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on February 5, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Didn't like this book very much :(
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on October 21, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Excellent analysis of the failures of the humanitarian and military interventions of the past decade, with positive recommendations for sustainable development priorities to end the cycle of poverty and war.
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on September 16, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A bit pedantic but written with a great deal of energy and commitment to helping those who suffer from one of the most lucrative businesses in the world --- selling guns and war,
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on September 16, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
After hearing Dr. Nutt speak, I bought her book. It expanded upon her speech and then some. Well written and extremely thoughtful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I found this very thought provoking. I read several sections over and over. I have so often thought if I send money I have done my bit...but....we need to be sure the organization we send money to is really reaching the people we want to help and more importantly not going to a corrupt government.

Everyone who wants to guard each man's dignity and each man's pride needs to read this...make your decision with care. Question your governments involvement in the country you are sending money to.

This book made me rethink what it is people need to survive and how I can best help.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The book starts with the author as an idealistic young doctor heading off to work in a humanitarian role, and details her journey, through encounters with people surviving conflict and famine and through tracking failures at an international level (both corporate and governmental), to a compelling analysis of the genesis and sustenance of much of the worlds current conflict.

Dr Nutt highlights some of the systemic problems that lie within the current aid industry, international governance, and international commerce, and offers real solutions for the motivated individual.

Not always easy reading, but a passionate and coherent discussion of one of the toughest problems of our time.

This should be compulsory reading in schools.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Passionate, intimate and moving, Nutt takes us to Somalia, the Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Haiti and Sri Lanka and Burundi providing an insider's look at the state of humanitarian aid in these troublesome regions of the world. Naively most would believe that the aura of saintliness that aid organizations project protects them from being drawn into the conflict itself, but this is far from the case. Alas good intentions may not only be ineffective but in many ways can lead to a prolongation and even a worsening of conditions.

On the ground there are a multitude of issues. One is the lack of good governance on the ground in what are failed states. Aid organizations (including the UN) have to negotiate with the social structure that exists, which often include supplying, negotiating with, and turning a blind eye to war lords, profiteers, corrupt officials, and drugged out child soldiers. Another is that aid organizations are not that much different from corporations in that they compete more than cooperate with each other both for funding but for share of mind on the ground. Thirdly, first world aid tends to favour visible "high velocity" short term goals rather than underlying problems as these tend to attract more donations. In many cases aid can be counterproductive - for example donating clothes in Africa has destroyed the local garment industry; more than one agency offers the gift of a goat - except that goats tear away the roots of plants which leads to increased desertification. Orphanages and adoption? In places such as Haiti number of the children are simply abandoned by their parents - strengthening societal infrastructure so that parents can both plan for and raise children would be preferable, though the situation is made more complex in war zones. Nutt also targets voluntourism in as much as it is often used to make the first world participant feel better about about themselves, but involvement can sideswipe both the local labour economy and the local decision making processes that should lead to self sufficiency. Short term attachments may do more harm than good.

Nutt also inveighs against corporations who also need to deal the same corrupt infrastructure and wishes that here were a Kimberly style process for the rare minerals necessary for the manufacture of high end electronics coming from places such as the Congo. Refined metals are not as easily fingerprinted as diamonds. She also has guarded praise for aid distributed under military programs but wonders how sustainable the approach can be.

Outlining the problem is one thing - coming up with solutions is another. There is more than enough heartbreak - on more than one occasion Nutt recounts being prevented from suicidal attempts at rescue, which would likely have resulted in the death of the people with her as well. She also tells of the death of several local activists at the hands of insurgents. The book with some guidelines for donors but stops short of a definitive rubric - nor should one have expected anything but partial answers to such complex problems.

Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Having just read Dambisa Moyo's book "Dead aid" discussing how foreign aid has done harm instead of good, Samantha Nutt's analysis of this enormous problem was far more revealing. Although Moyo's treatise was monothithic, Nutt's was multifactorial and a lot more creative. I highly recommend this book for those who are involved in foreign aid whether in donating or working.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
For anyone who has ever sent money or supplies to war torn or needy countries, Samantha Nutt's book reveals the dark side of these well-intended charitable donations. Not a fun read, but a must read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The courageous and beautiful Samantha Nutt has worked on the ground, in the field,with various government (UNICEF) and non-government organizations in Africa for the greater part of the past 15 years. She now directs her own NGO, Warchild, dedicated to ameliorating the horrid conditions she personally experienced which are chronicled in this important book - namely the ongoing war against women and children, indirectly or directly, perpetrated as central to the international corporate powers' policy of resource extraction in the long term war zones of Africa. Dr. Nutt connects the dots between the causal motivations for the gendercide/genocide in the Congo where over five million have been slaughtered since the mid-1990's. What eerily emerges is a map which indicates that the highest incidence of rape (with often concurrent mutilation)is found in the areas where coltan (columbite-tantalite) - a resource essential to the construction of all instruments of telecommunications - all cellphones, the internet, etc. is found to the tune of 80% of the world's supply. Remember this startling statistic next time you text.
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