Study Guide

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

by Tracy Kidder

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World Essay - Critical Essays

Critical Overview

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World (2003) is the story of Paul Farmer, a doctor who went to Haiti in 1983 and volunteered to work with the poorest villagers of the Cange region. What he saw would influence him forever.

After he returned to Boston and earned his M.D., Farmer went back to Haiti and committed his life to helping deliver public health services to those Cange villagers. He founded a medical center, Zanmi Lasante, which served many of Haiti's poor and, especially administered programs that fought multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and AIDS in Haiti. This book highlights Dr. Farmer's work through the eyes of Tracy Kidder, a writer who shadowed Farmer day and night over a period of years to document his life in Haiti and in Boston at the Brigham and Women's hospital.

Mountains Beyond Measure is Kidder's seventh book. He has written widely about subjects of a sociological nature in a highly readable style. His work The Soul of a New Machine (1982) uncovers the culture of high tech corporations and earned him both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. In addition, he also wrote House (1985) that details all aspects of building a first home, from its inception to the finish. Kidder writes about planning, hiring professionals and dealing with contractors and home improvement retailers. For Among Schoolchildren (1989) Kidder interviewed a fifth grade class for one year.  The work won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award that same year. In Old Friends (1993), Kidder spent a year at a nursing home interviewing the residents, delving into their younger lives and bringing to light the way in which they are now living. This book is reveals the often superficial values in our contemporary, fast-paced capitalist society in which older people are set aside, left alone with their wisdom and caring nature. In...

(The entire section is 528 words.)