If you are looking to know more about global poverty and modern international issues, the list below will give you a good starting point. Enjoy your reading!
1. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn) – Gender Equality
In their latest publication, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn captivate readers with accounts of women across the developing world. The struggles of these women are devastating and immense: more women have been murdered due to their gender than people killed in all of the 20th century genocides combined. Yet, amongst the murder, sexual assault and misogyny that so many women still face in regions characterized by poverty, Kristof and WuDunn have uncovered stories of resilience and hope. Tellingly, the struggle for gender equality simultaneously remains the paramount moral struggle of the 21st century, as well as the greatest source of optimism for the future.
2. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Tracy Kidder) – Public Health
In a non-fiction biography, Tracy Kidder illuminates the industrious philanthropist and physician Paul Farmer and his transformative work fighting tuberculosis in Haiti. Harvard-educated and a MacArthur “genius,” Farmer works tirelessly as an advocate for those most in need of modern medicine. Intricately and beautifully, Mountains Beyond Mountains conveys the dire medical needs of those living in abject poverty while also illuminating the radical change that can stem from one person.
3. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Katherine Boo) – Global Poverty
Having lived in Bombay’s Annawadi slum for three years, Katherine Boo’s newest work illuminates the lives of those who live on the edge of traditional poverty and widespread globalization, a precarious position unique to the 21st century and India. The narrative, which follows the struggles and triumphs of the slum’s residents, uncovers the grace and poignancy in those too often forgotten, those whose real, daily struggles stretch beyond the reach of the Western imagination.
4. The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa (Deborah Brautigam) – Chinese Politics in Africa
Deborah Brautigam’s latest book on global poverty demystifies the recent upsurge in Chinese aid throughout Africa. The account, which addresses the tendentious, ongoing conversation revolving around the reality of the Chinese involvement, addresses the surplus of opinions concerning the nature of such aid. Brautigam dismisses myths and underscores facts, providing a lucid account of Chinese aid. Instead of simplifying the conversation to a discussion of merely advantageous economics, Brautigam provides intelligent and interesting insights into China as an unexpected philanthropic force.
5. The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (Paul Collier) – Global Poverty
Written by one of the world’s foremost experts on African economies, Paul Collier transforms the traditional way in which readers think about global poverty and aid. Collier’s solutions, many of which revolve around empowerment and domestic sustainability, captivate and motivate. Imbued with a wealth of information, The Bottom Billion is an essential text for anyone involved in the struggle against global poverty.
– Anna Purcell