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Book Review

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International Third World Studies Journal and Review



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Occasionally a biography is written about an individual who is "cut" from a different piece of cloth than the of the rest of us. The Man Who Tried to Save the World: The Dangerous Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Fred Cuny is such a biography. Scott Anderson. a war correspondent who has covered numerous connects around the world, tells the story of this most extraordinary humanitarian relief expert. Fred Cuny considered the interests of strangers to be more important than those of his own and eventually gave his life in the pursuit of rendering assistance to those who most needed it. Some readers may have difficulty calling Cuny a hero because he left his son with his parents so that he could satisfy his "higher" calling, but Cuny was an extraordinary man who faced an extraordinary moral dilemma: "Do I stay to watch my son's basketball game, or do I go back out there where people arc counting on me. where if I don't go another five, six. one thousand-pick a number-people are going to die?" Although The Man Who Tried to Save the World is not a case of hero worship nor a treatise on social justice, it docs portray a man who felt deeply about the injustices perpetrated against the poorer peoples of the world and who worked on their behalf. Unlike the writings on justice by theoreticians like John Rawls and Robert Nozick and the conduct by activists like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Anderson's book portrays Fred Cuny as a practitioner- a man of immense practical ability and drive, who possessed a vision of and how it should work in the world.

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