conspire with circumstances to turn their strengths — bravery, compassion, daring, empathy — into weakness, their altruism curdling into self-righteous zealotry and greed, leading them to conspiracy, and, finally, to murder. Grounded in the hard reality of today's headlines, Acts of Faith is a galvanizing novel.

"Synopsis" by , Philip Caputo's tragic and epically ambitious new novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. There's the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who can't help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander.

As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens, it becomes apparent that Acts of Faith is one of those rare novels that combine high moral seriousness with irresistible narrative wizardry.

"Synopsis" by , Philip Caputos tragic and epically ambitious new novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. Theres the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who cant help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander.

As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens, it becomes apparent that Acts of Faith is one of those rare novels that combine high moral seriousness with irresistible narrative wizardry.   

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