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

Jonathan M. Katz. Palgrave McMillan, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-230-34187-6
Former AP correspondent, now editor, Katz was the only American reporter on the ground when the devastating earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. In his first book, he details the repercussions of the disaster and the vicissitudes of international aid, providing insight into Haitian history and society. Profiles of former president Rene Préval, Bill Clinton, Sean Penn, and Wyclef Jean emphasize both the gifts and limitations of the people who had the potential to make a significant difference after the earthquake. Katz stresses the value of international aid and the danger of NGOs assuming that Haiti can't govern itself: "It's true that we don't always know what locals will do with that assistance," he notes, "but that's the point. It's up to them." Bloated promises characterized postquake donations: by the end of 2010, $2.43 billion of a promised $16.3 billion had been delivered; 93% of this money stayed with the U.N. or NGOs, and only 1% ($24 million) was given to the Haitian government. Katz debunks the assumption that a disaster leads to social disintegration or rioting and observes how media sensationalism prompted unwise giving. Agent: David M. Larabell, David Black Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/05/2012
Release date: 01/08/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 314 pages - 978-1-137-27897-5
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-137-32395-8
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