EMERGENCY SEX AND OTHER DESPERATE MEASURES: A True Story from Hell on Earth

Kenneth Cain, Author, Heidi Postlewait, Author, Andrew Thomson, Author . Miramax $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4013-5201-1

Ah, to be young, Western and ambitious in a war zone. It's the early 1990s, and Cain and Postlewait are two American U.N. employees sent to Cambodia to help the country rebuild itself after two decades of war and genocide. Thomson is a New Zealand–trained doctor who has already been there for a short while, patching up limbs shattered by land mines and looking for a corner of the world to save. The three meet during the U.N.'s efforts to install democracy in one of the unlikeliest places. Idealism, financial need, thirst for adventure and the desire to be a part of history bring them there, and the high they get from doing their work keeps them flitting around the globe, looking for hot spots to help cool down. The trio's early success in Southeast Asia is only added encouragement, as they follow their own intertwining paths through the wars and killings of the 1990s. From Cambodia, Somalia and Haiti, to Bosnia, Rwanda and Liberia, Cain, Postlewait and Thomson find death, sex, bureaucratic betrayal, sex, liberation from their pasts and seamy, regret-tainted sex amid the body parts and rotting flesh. Infuriating, heart-wrenching and well written, their tale is compelling both as a bottom-up look at U.N. peacekeeping efforts during the 1990s and a testimonial from the people who put their lives and sanity on the line for the sake of a simple idea—peace. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW . (June 9)

Forecast: This memoir could appeal to under-35 Peace Corps volunteers and other young idealists. The authors will promote the book in New York and Washington, D.C.

Reviewed on: 03/08/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-09-190886-7
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