The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster

The Big Truck That Went By How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster PEN Literary Award FinalistOn January the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck the nation least prepared to handle it Jonathan M Katz the only full time Amer

  • Title: The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster
  • Author: Jonathan M. Katz
  • ISBN: 9781137278975
  • Page: 431
  • Format: Paperback
  • PEN Literary Award FinalistOn January 12, 2010, the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck the nation least prepared to handle it Jonathan M Katz, the only full time American news correspondent in Haiti, was inside his house when it buckled along with hundreds of thousands of others In this visceral, authoritative first hand account, Katz cPEN Literary Award FinalistOn January 12, 2010, the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck the nation least prepared to handle it Jonathan M Katz, the only full time American news correspondent in Haiti, was inside his house when it buckled along with hundreds of thousands of others In this visceral, authoritative first hand account, Katz chronicles the terror of that day, the devastation visited on ordinary Haitians, and how the world reacted to a nation in need.More than half of American adults gave money for Haiti, part of a monumental response totaling 16.3 billion in pledges But three years later the relief effort has foundered It s most basic promises to build safer housing for the homeless, alleviate severe poverty, and strengthen Haiti to face future disasters remain unfulfilled.The Big Truck That Went By presents a sharp critique of international aid that defies today s conventional wisdom that the way wealthy countries give aid makes poor countries seem irredeemably hopeless, while trapping millions in cycles of privation and catastrophe Katz follows the money to uncover startling truths about how good intentions go wrong, and what can be done to make aid smarter With coverage of Bill Clinton, who came to help lead the reconstruction movie star aid worker Sean Penn Wyclef Jean Haiti s leaders and people alike, Katz weaves a complex, darkly funny, and unexpected portrait of one of the world s most fascinating countries The Big Truck That Went By is not only a definitive account of Haiti s earthquake, but of the world we live in today.

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    1 thought on “The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster”

    1. Author Jonathan Katz takes no prisoners nor pulls any punches in his extraordinary work on Haiti. Katz was the only full time America journalist living in Haiti at the time of the disastrous 2010 earthquake that was centered beneath the major population center of the country.Haiti is more than misunderstood and impoverished. It is a lesson in bad intentions, mismanagement, corruption, arrogance, and host of other problems unlike any other place. Then there are the Haitians themselves! The Intern [...]

    2. I wanted to review this book briefly because I think it might have been overlooked when it first came out several years ago. Written by Jonathan Katz, an AP journalist stationed in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the book chronicles the devastation of the hurricane and earthquake that nearly destroyed Haiti in 2010. The post-disaster images were widely seen of course, as were the famous people showing up in front of cameras to convince us of their sincere support (see Bill Clinton, Bono, Sean [...]

    3. MSM reporter Katz has written a very misleading book, an apology for the latest stage of imperial plunder of and aggression against Haiti disguised as criticism of NGO "incompetence." It's yet another instance of a spokesman for the conquerors of Haiti insisting his paymasters made immense fortunes while plundering and exploiting the citizenry and their resources "by accident", when they really meant -- Katz never offers any evidence for this supposition -- to be benevolent and magnanimous savio [...]

    4. Disclaimer: I received an ARC (Advanced review copy) of this title. My review is reflective of the ARC.It has been said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and nowhere do we see the truth of this more vividly than in Jonathan M. Katz's The Big Truck That Went By. Katz shines a bright, unforgiving light on the bureaucracy, politics, and infighting between NGO's that often due more harm than good over the long term with their emergency response to massive disasters.The earthquake [...]

    5. Great read! It is such a compelling story to me- I do earthquake engineering, so I feel like I know this issue from a geology and engineering perspective. But I really have no understanding of how the humans factor in. It was eye-opening to read about the history of the island (I seem to have only learned bits and pieces), the influence of Americans and our particular notable figures like the Clintons and Sean Penn, and especially the world of disaster and humanitarian aid.I was really impressed [...]

    6. I have more compliments than criticism for this book, which is huge considering my fascination with the subject matter - what happens during and after the initial world response to a huge natural disaster in any country, but especially one like Haiti. Despite some issues, I believe this book should be standard reading for people who are considering or are actively involved in post-disaster work. I mean at any level - on the ground, administratively back home, donating from their IPhone, etc. Wha [...]

