Saturday, December 25, 2010


For anyone interested in 3rd world aid (medical or otherwise), the following are a great resource. Granted, they are largely of one mind regarding the big picture, but it's hard to argue with people of their experience.
As I find them, I will post additional books of interest on the 'Global Health / Surgery Books' page.

  • The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity - Maren 1997.
    A forceful and disturbing portrait of Western intervention in Somalia, plus an investigation of underscrutinized aid foundations.
  • Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown - Theroux, 2004.
    "Africa is materially more decrepit than it was when I first knew it, hungrier, poorer, less educated, more pessimistic, more corrupt, and you can't tell the politicians from the witch doctors."
  • The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good - Easterly, 2006.
    An attack on the tragic waste, futility, and hubris of the West's efforts to date to improve the lot of the so-called developing world, with constructive suggestions on how to move forward. Interesting article from the New York Times (12/20/2010) demonstrating much of what Easterly condemns.
  • The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working - Calderisi, 2006.
    Argues that many of Africa's problems are related to such internal factors as market mismanagement, anti-business sentiments, and fatalistic African family values, in an account that proposes radical solutions to shortcomings in foreign aid and debt relief.
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Diamond, 2008.
    "The history of interactions among disparate peoples is what shaped the modern world through conquest, epidemics, and genocide. These collisions created reverberations that have still not died down after many centuries, and that are actively continuing in some of the world's most troubled areas today." I find it fascinating depressing that this historical "shaping" still so greatly affects the needs of my colleagues in medically-underserved countries.
  • Caring for the World: A Guidebook to Global Health Opportunities - Drain, 2008.
    Assembles the stories, experience, and advice of prominent global health practitioners in this guidebook for health care workers who are interested in - or already are - improving the lives of people throughout the world. Serves best, I think, as a primer for those starting their involvement in this field.