Monday, August 31, 2009

New Book: Strength in What Remains

Many of you first learned about Partners in Health by reading Kidder's bestseller about Paul Farmer and the founding of Partners In Health, Mountains Beyond Mountains. Today, Random House is publishing not one but two works by Tracy Kidder--his powerful new book, Strength in What Remains; and a new, deluxe paperback edition of Mountains Beyond Mountains that features an epilogue updating the story of PIH through early 2009.

Strength in What Remains tells the riveting true story of Deo, a young man from the mountains of Burundi in East Africa. After a hairsbreadth escape from death and a horrifying journey on foot through Burundi and Rwanda-two countries wracked by genocide and civil war--Deo landed in New York City, penniless, speaking almost no English, and living homeless in Central Park. From there, the generosity of people he met and (mostly) his own indomitable determination took him to Columbia University and later to Harvard--where he found work, friendship and a sense of common mission with Paul Farmer and his colleagues at Partners In Health--and, finally, back to Burundi to start a community health project modeled very much along the lines of those he had seen and helped at PIH.

For people who care about global health and social justice, both of these books are must reads. The same goes for people who simply enjoy outstanding writing that opens their eyes, their hearts, and their minds. That's Tracy Kidder's specialty. As Susan Salter Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times wrote in one of many rave reviews and feature articles that have appeared about Strength in What Remains, "With his most recent book, he helps the reader walk in the subject's shoes."

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