    7. By Robert ColeIt is three years since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti. A new book by Jonathan Katz suggests that the ensuing international aid effort gave the stricken the Caribbean country all possible assistance, short of actual help. He suggests, indeed, that the outsiders did more harm than good.Haiti’s crisis plucked at the world’s heart strings. Bill Clinton, Sean Penn and Angelina Jolie were among the famous names who stepped up as advocates for the dispossessed. Katz reports th [...]

    8. The author, Katz, was an AP reporter in Haiti during and after the 2010 earthquake that killed over 100,000 people. This book tells the story of the earthquake and about the next 18 months, through the subsequent presidential election. The story of the earthquake itself is quite good, and one gets a good feeling for the situation in Haiti, as well as for the life of an AP reporter. However, the book declines in quality toward the end, especially with the author's detailed description of his repo [...]

    9. This is one of the best non-fiction books I've read. The author is a journalist who was covering Haiti for the AP at the time of the earthquake in 2010. The house he was living in was destroyed, so he was sharing the experience of many earthquake survivors right after the quake. In the book, he talks about the immediate aftermath but also examines the international response and the way aid money was used - and not used - in the year following the event. He follows the dollars - like the ones I d [...]

    10. I found this book fascinating and infuriating. It provides a detailed account of Haiti during and after the earthquake and how aid organizations made a bad situation much worse. I also recommend this article about The Red Cross: propublica/article/hoThe ending of the book is much better than the rest. The account of the chorera epidemic and the ensuing cover-up as well as the presidential election is great. I was far less interested in the author's personal life. I wish he had left that part out [...]

    11. This is a fascinating and important book on many levels. It is both an entertaining and sometimes suspenseful personal account of living and reporting in Haiti during a series of crises, and an insightful examination of the advantages and pitfalls of foreign aid - both from governments and nonprofits. As someone who lived in Gaza and observed its own version of what Katz describes as the "blan bubble" (like Iraq's Green Zone), so many of the dysfunctions he observed rang true to me. We keep repe [...]

    12. Jonathan Katz was an AP journalist living in Port au Prince at the time of the earthquake. First hand account of the quake and the two years following the quake. He reports the events of the quake and goes on to follow the vagaries of reconstruction failures and the cholera epidemic. I thought his presentation reflected exceptional access to people and places in Haiti and was further enriched by his previous several years reporting from Hispanola. Enlightening read for anyone who wonders why all [...]

    13. This book is excellent. It provides a lot of really interesting information about a disaster that I knew little about (2010 earthquake), a country that I knew even less about (Haiti), and the recovery process that I knew absolutely nothing about. I will warn you that you should be prepared to feel appalled, offended, and depressed on pretty much every level (the international response was just ugh). But also prepare to be educated. By the end, I had renewed faith in the state of modern journalis [...]

    14. I give this book five stars for its up-close perspective on what happened in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, the tragic ineffectiveness of the substantial amount of money donated (well, “pledged” may be a better word) and the author’s willingness to propose changes to the way disaster relief is provided. I am not sure I agree with all the author’s prescriptions but they are thought provoking and, given the long-term failure of foreign aid to achieve its objectives, should be considered. [...]

    15. 4.5 StarsIf you ever think of Haiti it's probably as that unstable & poor country in the Carribbean that have coups and exiled dictators. Every so often the U.S. shows a mild interest in it and either invade it, give aid or sanctions. I knew it mostly from my years of living in S. Florida from all the times a raft full of Haitian refugees would turn up on shore only to be promptly returned to somewhere (maybe Guantanamo & eventually back to Haiti). Which would lead to great big protests [...]

    16. If it wasn’t for the earthquake of “April 2015” I would not know about the book by Jonathan M. Katz, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. I heard about the book and was immediately fascinated by the title. I wanted to read the book but it wasn’t available in Nepal, most stores I inquired did not even knew that the book existed. I finally got hold of the e-book and started going through the book. (It happens to be my first e-book as I co [...]

    17. *I received this book via First Reads giveaways - Thank you!!*What a heartbreakingly necessary book. This should be required reading for anybody concerned with international relations, humanitarian aid/NGOs/UN missions, or really the well-being of our fellow man in general. I helped with a Haiti fundraiser through my undergrad's campus ministry. I know we sent our collection to a Catholic organization based in Haiti, but that is the extent of my knowledge. With the seeming rise of truly devasta [...]

