Library Director Will Adamczyk will hold his Local History Book Group this evening. The book to be read in advance is Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (c2003) and copies will be available to check out downstairs at the first floor Borrower Services desk. This title is Tracy Kidder's engaging biography of the selfless, tireless, good-humored and still relatively young physician, Dr. Paul Farmer. Kidder, who won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1981, has been following the 44-yeare old Farmer's work on behalf of the poor since 1994.
Born in Massachusetts, Farmer grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where his family lived in an old bus and on a salvaged boat. Despite these privations, he graduated at the top of his high school class and won a full scholarshp to Duke University. While pursuing his degree threre, he became interested in public health policies, particularly as they affected the downtrodden. Farmer began working with the poor in Haiti in 1983, the year before he entered Harvard Medical School. There, he met Ophelia Dahl, the daughter of actress Patricia Neal and writer Roald Dahl, who was working as a volunteer at an eye clinic. She would later bring her considerable administrative skills to the service of Farmer's far-ranging vision. Farmer's passion for helping the helpless also caught the attention of Boston philanthropist Tom White, who donated money for a clinic in the central Haitian village of Cange, and set up the Partners in Health charity to help Farmer fund his projects. For his part, Farmer contributed both his own income and around-the-clock attention to his patients, whether in Boston or Haiti. On the faculty at Harvard, he soon rose to the post of Professor of Medicine and Medical Anthropology. Kidder accompanied Farmer as he trudged across the unforgiving Haitian countryside to care for patients or as he attended public health conferences and strategy sessions in Russia, Cuba, France, Peru, Canada and Mexico. Farmer's amalgam of commitment, genius and energy constitutes a near irresistible force, and Kidder's wonderful book is an antidote for cynics.
This program is kindly sponsored by the Friends of the Milton Public Library. Please join Will for an enjoyable discussion of an important book.