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A Mighty Purpose: How Jim Grant Sold the World on Saving Its Children
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Other Press 2015
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The inspiring story of how the iconoclastic humanitarian Jim Grant succeeded in saving the lives of tens of millions of children through his extraordinary ability to win over world leaders
 
Nicholas Kristof hailed Jim Grant as a man who “probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Mao, and Stalin combined.” Nominated by President Jimmy Carter to head UNICEF, Grant ran the United Nations agency from 1980 to 1995 and became the most powerful advocate for children the world has ever seen. To ensure that even children trapped by war received health care and immunizations, he brokered humanitarian ceasefires by exploiting the political self-interests of presidents and warlords alike. Grant at first met fierce resistance at the United Nations and in his own organization, and some thought his ideas were crazy and dangerous. But as he kept toppling obstacle after obstacle, he eventually won over even his most stubborn detractors. Grant spearheaded a historic surge in worldwide childhood immunization rates and launched a movement that profoundly altered the face of global health and international development.
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Street Date:
10/13/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781590516041
ASIN:
B00S3OVUG8
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APA Citation (style guide)

Adam Fifield. (2015). A Mighty Purpose: How Jim Grant Sold the World on Saving Its Children. Other Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Adam Fifield. 2015. A Mighty Purpose: How Jim Grant Sold the World On Saving Its Children. Other Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Adam Fifield, A Mighty Purpose: How Jim Grant Sold the World On Saving Its Children. Other Press, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Adam Fifield. A Mighty Purpose: How Jim Grant Sold the World On Saving Its Children. Other Press, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Adam Fifield’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Sun-Times, Village Voice, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was a staff writer. He is also the author of A Blessing Over Ashes (William Morrow, 2000), a memoir about his Cambodian foster brother. From 2007 to 2013, he served as the Deputy Director of Editorial and Creative Services at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
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shortDescription
The inspiring story of how the iconoclastic humanitarian Jim Grant succeeded in saving the lives of tens of millions of children through his extraordinary ability to win over world leaders
 
Nicholas Kristof hailed Jim Grant as a man who “probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Mao, and Stalin combined.” Nominated by President Jimmy Carter to head UNICEF, Grant ran the United Nations agency from 1980 to 1995 and became the most powerful advocate for children the world has ever seen. To ensure that even children trapped by war received health care and immunizations, he brokered humanitarian ceasefires by exploiting the political self-interests of presidents and warlords alike. Grant at first met fierce resistance at the United Nations and in his own organization, and some thought his ideas were crazy and dangerous. But as he kept toppling obstacle after obstacle, he eventually won over even his most...
isOwnedByCollections
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title
A Mighty Purpose
fullDescription
The inspiring story of how the iconoclastic humanitarian Jim Grant succeeded in saving the lives of tens of millions of children through his extraordinary ability to win over world leaders
 