    18. With the self-confessed eye of an outsider, Katz tackles the task of bringing Haiti to life – wracked by earthquake and held hostage by NGOs as it is. Katz's work tracing the country's outbreak of cholera back to a division of Nepalese UN workers is particularly strong, and sums up the uneasy relationship forged between a vulnerable country and a foreign aid agenda left unchecked.Certainly a recommended read, with my only criticism the slowness that came with tracing some of the behind-the-sce [...]

    19. Okay, I need to pull together my thoughts about this book, so that I can move on from it. This book grabbed me from the first few pages, but about a quarter of the way through, maybe earlier, I started having mixed feelings about it. In the end, I'd rate it a 3.5, but have rounded up to 4. It is a book I would definitely recommend to people wanting to know more about the 2010 earthquake -- the reasons it was so devastating as well as the way it was (mis)handled by both Haitian and foreign author [...]

    20. This is an important, but ultimately very flawed, book. The author was the only western journalist living in Haiti when the earthquake struck in 2010, and so has a unique perspective to describe both the quake and its aftermath to American readers. I learned a lot about Haiti, and its institutional issues that pre-dated the earthquake--for example that the ruling Duvalier family stole as much as $800 million, and that one-sixth of Haiti's population fled during their 30-year rule. The author's c [...]

    21. Interesting, since it's by an American journalist who was living in Haiti as the earthquake struck. The book is a mix of recollections of the authors time there, the events that occurred during/post-earthquake, and part history and analysis of actions of the US/UN/NGO's/groups acting on the ground. While the recollections are interesting, they often feel like an act of storytelling, with endearing but often racist depictions of Haiti and Haitians(Aside from some friends). His depiction of people [...]

    22. PLEASE SEE COMMENTS FROM AUTHOR BELOW.I don't understand why the author thinks we care about his difficulties getting deodorant in Haiti after the earthquake. If he had to do "creative nonfiction" then he should have focused on a local family instead of on himself. The subtitle suggests a bigger book than the rambling memoir the author delivers. He does have some good observations and insights about what went wrong with the international response, but there's a lack of depth. He gets details abo [...]

    23. Jonathan M. Katz in The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster, tells moving stories of survival in the face of the 2010 earthquake that flattened the capital of Port-au-Prince.Underneath the stories of survival and perseverance is a seething anger at the international celebrity aid community, past Haitian presidents, foreign governments who played a role directly or indirectly in making the problems of the average Haitian worse, rather than better, d [...]

    24. I've been meaning to get to this book for quite a while. It was an enthralling read, and demonstrated a great deal of insight as to the root causes of the earthquake disaster and the political and economic levers of the relief/reconstruction disaster. Some of his criticism was veiled and understated, and I tended to like this style (though I usually go for the jugular) - the concern would be that some readers might go away thinking that everyone was operating based on the best of intentions. I f [...]

    25. A well-written, thorough explanation of what happened during the response and recovery in Haiti. He makes a convincing case for better coordination with the local government, and makes a strong criticism of the outside agencies. One thing that kind of bugged me, though, is that he uses his reporter's privilege to be detached a little too much. Given how much he explains about how aid worked, he really ought to also explain how aid ought to work better in a place like Haiti. With this kind of det [...]

    26. One of the best books about Haiti next to Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains. Katz understands and unpacks the complexity of Haiti without paternalizing the country and its people. He takes time to tell the rich history of a people that kicked out Napoleon. It's a must read for anyone seeking to do mission or development work in Haiti.

    27. Very interesting and important read. I think it would be easy to overwrite a book like this, but Katz does a really good job of letting a lot of the facts and events and people speak for themselves while also speaking for himself as a firsthand observer, letting the story build from the information rather than trying to create a narrative and fitting the information into neat little storylines.

    28. This is a hard read for anyone who works or wants to work in foreign aid. Haiti is one of the most horrifying cautionary tales of how foreign aid can destroy rather than help and Katz has a unique perspective given his outsider/insider status in Haiti at the time during and after the earthquake. My complaint (the only one really in a book very thoughtfully and critically written) is that he spends maybe a page suggesting what we might do better next time. As a journalist, I can understand he mig [...]

    29. A book about the darker side of humanitarian workt the recent sex scandals.but the scandal of too much money, too much political interference, too many conditions, too many special interests, too much sewage and too much neglect of systemic issues facing poorer and neglected countries. There were some parts of the book that felt disjointed and could have given examples of how people overcame problems. It also felt a little overly critical/smug of work that really dedicated people inside and outs [...]

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