Background Reading and Links

Haiti after the Quake, Paul Farmer, PublicAffairs, 2011

Paul Farmer Book CoverFarmer is never more so at the top of his game than now in the newly released Haiti after the Earthquake. Poignantly written, Farmer articulates his first hand account of the January 12th earthquake. With detailed descriptions of the redevelopment efforts in post earthquake Haiti, Farmer simultaneously calls attention to the broken and empty promises and efforts made by the international community while celebrating the heroic efforts of so many in the hours just after bagay la (the thing). Noting the unpreparedness of the international community for such a disaster, the reader is able to not only sympathize but feel the immense frustration that so many on the ground felt in those first few hours. The second half, equally moving and inspiring, is told from others' points of view and reveals the hopes and dreams for a Haiti built back better. A must read for anyone interested in Haiti and the redevelopment efforts, or for those frustrated with the seemingly slow pace of reconstruction who are looking for optimism amidst the crushing rubble. - book review by “smire” on

Video of Nicholas Kristof speaking at the World Affairs Council of N. Calif in San Francisco on Oct 14, 2009.  Nicholas Kristof is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and New York Times columnist dedicated to giving "a voice to the voiceless." He has reported in 140 countries, receiving two Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of China's Tiananmen Square democracy movement and Sudan's Darfurian genocide.

Kristof has also coauthored three books with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. Their most recent book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, has received wholehearted praise from humanitarians, activists and journalists alike.  Kristof considers the oppression of women and girls to be “the greatest human rights violation of our time.”

To view the Kristof video click here.

A Novel about Southern Sudan
Acts of Faith, Philip Caputo, Random House, 2006

Philip Caputo’s tragic and epically ambitious novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. There’s the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who can’t help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander.

As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens, it becomes apparent that Acts of Faith is one of those rare novels that combine high moral seriousness with irresistible narrative wizardry. The author the author won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Vietnam while he was a journalist with the Chicago Tribune.

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