Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures

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Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures, by Heidi Postlewait, Kenneth Cain and Doctor Andrew Thomson, is the memoir of three young people who join the United Nations (UN) in Cambodia with a dream of making the world a better place. Set in the 1990s, the book was published in 2004.

Thomson is a New Zealand-born physician who is inspired to work in Cambodia after meeting a mature age Cambodian medical student in his Auckland University class. Postlewait is a New York social worker who is struggling to make ends meet after the end of her marriage. Cain is an idealistic Harvard graduate who does not want to go into corporate law.

The three stories intersect through the years from Cambodia, to Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia and Liberia. This is the first account from UN workers on the front line and an honest memoir about the successes and failures of the UN.

"Brutal and moving in equal measure, Emergency Sex (And Other Desperate Measures) explores pressing global issues while never losing a sense of the personal. Deeply critical of the West's indifference to developing countries and the UN's repeated failure to intervene decisively, the book provoked massive controversy on its initial publication. Kofi Annan called for the book to be banned, and debate was sparked about the future direction of the UN. Brilliantly written and mordantly funny, it is a book that continues to make waves.[1]"

Stage adaptation[edit]

Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures was adapted for the stage by Australian playwright, Damien Millar.

It won Griffin Theatre Company’s annual Griffin Award for an outstanding new play in 2007.

  1. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/1401359663