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

Author(s): Jonathan M. Katz

Current Affairs & Politics

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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"A top-notch account of Haiti's recent history, including the January 2010 earthquake, from the only American reporter stationed in the country at the time ...An eye-opening, trailblazing expose."--"Kirkus Reviews" (starred)

"Katz was the only American reporter on the ground when the devastating earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010...Debunks the assumption that a disaster leads to social disintegration or rioting and observes how media sensationalism prompted unwise giving."--"Publishers Weekly"

"With lucidity and great humanity, Jonathan Katz has written THE book on Haiti's devastating earthquake and its bungled reconstruction. For anyone who wants to know why the "international community" can't fix anything anymore, but who still hope to find solutions to global problems, this book is a must-read." -- Jon Lee Anderson, bestselling author of Che Guevera: a Revolutionary Life

"A brilliant piece of writing... the best description of living through the Haiti quake I've read anywhere."--Jonathan Alter

"Katz is a great storyteller who enmeshes the reader in a lively web of history, incident, and examples of humanity pushing through disaster, hard luck, iniquity, and triumph to muck it up all over again."--The judges of the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award

"Beautifully-written, brave, and riveting, "The Big Truck That Went By" tells the devastating story of the post-earthquake reconstruction effort in Haiti. Weaving together his personal experiences with the knowledge gained from his intensive investigative report, Katz offers us an autopsy of a global relief effort gone wrong. But the book also offers us a moving portrait of the courage, humor, and vision of the Haitians he worked with, offering a glimpse of the possibilities for a different future. Anyone seeking to understand Haiti's current situation, as well as the broader impasses of our current model of aid, should read this book."--Laurent Dubois, author of "Haiti: The Aftershocks of H

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.

General Fields

  • : 9780230341876
  • : Palgrave Macmillan
  • : Palgrave Macmillan
  • : 0.001
  • : January 2013
  • : 240mm X 159mm X 36mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : February 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jonathan M. Katz
  • : Hardback
  • : 363.3495097294
  • : 320