Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures by Kenneth Cain
A True Story From Hell On Earth

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Synopsis

A new kind of war requires a new kind of war story. This scorching, devastatingly honest memoir is a first-of-its-kind confession of love, friendship, and betrayal of ideals from civilians who volunteered to be on the front lines.

In the early 1990s, three young people attracted to UN peacekeeping for very different reasons cross paths in Cambodia. Heidi, a new York social worker on the run from a marriage gone bust, is looking for an adventure. Andrew is a young doctor seeking to save lives. Ken is fresh from Harvard Law and full of idealism.

The UN organizes Cambodia's first democratic elections, and Phnom Penh is the scene of wild parties, as the international community celebrates the end of the Cold War. There the three become friends for life.

Propelled by success in Cambodia, the US and UN sponsor peacekeeping missions to Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia. Ken and Heidi find themselves together in Somalia. They dance on their rooftop to Jimi Hendrix while helicopters buzz overhead so close they feel the heat of the exhaust. "You're listening to 99.9 FM MogadishuRockin' the Dish," American Armed Forces Radio announces, "Keep your head down and the volume up."

But after the infamous Black Hawk Down incident when eighteen US Army Rangers were killed in a firefight with Somali militias, a chain reaction of violence breaks loose. As the trio's missions unravel, their bond tightens. Andrew is sent to Haiti, to Bosnia, and then Rwanda where he finds Ken, investigating the mass grave of genocide. Heidi's journey is unforgettablea rare woman in a man's world of conflict and war.

The three friends' voices mingle to paint an indelible picture'suffused with tenderness and unexpected humorof life, love, and death in the world's most dangerous places. By day they struggle to bring order out of chaos; by night they use revelry, sex, each otherdesperate measures from faith to flesh and everything in betweento find a human connection in a terrifying world. Graphic, lyrical, and astonishingly urgent, Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures is a celebration of the strength of the human spiritand of the gritty power of friendship to keep you alive.

 

About Kenneth Cain

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Published June 9, 2004 by Miramax. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures

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The three-voiced memoir is a nice idea, but none of our narrators is a particularly skilled writer, all tend toward sentimentalism (Heidi: “The pure beauty of death is as impossible to describe as the birth of a child, the betrayal of a lover, the moment of orgasm”), and no one delivers any real ...

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An earnest report from the trenches, filed by three UN humanitarian aid workers with plenty of bad news to relate.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Emergency Sex and Other Despe...

Publishers Weekly

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Ah, to be young, Western and ambitious in a war zone. It's the early 1990s, and Cain and Postlewait are two American U.N. employees sent to Cambodia to help the country rebuild itself after two

Mar 08 2004 | Read Full Review of Emergency Sex and Other Despe...

Publishers Weekly

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From Cambodia, Somalia and Haiti, to Bosnia, Rwanda and Liberia, Cain, Postlewait and Thomson find death, sex, bureaucratic betrayal, sex, liberation from their pasts and seamy, regret-tainted sex amid the body parts and rotting flesh.

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