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

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Macmillan, Jan 8, 2013 - History - 306 pages
3 Reviews

PEN Literary Award Finalist

On 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - breic - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jcbrunner - LibraryThing

The contrast between Haiti and the Dominican Republic has already been a case study in Jared Diamond's book Collapse. Since then, besides the political turmoil, Haiti has been hit by a devastating ... Read full review


One The End
Two Love Theme from Titanic
Three Blan and Nèg
Four The Crossroads
In Louisville
Five Spoiled Corn
Nine Sugar Land
Miracle Falls
Ten Face to Face
Eleven A Gut Feeling
Twelve Cardboard Palace
Thirteen All Together Now
Epilogue Memwa

Six Bon Dola
Seven The Governor
Eight When I Get Older

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About the author (2013)

JONATHAN KATZ is the 2010 recipient of the Medill Medal of Courage in Journalism and the 2012 winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for this book. He has written for the AP for six years, reporting on the Mexican drug wars, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the battle that is Washington politics. He was stationed in Haiti for nearly three and a half years and was the only American reporter in the country when the earthquake hit on January 12, 2010. He routinely appears as an expert on Haiti for television and radio, with interviews on ABC news, BBC World Service, WNBC, NBC Nightly News, NPR, CBC Television, and Democracy Now. Currently he's an editor for the Associated Press based in New York.

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