AUDIO: Haiti’s reconstruction failed. What’s going to happen now?

From CBC Radio Sunday Edition: Jonathan Katz, author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster, discusses the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake and the country’s future. (Aug. 31, 2014)

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C-SPAN Video: Longform Journalism in the Age of Twitter

In May, the five nominees for the 2014 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism participated in a panel discussion on the future of longform journalism at the New York Public Library.

The panelists were:

Jonathan M. Katz, author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster

Fred Kaplan, author of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War

David Finkel, author of Thank You For Your Service

Sheri Fink, author of Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

Dan Fagin, author of Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation

and host James Hoge, former editor of Foreign Affairs

(click the title or the photo below to watch)

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Tavis Smiley interviews Jonathan M. Katz about Haiti’s post-quake reconstruction, and a massive cholera epidemic caused by UN troops sent to help the ailing country. The only full-time U.S. correspondent in Haiti during the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, Katz broke the story that UN soldiers were likely responsible for the epidemic nine months later. His book, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster, recently won the Overseas Press Club of America award for the best nonfiction book of the year. Aired May 13, 2014, on PBS.

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The Big Truck That Went By is now in paperback, on sale today toupatou (everywhere):

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Independents 

The new edition is updated throughout, with two special features not found in the hardcover edition:

  • A brand-new afterword about disaster and response since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
  • A discussion guide about the book’s major themes and topics, designed for classrooms and book clubs.

As well as four pages of maps and eight pages of photos. (The Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and hardcover editions are all still available too at the links above. The audio edition, which includes the new afterword, is here.)


And to launch the new edition, I’ll be reading and singing copies tomorrow  at Miami’s landmark Books & Books. Here’s info and directions:

Launch party!
Wednesday, April 2
Start time: 8 pm
Books & Books
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL

Na we la!

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Why Cholera Persists In Haiti Despite An Abundance Of Aid

NPR’s Linda Wertheimer interviewed me last week on Haiti’s sanitation and the cholera crisis, following my recent piece at The New Yorker. You can listen at the link above.

A makeshift latrine hangs over the water at the edge of Cite de Dieu, a slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. John W. Poole / NPR


UN Cholera Envoy: '€˜It was never the intention ... to bring cholera in Haiti'€

Three years after scientists say United Nations soldiers brought a killer strain of cholera to the Western Hemisphere, I sat down with the UN’€™s new point man on the crisis.

In a surprisingly candid interview, he answered questions about legal battles, recalcitrant donors, and fighting an epidemic that has killed 9,000 people and counting.


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AUDIO: The Big Truck That Went By, read by Jonathan Davis

Thrilled to announce that an audio version of The Big Truck That Went By is now on sale, read by the terrific Jonathan Davis.

Davis is one of Audible’s featured narrators, with over a hundred credits including Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos, Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, Brett Easton Ellis’ Glamaora, and thirty Star Wars titles for Lucasfilm.

He does an incredible job, bringing a whole new feeling and interpretation to the work. Even if you read and enjoyed it in print, I highly recommend hearing his version as well. (There’s a sample on the Amazon page too.)


The Celebrity as Hero: When Sean Penn Fought a Phantom Epidemic

I adapted a piece from the book into a larger discussion of celebrity and power in humanitarian aid, posted at Gawker.

It’s specifically about Sean Penn and a tragic, confusing incident in 2010, so much of the discussion has focused on him personally. But as I try to indicate in the piece, the subject is much bigger than any one guy. With the ever-deeper infusion of Hollywood into global politics (look up "Children, Invisible" for starters), it gets more relevant by the day. Have a look:

(read the whole thing at Gawker)

Not in Haiti

Not a tent camp