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Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Medecins Sans Frontieres [Hardcover]

Dan Bortolotti
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £24.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Oct 2004
The humanitarian organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) delivers emergency aid to victims of armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and those who lack reliable health care. Each year, more than 2,500 volunteer doctors, nurses, and other professionals join locally-hired staff to provide medical aid in more than eighty countries. At the forefront are the volunteer doctors who risk their lives to perform surgery, establish hospitals and clinics, run nutrition programmes, and train local medical personnel. This book follows these volunteer doctors as they risk their health and lives to treat patients in desperate need. Combining engaging text with dramatic colour photographs from around the world, Hope in Hell examines the lives of individual Medecins Sans Frontieres volunteer medical professionals. Firefly is donating a USD50,000 charitable payment to Medecins Sans Frontieres upon the publication of the book. A fascinating and often harrowing account of the men and women who struggle to improve the lives of people in desperate need. Gripping accounts of medical workers who volunteer to serve in some of the world's most dangerous hotspots.

Frequently Bought Together

Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Medecins Sans Frontieres + Six Months in Sudan: A Young Doctor in a War-torn Village + An Imperfect Offering: Dispatches from the medical frontline
Price For All Three: £42.45

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd; 1st Edition edition (28 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1552978656
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552978658
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


All in all, I found Hope in Hell to be a nicely balanced book about this type of work/volunteerism that I've been curious about for years.--Norm Rooker"Emergency Medical Services Magazine" (08/01/2005)

About the Author

Dan Bortolotti is a writer whose work appears in books and magazines throughout North America. He is the author of "Exploring Saturn," "Tiger Rescue" and "Panda Rescue."

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Dr. James Knox slings his medical kit across his back and begins the 10-minute walk to the tiny health center in Cuimba. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very honest and insightful. 24 Oct 2009
This book gives a great insight into the world of MSF and the intricacies and realities of relief work. Written in an honest, self-depricating tone, I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in humanitarian work, a curiosity about MSF, or just looking for a good read.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book which gives background to the origins of MSF, its philosophy and the motivations of its volunteers. It is honest and does not whitewash the organisation though neither does it unduly criticise. Humanitarianism is growing; this book highlights the relevant ethics and the problems associated. Importantly, it emphasises MSF's 'added value' as an organisation that aims to maintain its neutrality by avoiding government donations unlike other major INGOs.

The descriptions and stories of the local and expat staff are vivid and well written. The motivations and inside jokes are interesting as are the differences in approach of MSF in different chapters. The experiences of expat staff are well written, not only when in the field but importantly, how they feel on their return and how they feel about MSF. Particularly real is the chapter about the 'new refrigerator syndrome' which anyone who has worked abroad could identify with.

All in all, this is a must read for anyone considering humanitarian work and for anyone who wants to understand it better. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight, well researched and presented 19 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am interested in doing some time in my future career with MSF as a Doctor and was recommended this book as 'essential reading'. Well thought out and presented it is a great read but told poignantly so the reader is well aware of how the stories are those of real life occurances.
Would recommend to medics and non-medics alike, an excellent publication.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 3 Aug 2012
By RachieO
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fantastic read, has really inspired me to keep working towards my dream of working for MSF as a nurse one day
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and entertaining 28 Oct 2007
By queenie - Published on Amazon.com
This is a quick read which provides excellent insight into the history and development of MSF as well as its current organization and on-the-ground operations. The historical component is well integrated into the many personal stories of physicians, logisticians, and other critical team members of MSF in the field. This book does a nice job balancing the positive and negative aspects of MSF's mission and how it is implemented. Even with the fair number of criticisms of the organization, I am still eager to be involved with such a remarkable group of people.
21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars impersonal and repetitive 4 Feb 2005
By reader from Canada - Published on Amazon.com
I would say that Hope in Hell is a good read and an interesting book but I have to say that the style is very impersonal, very repetitive, very introductory and does not do justice to the many MSF volunteers who were interviewed for the book.
It is impersonal because there is little more than a name and perhaps the country of origin given as the stories of volunteers are told. I read this book right after reading the Fast Food Nation in which the writer describes his interview subjects in a manner that enables the reader to have a mental picutre and develop a deep relationship with them.
Hope in Hell reads as an introductory piece of writting. Half way through the book I still thought I was reading the introductory chapter.
The sotries in this book were tragic and could've and should've been written in a heart wrenching style but the writer failed to write it so.
I would recommend it as a book to skim through but not a book worth purchasing and adding to your collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real MSF 22 Nov 2007
By Walter Lovelace - Published on Amazon.com
Almost everyone has an opinion on MSF(Médecins Sans Frontiéres). The author Dan Bortolotti in "HOPE IN HELL" provides what is surely a complete and trustworthy account of this organization. The book will once and for all confirm that MSF is still the only fully independent relief organization which seeks to alleviate human suffering, regardless of how that suffering was caused: by dictators, war barons, corrupt governments, or even relief teams which have fled the field.

"Hell" in the title is perhaps missguiding. The majority of doctors, administrators and logisticians, regardless of having suffered from diseases and trauma brought on by witnessing ghastly cruelty, still go back for more.

Before commenting to anyone on MSF again, read "HOPE IN HELL". It will not only alter your opinion but probably persuade you to support a relief organisation which really makes a difference. You might even become one of the doctors, etc, who helped to make the difference.Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and realistic 7 May 2013
By Eduardo Rafael Costa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a medical student and MSF was one of the reasons that got me into medicine. At first, it all seemed like a great adventure, I would watch videos of missions and think of those people as heroes. And while I still think that they are very brave and I deeply admire them, this book was very enlightening about the people that work for MSF, how their work is done, how MSF came to be, and how hard and challenging it is. It is a very good book.

Humanitarian work is a great challenge. If you want to know more about MSF, in a more personal way, I also recommend Six months in Sudan, by James Maskalyk.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MSF brings hope tot he most unimagineable Hell 9 Jan 2006
By Michiko - Published on Amazon.com
I am a grade 10 student who recently used this book for an english project. I found this book to be highly insightful of MSF thoughts, goals and ideas. The book painted a bold picture that sends a impactful image of our world. It sheds lights on many projects MSF is currently working on and also makes you think of these people who give their lives for strangers in order to provide life.

Technically, the book follows an understandable format and remains interesting throughout while covering a lot of information. Many perspectives are covered which gives the book added depth.
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