The Third Wave offers an unvarnished but ultimately uplifting account of Alison Thompson's day-to-day experiences as a relief worker in devastated and dangerous places around the globe. Thompson's memoir begins on the morning of September, 11, 2001 as she rollerblades toward the World Trade Center through panicked crowds fleeing the area. Thompson administers CPR to an unconscious man, then pushes on:
"Deeper into the smoke, I saw an arm elegantly pointing out of the rubble toward me. I began ripping at the chunks of cement, reaching in to yank the person free. When I pulled on it, only the arm came with me - there wasn't a body attached."
Still, Thompson "[feels] compelled to push farther into the darkness": "I saw pieces of bodies scattered about like roadkill and collected them into a pile.... I found some trash bags in a...
Beyond the Book
In 2007 Alison Thompson made a documentary film, also called The Third Wave, about her time volunteering in Sri Lanka for almost a year. The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, was also shown in the Presidential jury screening at Cannes in 2008.
Alison Thompson Today
Thompson discovered that volunteering changes lives and now works full-time as a volunteer. After Sri Lanka she worked with Sean Penn in Haiti operating a displaced persons camp, and in 2010 she received The Order of Australia, the highest civilian medal. She is a co-founder of We...