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Never the Hope Itself: Love and Ghosts in Latin America and Haiti

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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A former NPR correspondent takes you into his own ghost-filled life as he reports on a region in turmoil. Gerry Hadden was training to become a Buddhist monk when opportunity came knocking: the offer of a dream job as NPR’s correspondent for Latin America. Arriving in Mexico in 2000 during the nation’s first democratic transition of power, he witnesses both hope and uncert ...more
Paperback, 345 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Harper Perennial
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Barbara Skuplik
I really enjoyed this book. So often South America has been neglected in the news/media, often overshadowed by the plight and atrocities happening in the Middle East, Balkans, and Africa. Gerry Hadden writes a beautiful, raw, honest, and unbiased recollection of his time covering the elections in Haiti, his time in Mexico, and reporting for NPR all over Latin America. I appreciate the honestly with which he wrote this book, and the detail with which he described certain life events, his thoughts ...more
Dionisia
Note: I won a copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program.

Writing about what I read would probably be easier if I paused every once in a while to take proper notes. I stubbornly continue to neglect to tear my self away from a good book because I don't like to be pulled out of the story. I would rather bury myself in it. The characters. A sense of time. A sense of place. Gerry Hadden succeeded in making his experiences come alive on the page. Great for me. Bad for you becaus
...more
Carolina
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Having grown up in Mexico City, I was excited to find a book that so perfectly grasped the culture and struggles faced by the country while showing the beauty as well. Immediately I was hooked as the book struck the careful balance of being informational while including personal anecdotes that gave insight into the struggles faced by an NPR correspondent. This dream, over-the-top life is so easy to connect with and understand with the vivid descriptions of Hadden's many journeys. I would recomme ...more
Erika
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Easy to read, totally real, infinitely interesting. As I got closer to the end, I began to wonder how this book could end, because it felt like it needed to be written to infinity, literally. But! When I got to the end, it really made sense, so even though I was disappointed it had to end, I got it... This won't make sense maybe? But read it!
David
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Pretty astonishing story, packed with vivid scenes of my pal Gerry's days covering Haiti and Latin America for NPR. He writes like the skilled fiction writer he is and pushes you down into a world that's by turns bewildering, horrifying, laugh-out-loud funny, romantic, and achingly sad. Terrific stuff.
George R. Wolfe
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Never the Hope Itself provides a gripping personal account of a roughly 4-year period beginning just before 9/11, during which the author served as the main (i.e., sole) NPR correspondent for Latin America and parts of the Caribbean, including Haiti.

While the overlapping stories of historic and tumultuous events in this wide swath of countries would be interesting enough in their own right, what makes the memoir unique are the personal tales, humorous anecdotes and particular character vulnerabi
...more
The Tick
This book was actually quite readable, but it was just so unfocused (see: the 50 million tags I gave it). I never quite knew what I was going to get with every new chapter, and I found that frustrating more than anything else.
Gemma
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. Gerry Hadden spent a lot of time in the early chapters convincing me not to like him - he complains about his assistant being six minutes late and kicks a family out of his house in Mexico City. How, I wondered, was this guy ever on the verge of becoming a Buddhist monk? He seems far too high-strung, far too easily shaken. But, as I read on, I discovered a truly delightful memoir, and a portrait of a man who is not afraid to present himself ...more
Donna Riley-lein
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Never the Hope Itself
Gerry Hadden

I received this book as part of the Goodreads first reader program.

To be a reporter, especially one dropped into a foreign country is difficult. That’s the least you can say. You don’t know the people, the culture, all the players and their hidden agendas. So, how do you communicate fair and accurate news back home?
Hadden becomes a reporter for National Public Radio (NPR) through what he describes as a whirlwind process. He leaves the spiritual path he had chosen
...more
Julie
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Gerry Hadden was assigned to the Latin American section of NPR not long before 9/11. When the US turned its focus elsewhere, he was left to cover stories of enormous import knowing that they might never be told. Meanwhile, the book talks about the way his life in Mexico changes as he changes with all that he sees and experiences.

His writing is powerful and the stories he tells are moving and heart-breaking. They were also fascinating and informative. I wish he had included more. Even though the
...more
Kerry
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it

I guess it portrayed more to me about what it is like to live the life of an international correspondent, than information about Latin America and Haiti, except in an indirect way. Currently as an expat living abroad it made me think what a challenge it must be to be a visitor some where trying to get at the heart of situations and find new fresh perspectives on a story. I just find it difficult to know a place after really living there for sometime, it's hard to imagine capturing it on brief vi
...more
Tim Hoiland
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latin-america, memoir
There are a handful of podcasts I listen to, though one of my very favorites isn’t even a podcast per se. Rather, NPR allows you to subscribe to Latin America news stories — three to five minutes each, more or less — and then listen to them without interruption. Because I don’t listen to them every day or even every week, they tend to add up, so sometimes while cleaning up the kitchen or doing something else around the apartment I’ll just listen to a string of them. Last year in Pennsylvania, wh ...more
Ellen
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This tale, or series of connected tales, by a former NPR reporter about his time covering Latin America, has great humor, vivid descriptions of people and places, and most of all, excellent storytelling. Each person we meet as we accompany Gerry on his journey, often to places destroyed by war, drugs, poverty, and despair, becomes alive to the reader. Every place he goes and person he encounters is unique and Gerry brings them to life with great specificity. It's a lively story, full of life and ...more
Sasha
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I first would like to state that I received this book through the goodreads giveaway. I feel it was a really interesting book and I enjoyed it. It is often that South America has been neglected in the news – media. I appreciate the pictures showing life that he added as an insert in the middle of the book. The author has written a beautifully honest recollection. I appreciate the honestly with which he wrote this book with all the detail in which he has explained certain life events. The way he ...more
Nicole
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it
The account of an NPR reporter and his personal and work adventures in Mexico, Haiti and Central America. It's nothing too special but if you are a fan of NPR and want to gain some insight into the life of a reporter, I recommend it.
Katryn
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Well-written memoir, but I would have liked a bit more history/context along with the personal anecdotes.
Peter Allen
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hair-raising account of the author's coverage of Latin America and Haiti from 2000 to 2004. And, yes, it includes ghosts. Fascinating account of a journalist's experiences.
Katie Pollet
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I'm a writer. My first novel, Home, in Pieces, was published by Piper Verlag, in Munich, in October, 2017. In German. Stay tuned for updates on English, Spanish and French editions.

To put food on the table I work as a documentary filmmaker, for a program called Americas Now. Before that I was a foreign correspondent in radio, with PRI's The World and NPR.

My memoir from my NPR years, Never the Hop
...more

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