Nicholas Kristof hailed Jim Grant as a man who “probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Mao, and Stalin combined.” Nominated by President Jimmy Carter to head UNICEF, Grant ran the United Nations agency from 1980 to 1995 and became the most powerful advocate for children the world has ever seen. To ensure that even children trapped by war received health care and immunizations, he brokered humanitarian ceasefires by exploiting the political self-interests of presidents and warlords alike. Grant at first met fierce resistance at the United Nations and in his own organization, and some thought his ideas were crazy and dangerous. But as he kept toppling obstacle after obstacle, he eventually won over even his most stubborn detractors. Grant spearheaded a historic surge in worldwide childhood immunization rates and launched a movement that profoundly altered the face of global health and international development.
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Fifield recounts Grant's journeys from Cambodia to Somalia, navigating treacherous political landscapes to deliver aid to children and their families. Admired for his ability to mesmerize politicians, government bureaucrats, warlords--anyone who might stand in the way of his mission to deliver food and medicine to children--Grant quadrupled childhood immunization rates and is estimated to have saved tens of millions of children."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jeff Gammage, author of China Ghosts: My Daughter's Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood
      • content: "Adam Fifield has written an extraordinary book about an extraordinary man who turned violent enemies into willing allies to save the lives of millions of impoverished children around the world. The name and work of Jim Grant, 'the Mad American,' has somehow been lost to history, but Fifield resurrects his life and impact in a story that shifts from the comfortable boardrooms of the United Nations to stifling grass huts in Africa to the frozen winter streets of Beijing. Many people know UNICEF only from its door-to-door collections at Halloween, but the full account is so much more complicated and compelling. In A Mighty Purpose, Fifield deploys skills of deep reporting and nuanced story-telling to deliver a book that's all treat and no trick."
      • premium: False
      • source: Irwin Redlener, MD, President and Co-Founder of the Children's Health Fund
      • content: "Jim Grant's successful quest to save millions of the world's poorest children from succumbing to common and treatable diseases is an extraordinary story of obsessive, unstoppable determination. Grant took on the deadliest childhood diseases affecting kids living with extreme adversity. But sometimes his biggest obstacles were the international bureaucrats who disagreed with Grant's strategies and tried to marginalize his efforts. This is a terrific read and inspiring story!"
      • premium: False
      • source: Bill Gates on James P. Grant
      • content: "A remarkable visionary and results-driven leader . . . Grant's work is especially inspirational when you realize that he achieved success despite a world recession and global debt crisis in the 1980s. We can draw lessons from his leadership now, in our own tough economic times."
      • premium: False
      • source: Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF
      • content: "Jim Grant's contributions to the world's children are unparalleled. To the astonishment of many, he inspired a sweeping global focus and investment in child survival, resulting in historic drops of preventable child deaths that continue to this day. Whether negotiating cease-fires between warring factions to bring aid to children, or convincing leaders to carve money from their budgets for children's health, he galvanized a beleaguered world to put children first."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times Book Review
      • content: "This is a special book, maybe a great one."
      • premium: False
      • source: Samuel G. Freedman, author of Small Victories
      • content: "With A Blessing Over Ashes, Adam Fifield has written a Huckleberry Finnfor the modern age."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 1, 2015
        A biographical commemoration of a powerful champion of children's health. Under the 15-year directorship of James Grant (1922-1995), the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund grew into a "propulsive global advocate" for children throughout the world. Fifield (A Blessing over Ashes: The Remarkable Odyssey of My Unlikely Brother, 2000), a journalist who served as deputy director of editorial and creative services at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, interviewed more than 80 people, including Grant's colleagues and family members, for this richly detailed life of a man who "turned red tape into ribbons," persuaded dictators and tyrants to accede to his requests, and worked obsessively to achieve his goals. Grant, writes the author, "radiated a messianic zeal" fueled by "his undeniable moral urgency." Although some found him insufferable-"an agitator, a pest, an irritant extraordinaire"-they discovered that opposing him "was like wrestling with an angel." Throughout his tenure, Grant worked tirelessly to achieve two goals: to spread the use of oral hydration powder (a simple mixture of sugar and salt) to combat diarrhea, the greatest killer of children in developing countries; and to increase immunization for polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. He had no qualms about negotiating with dictators in Haiti, Sudan, Central America, Syria, and Turkey. "Recruiting despots became a Grant trademark," writes Fifield. "It is much easier to work through a dictatorship" than to deal with committees, Grant found. "Things just get done." Nor did battles, military coups, or natural disasters deter him. During El Salvador's "vicious civil war," Grant brokered "Days of Tranquility," a truce that allowed health workers to carry out immunizations. In 1989, he terrified a Sudanese general into protecting a train carrying food into the starving south. Sadly, liver cancer cut his career short. At his funeral, 2,500 people gathered to honor him; since then, he has been largely forgotten. Fifield ably brings him back into focus. This fine, engrossing portrait reveals Grant's unstoppable passion and remarkable achievements.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        June 1, 2015
        Jim Grant, head of UNICEF for 15 years, challenged global acceptance that children in impoverished nations would die of malnutrition and preventable disease. Nominated by President Carter in 1979, Grant transformed the organization, which had been created by the UN after WWII to help children in postwar Europe and Asia. He tapped into the UN's political and social influence to bring attention to the plight of children in underdeveloped nations and used his mission as a way to bolster the development of poor nations. Fifield recounts Grant's journeys from Cambodia to Somalia, navigating treacherous political landscapes to deliver aid to children and their families. His single-minded devotion and insistence on pushing past bureaucratic red tape was often viewed as recklessness and led to a financial scandal in the UNICEF Kenya office, tarnishing the image of the organization. Admired for his ability to mesmerize politicians, government bureaucrats, warlordsanyone who might stand in the way of his mission to deliver food and medicine to childrenGrant quadrupled childhood immunization rates and is estimated to have saved tens of millions of children.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

subtitle
How Jim Grant Sold the World on Saving Its Children
popularity
14
publisher
Other Press
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