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

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

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. Paul Farmer finds ways of connecting with people whose backgrounds are vastly different from his own. How does he do this? Are his methods something to which we can all aspire?

2. Paul Farmer believes that “if you’re making sacrifices . . . you’re trying to lessen some psychic discomfort” (p. 24). Do you agree with the way that Farmer makes personal sacrifices? For what kinds of things do you make sacrifices, and when do you expect others to make them?

3. Kidder points out that Farmer is dissatisfied with the current distribution of money and medicine in the world.What is your opinion of the distribution of these forms of wealth? What would you change, if you could?

4. Farmer designed a study to find out whether there was a correlation between his Haitian patients’ belief in sorcery as the cause of tb and their recovery from that disease through medical treatment.What did he discover about the relative importance of cultural beliefs among his impoverished patients and their material circumstances? Do you think that this discovery might have broad application–for instance, to situations in the United States?

5. The title of the book comes from the Haitian proverb,“Beyond mountains there are mountains.” What does the saying mean in the context of the culture it comes from, and what does it mean in relation to Farmer’s work? Can you think of other situations–personal or societal–for which this proverb might be apt?

6. Paul Farmer had an eccentric childhood, and his accomplishments have been unique. Do you see a correlation between the way Farmer was raised and how he has chosen to live his life? How has your own background influenced your life and your decisions?

7. Compare Zanmi Lasante to the Socios en Salud project in Carabayllo. Consider how the projects got started, the relationships between doctors and patients, and the involvement of the international community.

8. Kidder explains that Farmer and his colleagues at PIH were asked by some academics, “Why do you call your patients poor people? They don’t call themselves poor people” (p. 100). How do Farmer and Jim Kim confront the issue of how to speak honestly about the people they work to help? How do they learn to speak honestly with each other, and what is the importance of the code words and acronyms that they share (for example, amc’s, or Areas of Moral Clarity)?

9. Ophelia Dahl and Tom White both play critical roles in this book and in the story of Partners In Health. How are their acts of compassion different from Farmer’s?

10. Tracy Kidder has written elsewhere that the choice of point of view is the most important an author makes in constructing a work of narrative nonfiction. He has also written that finding a point of view that works is a matter of making a choice among tools, and that the choice should be determined not by theory, but by an author’s immersion in the materials of the story itself. Kidder has never before written a book in which he made himself a character. Can you think of some of the reasons he might have had for doing this in Mountains Beyond Mountains 

Product Details

ISBN:
9780812980554
Author:
Kidder, Tracy
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Author:
Greitens, Eric
Subject:
Humanitarians
Subject:
Medical - Physicians
Subject:
Physicians
Subject:
Human Rights
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Military
Subject:
Biography/Medical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Cloth
Series:
Random House Reader's Circle
Publication Date:
20090831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16-page black-and-white insert
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.18 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Biography » Medical
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Politics of Health Care
History and Social Science » Latin America » Haiti
History and Social Science » World History » Caribbean

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812980554 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In an inspiring memoir from one of the world's most elite warriors, Eric Greitens recounts in remarkable detail his time as a Navy SEALand#8212;from the most harrowing encounters and brutal attacks, to the lessons learned from his humanitarian efforts.
"Synopsis" by , THE HEART AND THE FIST shares one manand#8217;s story of extraordinary leadership and service as both a humanitarian and a warrior. In a life lived at the raw edges of the human experience, Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service.

As a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL, Greitens worked alongside volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and led US Marines who hunted terrorists in Iraq. Heand#8217;s learned from nuns who fed the destitute in one of Mother Teresaand#8217;s homes for the dying in India, from aid workers who healed orphaned children in Rwanda, and from Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. He excelled at the hardest military training in the world, and today he works with severely wounded and disabled veterans who are rebuilding their lives as community leaders at home.

Greitens offers each of us a new way of thinking about living a meaningful life. We learn that to win any war, even those we wage against ourselves; to create and obtain lasting peace; to save a life; and even, simply to live with purpose requires usand#8212;every one of usand#8212;to be both good and strong.

"Synopsis" by ,

How best to save the worldas saint, soldier, or . . . both?

Like many young idealists, Eric Greitens wanted to make a difference. Throughout college and after, he traveled to the world's trouble spots, working in refugee camps, serving the sick and the poor on four continents, from Gaza to Croatia to Mother Theresa's home in Calcutta, among others. Yet he could not prevent violence or save anyone from becoming a refugee, he could only step in afterward, and try to ease the damage.

So he joined the Navy SEALs, and became one of the world's most elite warriors. In a moving and inspiring, and yet also humble memoir, Eric offers something new in the history of military memoirs: a warrior who wanted to be strong to be good, only to discover that he had to be good to be strong. Throughout his SEAL training and deployments in Kenya, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the lessons of his humanitarian work bore fruit. The result is a lesson for us all: The heart and fist together are more powerful than either one alone.

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