Over his long career, Kidder’s writing has been prolific and outstanding. The Soul of a New Machine—a book celebrated for its insight into the world of high-tech corporate America— earned him a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1982. Other bestselling works include House (1985), Among Schoolchildren (1989), Old Friends (1993) and Home Town (1999).
His enormously influential book, Mountains Beyond Mountains (2003) captures two global health crises, tuberculosis and AIDS, through the eyes of a single-minded physician bent on improving the health of some of the poorest people on the planet.
The story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a major force in revolutionizing international health, is a gripping and inspiring account one man’s efforts to establish clinics and hospitals—his compassion for the poor, his inner circle of true believers and, ultimately, his success in helping stem the tide of new HIV and TB infections in Haiti. Farmer is the founder of Zanmi Lasante (Creole for Partners in Health), a non-governmental organization that is the only health-care provider in the Plateau Central in Haiti.
[Mountains Beyond Mountains] “remind[s] us that we’re implicated in all the problems [Farmer] is working to solve…His complicated humanity only makes him more like the rest of us in our shortcomings—and leaves us asking why we all aren’t a little more like him in our virtues” (Newsweek). In his latest book, Strength in What Remains, Kidder delivers the humbling story of Deo, a young man whose will to survive and love of knowledge take him from the horrors of genocide in Burundi to Columbia University and then on to medical school—a brilliant testament to the power of second chances and an inspiring account of one immigrant’s remarkable American journey. Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health also play a pivotal role in Deo’s story, as they inspire him to transform the nightmares of his deeply impoverished and war torn country into the dream of establishing his own clinic in Burundi. Strength in What Remains was a finalist for both 2009 The National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Award.
Born in New York City in 1945, Kidder spent his childhood in Oyster Bay, Long Island, where his father was a lawyer and his mother a teacher. He attended Harvard where he earned a BA in 1967. From June 1968 until June 1969, he served as a lieutenant in Vietnam for which he was awarded a Bronze Star, an experience chronicled in his memoir My Detachment.
Following the war, Kidder obtained his MA from the University of Iowa, where he attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. It was there that Kidder met Atlantic Monthly Contributing Editor Dan Wakefield, who helped him get his first assignment for the magazine as a freelance writer.
Over the years, Kidder’s articles have covered a broad array of topics, ranging from railroads, to energy, architecture, the environment among others. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Granta and The New York Times Book Review and The New York Times OpEd page.
Kidder lives with his wife in western Massachusetts and in Maine.
- Strength in What Remains (Random House, 2009)
- My Detachment (Random House, 2005)
- Mountains Beyond Mountains (Random House, 2003)
- Home Town (Random House, 1999)
- Old Friends (Houghton Mifflin, 1993)
- Among Schoolchildren (Houghton Mifflin, 1989)
- House (Houghton Mifflin, 1985)
- The Soul of a New Machine (Little, Brown, 1981)
2009 Finalist, National Book Critics Circle award for Strength in What Remains
2009 Books for a Better Life Award Winner for Strength in What Remains
2009 Christopher Award Winner for Strength in What Remains
1989 Robert F. Kennedy Award Winner for Among School Children
1982 National Book Award Winner for Soul of a New Machine
1982 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Soul of a New Machine