Great Books

Mountains Beyond Mountains
Tracy Kidder

"At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer.  Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life's calling:  to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most.  This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer--brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti--blasts through convention to get results..."

My Own Country
Dr. Abraham Verghese

"Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City saw its first AIDS patient in August 1985.  Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases who became, by necessity, the local AIDS expert.  Out of his experience comes a startling, ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland..."

The Demon in the Freezer
Richard Preston

"Based on the extensive interviews with smallpox experts, health workers, and members of the U.S. intelligence community, The Demon in the Freezer details the history and behavior of the virus and how it was eventually isolated and eradicated by the heroid individuals of the World Health Organization.  Preston also explains why a battle still rages between those who want to destroy all know stocks of the virus and those who want to keep some samples alive until a cure is found..."

Infections and Inequalities
Dr. Paul Farmer

"Aiming to explain why infectious diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis target the poor, Farmer fills his new work with harrowing public-health case studies of the pathogenic effects of poverty and other grim social conditions.  Farmer provides a well-referenced analysis of everything from cell-mediated immunity to healthcare access issues.  The studies outlined show that extreme poverty, filth, and malnutrition are associated with infectious disease and what attitudes and behaviors contribute to the lack of undertanding about disease..."