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An Imperfect Offering: Dispatches from the medical frontline Hardcover – 5 Jun 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Rider (5 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846041015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846041013
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 839,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An essential text for our dire times. Orbinski plunges into the heartbreak, the maelstrom, the moral dilemmas of the genocide territories of the world - Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan - and finds there enough courage and redemption for us all to feel there is hope for our sad humanity." (Ariel Dorfman)

"In this complex era of massive abuses to human rights by governments in too many countries, it is surprising to read such a poignant book that describes, without fanfare, the constant ethical, moral and even legal dilemmas that those in the field must confront hundreds of times a day. Clarity, compassion and commitment are presented in spades in this book about those who are fighting the lack of political will that too often fails to prevent man's inhumanity to man." (L Gen Romeo Dallaire, author of Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda)

"James Orbinski has lived for years in the middle of the worst that humans can be, and somehow emerged with both his compassion and his desire to understand us intact...the stories he has to tell are some of the most powerful I have ever read" (Stephanie Nolen, author of 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa)

"In a narrative of grace and power, [Orbinski] displays the intense components of his remarkable life: integrity, compassion and principle" (Stephen Lewis, former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and author of Race Against Time)

"This is not a book for the fainthearted...a searing account of the realities of war and the struggle to bring some humanitarian values and practical help to violent places. And it is written with huge passion....A tale for our times" (Kate Adie Mail on Sunday)

Review

Clarity, compassion and commitment are presented in spades in this book about those who are fighting the lack of political will that too often fails to prevent man's inhumanity to man --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Hardcover
Never heard of James Oblinski! Rawanda? Gorillas in the mists? Didn't know much about any of these but a review of 'An Imperfect Offering' by Kate Adie made me curious. This is a book which deals, not only with Rawanda but with the humanitarian aid which can be needed at any time by countries suffering natural disasters or by war. This is a story written in an easy to read style which encourages the reader to keep turning the pages. Situations described draw a dreadful picture of suffering, fear, hopelessness and even evil but there is also compassion, committment and dedication to high ideals on the part of many who want to bring changes to improve the lives of people under threat. The ability to bring relief but not get drawn into the political arena is very difficult and James Oblinski is balanced and fair in his portrayal of such situations. This is like an excellent text book because it informs without preaching and it certainly inspired me to read more to try and understand other countries and the problems they face. I followed this book with 'A Thousand Hills' by Kinzer. 'Shake Hands With The Devil' by Lt Gen Romero Dallaire and 'We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families' by Philip Gourevitch. All excellent reads which I do recommend to anyone wanting to have more than one point of view before deciding what they believe. I.Hunter Leeds
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This Book is amazing and about an amazing organization that is not overly known in the UK. I have had the opportunity of working for MSF on a couple of occasions and the work we do makes a difference. It was one of the best experiences in my life and then to read what Orbinski experience is just mind boggling. After reading this book, I ended up with more questions about how the West impacts and our place in the World ... I think you just have to read this book ... There are no words that I can use to explain this book: READ IT!
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Format: Paperback
This was recommended to me by a friend who has a background in humanitarian law. I am from a medical background myself, and had expressed an interest in the work of Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), a humanitarian organisation dedicated to providing impartial medical care in conflict zones while eschewing the silent impartiality of organisations such as the International Red Cross. Immediately he told me to read this book. Having done so, I see why. Dr James Orbinski has been involved in MSF for the best part of thirty years. His experiences in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Afghanistan, DRC and Kosovo form the basis for this book. Exploring the philosophical, political, ethical and medical realities behind modern humanitarianism, he also lifts the lid on the political machinations behind "First World" or "Western" involvement in humanitarian aid delivery, "humanitarian war", and the stark realities on the ground of dealing with the starving, the injured, the soldiers, politicians, and killers. Anyone with an interest in humanitarianism, or indeed modern global politics, should read this book. It refuses to treat the victims of conflict and famine as numbers or "collateral damage", and powerfully evokes the impossible choices humanitarian operatives must make in order to carry out their work. A disturbing, heartbreaking and ultimately inspirational story of how getting involved can make a difference.
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Format: Paperback
This is an account of the incredible depth of experience one man has of witnessing, and working to alleviate the human tragedies that take place throughout the world. James Orbinski is a humanitarian doctor and, even in the title, you get a taste of the humility and commitment of the man. The book does not make for easy reading. Orbinski often simply describes what he sees of the suffering of others, or the stories his patients relate to him. The simplicity of the text on these occasions - the absence of emotive adjectives -conveys all the more powerfully the individual pain and suffering involved. This is not to say that Orbinski refrains from expressing his own opinion. Far from it. He pulls no punches in communicating his disagreement with certain policies and his view on events. Nor does he remain a detached observer. His communication of his own personal journey - including one fascinating chapter on his formative years - makes the book all the richer. Orbinski asks the question: "How am I to be? How are we to be in relation to the suffering of others?" He gives no easy answers, but the book clearly conveys his belief that to stand by and do nothing is not an option.
If you want to know what it is to work in a war zone and allow yourself to care, then read this book. If not, stay away.
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