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Haiti After the Earthquake

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  861 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people died, and the greater part of the capital was demolished. Dr. Paul Farmer, U.N. deputy special envoy to Haiti, who had worked in the country for nearly thirty years treating infectious diseases like tuberculosis and AIDS, and former President Bill Clinton, the U.N. sp ...more
Published September 1st 2011 by HighBridge Audio (first published July 12th 2011)
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Oct 10, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was part of my preparation for a January trip to Haiti. The first part of the book is Paul Farmer's account of why the devastation in Haiti was so great. Port Au Prince was destroyed by the earthquake because of the inadequate construction of almost all of the buildings and homes. Only a small percentage are built according to acceptable standards. As a comparison, Chile had an 8.8 magnitude earthquake (one of the largest in history) a month later with less then 600 deaths. The ...more
Larry Bassett
Jan 09, 2017 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The focal point of this book is the January 12, 2010 7.0 earthquake that occurred with an epicenter in Port-au-Prince Haiti the country's largest city of 3 million people. A quarter of 1 million people were killed and over 300,000 injured. Well over 1 million were homeless. Two years later there was still rubble and camps of homeless.

The author James Farmer is a doctor Who specializes in infectious disease. He is also one of the founding members of partners in health and international organizati
The best way to read this book:
If you are not familiar with Haitian history, read Chapter 4 first, then jump to the Other Voices Section. After that, go back to beginning and read from Chapter 1 on.
If you are familiar with Haitian history, read the Other Voices Section first, then go to the beginning.

What I learned by reading this book:
NGOs operate a lot like family members when you need help. Some relatives will show up to help and do actually help some, but also decide that your kitchen is not
Aug 15, 2011 Kayla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for those interested in Partners in Health and/or Haiti. Paul Farmer's style of writing is so eloquent and accessible. His honesty is sincere and despite the overwhelming sorrow evident, there always seemed to be an underlying sense of hope. He provided a fantastic summary of the history of Haiti and how it connected to the aftermath of the earthquake. Additionally, his connections to Rwanda were interesting and well written. 100% recommended to all!
I am actually currently reading this, but having spent 4 months as a disaster relief worker in Haiti and having been in the center of the cholera outbreak, this book speaks so much to my experience in Haiti it already puts me in tears. Real review to follow.
Florence Millo
I wish I had read this book from back to front. Paul Farmer writes the first 2/3 of the book and it is like plowing through 200 pages of acknowledgements and personal itinerary. Everybody gets acknowledged and their role documented and every meeting duly noted. By contrast, the last 1/3 of the book is first person accounts which are riveting. If you read this book, start at the back.
Dr Paul Farmer is a modern day saint, in my books. However he wrote this book to get to market in a hurry while the topic was timely and it is annoyingly repetitive, needlessly long. The information could have been stated in half the space. In spite of this I will support him and others who fight the politics of poverty.
Jun 22, 2016 Paula rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this book at all. It isn't at all insightful. The idea that Haiti, an impoverished country, has less than stellar building codes- is not news. The book is mostly dedicated to political rhetoric, and the logistics of planning meetings to discuss what might be done- not what is actually happening on the ground, which as far as I can tell is very little, nor does the book adequately explain why that is the case- expect maybe that everyone is knee deep in planning and consulting and ot ...more
Oct 10, 2011 Patti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be heartbreaking and inspiring and informing in that it tackled the questions so many have of why after all the aid and money sent to Haiti after the earthquake, conditions are still terrible. I appreciated the fact that it was written in real time as events were happening and gave such a sense of the difficulties of coordinating the good will of so many people and organizations.

