Customer Reviews


4 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book - informative and passionate
A brilliant book with an in-depth look at Haiti's past and it's context in the modern day struggle to rebuild. Dr Paul Farmer (anthropologist and medical professional) has 30 years experience aiding healthcare within Haiti and whose passionate stance on helping it's people comes across as genuine and heart-warming. The book's detail in information is impressive and as...
Published on 21 Sep 2011 by JVGratlam

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars impressions of a great activist, but written by a diplomat
I write about this with some ambivalence. Having been recently to Haiti for a reporting project on the aftermath of the earthquake, this book was a valuable first guide. It starts out very strong, evoking the carnage, the initial pulling together, and the incredible efforts of relief workers to save lives and locate bodies. There are some extremely moving essays by...
Published on 24 May 2012 by rob crawford


Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars impressions of a great activist, but written by a diplomat, 24 May 2012
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Haiti After the Earthquake (Hardcover)
I write about this with some ambivalence. Having been recently to Haiti for a reporting project on the aftermath of the earthquake, this book was a valuable first guide. It starts out very strong, evoking the carnage, the initial pulling together, and the incredible efforts of relief workers to save lives and locate bodies. There are some extremely moving essays by witnesses, many of them medical workers whose life work has been ruined or badly damaged. The death toll was almost unprecedented, some 300,000 died within the first weeks - it was one of the only recorded major earthquakes ever to occur in a capital city at 7 on the richter scale.

The first days occupy 120 pages. At first, I was with it, but after 70 pages it was almost too much. The book then degenerates into a helter skelter commentary that mixes policy, individual medical cases, and the personal efforts of the author, Dr. Paul Farmer of Harvard University. It is part lament, part prescription, part cry of anguish, part triumph, but leaves the terrible question of what can really be done. Not only is it difficult to get a clear idea of what is happening, but there are gaps in coverage, outdated observations, and factual errors. For example, in my reporting project, I was investigating the establishment an internal displaced persons camp, Corail, which was established as a temporary site but is becoming a permanent ghetto - they took homeless people there to avoid rain-induced mudslides, but it too is in a flood plane. Farmer said the project was considered and then unfortunately abandoned. Moreover, the role of the US military is barely covered, and they provided crucial rescue and medical services in the first 3 months, truly a triumph for American aid. Indeed, there is no clear idea about the policy questions raised, such as who was in charge, what the Haitian government did or could have done, and even what the options were. I know that it is easy to criticize in retrospect, that Farmer was pressed in the maelstrom of catastrophies about him, but I must mention these failures.

As I see it, there were several phases: 1) relief and rescue, body disposal, and peace keeping.; 2) preparing for the rainy season, largely by moving refugees into planned camps from makeshift ones; 3) redevelopment planning; 4) cholera outbreak; 5) stagnation of the effort. The most interesting part of the book for me was the example of Rwanda, where Farmer is also working to much greater success. Rwanda shows that positive outcomes are possible, though it is a cry of despair regarding Haiti. Now, a year after the book appeared, I can say from direct witness that not much more has happened.

I have no doubt that Farmer is a dedicated, indeed, great provider of services to those in need in lesser developed countries. That is why I feel reluctant to criticize this book, which has significant value as a first cut about what was done. But it is only a first step and badly incomplete. It is also written in his capacity as a deputy commissioner for the UN under Bill Clinton. As such, he had to be diplomatic and, I suspect, hold his punches. This is a pity.

Haiti represents a singular tragedy, in a nation plagued by mismanagement, greed, and rapine, the very definition of a predatory state. Only the victims are the citizens. As one observer said, the state isn't strong enough to do anything except exploit its own citizens. The earthquake caused so much damage in large part because the building codes were either ignored or circumvented by bribes. I left the country with great pessimism, at the paralysis of its leaders, the fragmentation of aid efforts, and the escalating violence in the streets. Farmer, who remains committed to the country, will no doubt continue his efforts. He is a remarkable public servant and I envy his intelligence and idealism, his sense of cause.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book - informative and passionate, 21 Sep 2011
This review is from: Haiti After the Earthquake (Hardcover)
A brilliant book with an in-depth look at Haiti's past and it's context in the modern day struggle to rebuild. Dr Paul Farmer (anthropologist and medical professional) has 30 years experience aiding healthcare within Haiti and whose passionate stance on helping it's people comes across as genuine and heart-warming. The book's detail in information is impressive and as well as being a compelling read on a subject that is far-reaching and delicate (it covers the horrific catastrophe of the earthquake as well as Haiti's difficult political past), it is concise and clear; offering clarity and a candid view. An excellent read that I highly recommend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Plus First Person Accounts of Collapse, Recovery, and the Road Ahead . . . Combined with Some Important Prescriptions, 17 Aug 2011
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Haiti After the Earthquake (Hardcover)
"You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking." -- Psalm 60:2 (NKJV)

Our church teams with its counterpart in Port-au-Prince to operate an orphanage there. Naturally, we've heard a lot about the terrible earthquake and its aftermath. In addition, our pastor has helped coordinate some relief activities as have some church members. They have added perspectives, too.

Because of the great respect I feel for Dr. Paul Farmer and his humanitarian work in Haiti and Rwanda, I thought it was important to find out what he recommends should be done in Haiti. I'm glad I did because he has provided a valuable document combining many perspectives on Haiti's history, its vulnerabilities, what happened during and after the earthquake, and prescriptions for how to build a better Haiti from the rubble and pain. My understanding greatly increased. I especially appreciated the comparisons to Rwanda, which is another nation that concerns me for which and for whose people I also regularly pray . . . as I do for Haiti and its people.

If you don't know any Haitians, you should get to know some. They are fine people who deal with problems in a patient way. They also want to create a better nation. And they can . . . but some changes are required.

It's not all heartwarming in the book. You'll read some things about some journalists and relief "workers" that may make you feel angry and sad. In addition, the scope of the misery and devastation portrayed (the reality, not a false perception) is broad and unrelenting.

But you can help make a difference.

Start by reading this book. Then, pick something you can do to help Haiti . . . and keep doing it for the rest of your life. I think you'll be glad that you did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book - a must read, 14 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having just been to Haiti I found this book invaluable in providing detailed, well researched and thoughtful insights into the past, present and potential future of this fascinating and tragic country. There is hope but Haiti needs much help and affordable energy to reduce poverty, slow down deforestation, and empower communities and small businesses with greater ability to develop competitive businesses in farming, manufacturing and tourism. Cheap clean energy is a key for reducing poverty and donors should focus on the huge opportunities for ocean thermal energy, solar, wind and hydro.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Haiti After the Earthquake
Haiti After the Earthquake by Paul Farmer (Hardcover - 28 April 2011)
£15.02
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews