On January 12, 2010, the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck the nation least prepared to handle one. 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 first-hand account, Katz takes readers inside the terror of that day, the devastation visited on ordinary Haitians, and through the monumental--yet misbegotten--rescue effort that followed.
More than half of American adults gave money for Haiti, part of a global response that reached $16.3 billion in pledges. But three years later the effort has foundered. Its most important promises--to rebuild safer cities, alleviate severe poverty, and strengthen Haiti to face future disasters--remain unfulfilled. How did so much generosity amount to so little? What went wrong?
The Big Truck That Went By presents a hard hitting investigation into international aid, finding that the way wealthy countries give today 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."
Reporting at the side of Bill Clinton, Wyclef Jean, Sean Penn, Haiti's leaders and people, Katz also creates 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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