"It was, for all of us, an entirely unprecedented circumstance. We were never sure what to do and
Jul 15, 2011 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Farmer calls the situation in Haiti an "acute-on-chronic' event. In the years before the earthquake of 2010, Haiti had become a 'Republic of NGOs'. After the quake, the dysfunctional system of humanitarian aid has become yet another obstacle to Haiti's recovery and sovereignty.
The chronic condition: Haiti is a nation with a weak government, where infrastructure is practically non-existent, where the gap between rich and poor is so large that the majority are voiceless and they know it. Only
Wendy Hall
Not at all what I was looking for about the impact of the earthquake in Haiti. Perhaps I am just too simple-minded, but I was wanting to read about the changed lives, the individuals and families and how the earthquake impacted them. I was looking for personal accounts of hardship and restoration. I was ready for my heart to be broken and open to the ongoing plight of the people of Haiti. Instead, this was a politically-focused book. The entire first half was about the author's follow-up experie ...more
Tom Schulte
May 26, 2012 Tom Schulte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Farmer didn't ask for a single donation here, but I immediately gave money to Partners in Health ( after reading this book. The work detailing aid efforts and obstacles, successes and trials covers Haiti from storm-sodden to earthquake-racked. I have been a fan of Farmer's generosity and energy since reading Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. The analogies and relationship to Rwanda were particularly telling. The book is ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I have always respected Paul Farmer and his tireless, selfless medical work in Haiti since I first read about him in Tracy Kidder’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains. So I was thrilled to receive an audio version of Haiti After the Earthquake by Paul Farmer from the publisher.

I have now learned, after listening to fourteen hours (yes, that’s fourteen hours!) of these CDs that just because you are a wonderful human being, you are not necessarily a wonderful writer. I learned more about Haiti that
Laura Andersen
Feb 08, 2017 Laura Andersen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I lived in Haiti for a year in 1990. If England is the home of my heart, Haiti is the home of my soul. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health writes a brilliant book about not only the earthquake that killed more than a quarter million people, but provides pertinent background and serious ideas about rebuilding. Recommended for those interested in global health and growth.
Oct 13, 2012 Lorette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are so many reasons to admire Paul Farmer. But somebody else should do the writing/editing. Including other voices was a smart decision for this book, which frankly read like a therapeutic diary. This happened then this happened then this......
Mollie Feltman
Jun 14, 2017 Mollie Feltman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not in health care so I didn't get excited about the tasks related to the field. I wanted more from the author regarding historical context and social justice. The writing inspires vision for Haiti. The author makes himself clear in calling for support for the public sector and sovereignty of Haitians over the resources of their country.
Paula Schumm
Mar 08, 2017 Paula Schumm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook from the library. This book by Paul Farmer gives background history of Haiti, and then he and several others talk about the 2010 earthquake and the aftermath. Recommended.
Mar 12, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haiti After the Earthquake reminds us about a number of things having to do with natural disasters in the developing world. First, and most importantly, it reminds us that (as Farmer puts it), the earthquake is an "acute-on-chronic" issue- that there's nothing "natural" about many natural disasters. The groundwork for the earthquake (and the hurricane season of 2008 before it) to cause maximum damage was already laid years before the incident: government weakness and instability (which was often ...more
Rose Be
Paul Farmer is something of a superhero: a doctor, Harvard professor, founding hospitals and sustainable medicine in developing countries, and published academian. The only thing it seems he hasn't done is edit this book.

I think, sometime in the early chapters of this book, that Farmer acknowledged he was trying to bridge narrative nonfiction (stuff that's fun to read) and an academic paper (dry, restart-the-page-five-times stuff). It's a worthy goal, but I don't think he pulled it off here. Pa
Aug 27, 2011 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is tempting to think of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti as a natural disaster, instead of what it was – a man-made disaster, centuries in the making, triggered by a natural event. In this important book, Farmer and other contributors explicate many of the often overlooked historical antecedents – as well as the effects of more recent international and domestic policy - that led to the agonizing devastation in Haiti.

I was especially struck by an excerpt from Bill Clinton’s testimony t
Roy Howard
On January 12, 2010 the long suffering Haitian people suffered another crushing blow in an earthquake that left over 300,000 people dead and thousands more injured and rendered homeless. Two years later, thousands are still living in wretched tent cities in the plaza near the destroyed presidential palace. Although other nations have experienced massive earthquakes including Chile, Japan, China, Turkey and New Zealand none suffered more than Haiti or was more ill equipped to deal with the disast ...more
Beth Oppenheim
Jul 20, 2012 Beth Oppenheim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book isn't for everyone. It's dry in spots in terms of moving the narrative along, but anyone who is a fan of Paul Farmer and Partners in Health will understand why it's so crucial in the first place to write about this.
I particularly enjoyed Farmer's analysis of what Haiti could learn from Rwanda. In terms of the second part of the book (the individual essays), I enjoyed two of them: The one by Farmer's wife, and the one by journalist Timothy Schwartz entitled "First We Need Taxis." This
Feb 06, 2012 Oliver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing look at exactly what the title says, form the perspective of Paul Farmer, and Zanmi Lasante, his organization, Partners in health.
The most interesting part for me was the discussion of humanitarian aid, and its overall inefficacy in achieving desired results. How is it that countries can pledge so much and actually give so little? Where is the accountability? If the US can pledge 1.3 billion dollars of aid and only give 15%, how are the effects going to trickle down to the poorest Hai
Oct 05, 2016 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This book is a broad analysis of the international process begun to fund and coordinate relief and reconstruction. The amount of process involved in obtaining $6 billion in pledges of support, let alone planning how that money will be used in a way that is fiscally sound, is staggering. Reading about this process was dry, for someone not involved in public policy. And yet, I couldn't give up on the book. I was hooked. How far would the story go?

