BookBrowse Reviews The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer

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The Life You Can Save

Acting Now to End World Poverty

by Peter Singer

The Life You Can Save
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2009, 224 pages
    Sep 2010, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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About this Book



'This is the right time to ask yourself: What should I be doing to help?'

The Life You Can Save is about the billions of people starving, suffering, and dying because of poverty and how we can and should help them without suffering ourselves.

Singer's focus is the people who live in extreme poverty as the World Bank defines it:

Those ... "not having enough income to meet the most basic human needs for adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation, health care or education ... The number of people whose income puts them under this poverty line [of living under $1.25 a day] is ...1.4 billion ..."

If people could be counted on to react to his alarming statistics and descriptions of unnecessary suffering and death with a sense of urgency and generosity, Singer could have written a pamphlet or relied on his website to present statistics on world poverty, outline his formulae for ethical giving, and provide links to organizations ...

*An obstetric fistula is a severe medical condition in which a hole (fistula) develops between either the bladder and the vagina or the rectum and the vagina, as a result of a difficult childbirth or other trauma such as rape or gynecological cancer.  Now uncommon in the developed world due to improvements in obstetrical care, obstetric fistulas are still a significant problem in the developing world.  Those who have read Abraham Verghese's Cutting For Stone, in which one of the characters makes a name for himself through his innovative treatments of obstetric fistulas in Ethiopian women, will be familiar with the social stigma that comes with this painful and debilitating condition.

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