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Haiti Three Years After the Earthquake: New Books by Amy Wilentz and Jonathan Katz

Reviewed by Dr Dennis Rosen

Wilentz is unsparing in her praise of Dr. Megan Coffee, the infectious disease physician who came to Port au Prince a few weeks after the earthquake and has been there ever since, caring for patients with tuberculosis (and having met Dr. Coffee myself while there, I, too, was and remain immensely impressed by her selflessness and dedication). However, apart from Dr. Coffee, almost no one else escapes Wilentz’s critical eye unscathed, herself included. “All the outsiders who come to Haiti and come again, and never absolutely leave, are expats of a kind. What is it they get out of Haiti? This is the mystery I was trying to solve after all. What do I get out of Haiti? What draws me back, looked at unromantically?” Reading this gave me pause, and I confess to still struggling with how to answer that question, even now that a few weeks have passed since first reading this passage.