In the end, I was left wondering what has happened
Jul 02, 2015 Roxanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I have read about Haiti. Even before the earthquake Haiti was plagued by political, economic, and unsafe. They had riots often. These also had hurricane damage, agriculture was bad, and there was deforestation. The officials were corrupt. Half of school age children were not in school. By the end of 2009 they were starting to make some progress on these problems. Haiti is an old country founded in 1804 and it became the first black Republic. They allowed no slavery. So th ...more
Tim Hoiland
Aug 03, 2011 Tim Hoiland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Few would argue with the fact that what followed Haiti’s devastating earthquake in January 2010 was one of the most widespread showings of sympathy and humanitarian support in recent memory. What is up for debate, however, is why rebuilding efforts haven't made more progress as we near the quake's two-year anniversary.

In Haiti After the Earthquake, anthropologist and medical doctor Paul Farmer affirms that this outpouring of compassion indeed saved countless lives, but he also addresses the deep
Kim Arnold
Apr 05, 2015 Kim Arnold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A good read focused on the horrific 7.0 earthquake in 2010, with the epicenter in the most populated city in the country. The devastation is relived by a world leader in healthcare, and his focus on why the quake was so destructive (outside of the obvious quake itself) was eye-opening. Farmer's refreshing honestly and realistic (non-sensationalized) account of the state of Haiti both before and during reconstruction was memorable. I especially like the chapter on comparing reconstruction of Hait ...more
Michele White
Jan 17, 2012 Michele White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of stories and insights into why the 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti wreaked such havoc. The first half is written by Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, and someone who has been working in Haiti for over 20 years. The second half is written by other leaders in Haiti, including author Edwidge Danticat.

The strength of this book is in it's comprehensive and sensitive portrayal of Haiti and its people. It paints a detailed, if sometimes painful picture of the
Oct 07, 2011 Clay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an important account of Farmer's experiences in helping Haiti respond to the 2010 earthquake, mainly focusing on delivering emergency health services. Farmer is clearly a dedicated doctor and aid worker. He gives a brief introduction to Haiti's sorry history, with a good analysis why the country had performed so poorly up to the time of the quake. The comparative analysis with Rwanda, where he also works, is insightful. He also takes on the well-known weaknesses of the aid business. The ...more
Ryan Mac
Paul Farmer is very dedicated to his role as Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti and Partners in Health and it shows. Unfortunately, it feels like this book was a little rushed and more like a personal diary than I would have liked. The first 2/3 of the book were written by Farmer where he goes through descriptions of many meetings and throws out a lot of names. There were interesting chapters discussing Haiti's history and politics mixed into the details about the earthquake and some of the aftermat ...more
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Haitian News 1 2 Nov 30, 2013 05:36AM  
Haitian News 1 1 Nov 30, 2013 05:36AM  
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Paul Farmer is a U.S. anthropologist and physician, the Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard University, and an attending physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. In May 2009 he was named chairman of Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. His medical specialty is infectious diseases. ...more
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“Haiti was founderd by a righteous revolution in 1804 and became the first black republic. It was the first country to break the chains of slavery, the first to force Emperor Napoleon to retreat, and the only to aid Simón Bolívar in his struggle to liberate the indigenous people and slaves of Latin America from their colonial oppressors.” 9 likes
“I said, "Nég Mawon toujou kanpé!!" —the free man is still standing!! And she replied, powerfully. "Cheri, Nég Mawon p'ap jamn krazé" —my dear, the free man will never be broken.” 4 likes
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