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Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid Hardcover – October 25, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Samantha Nutt is scrupulously consistent with her hard-nosed, direct, in-your-face style and defiant resolve in her approach to war and the massive abuses to humanity, especially women and children.  Samantha is telling us in no uncertain terms that humanitarianism starts by a 'critical reflection concerning our own actions and deeds.'  And then she offers some solid proposals to consider.  Well done, in a most compelling of ways."
—LGen the Hon. Roméo A. Dallaire, (Ret’d), Senator
"This is an extraordinarily riveting book. The anecdotes are heart-wrenching; the analysis is trenchant, principled, uncompromising. I never read a book in one sitting: I read Damned Nations in one sitting, and I regretted that it came to an end. It's not an easy read, but it's filled with emotional and intellectual power."
—Stephen Lewis, former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, and Chair of the Board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation
“This book is a passionate reaction to so much of the stupidity and calumny that leads to death and destruction, and yet, it incorporates insightful and cool headed reasons as to why. An important book for our times.”
—Lloyd Axworthy, President, University of Winnipeg and former Minister of Foreign Affairs
 “A brave, eloquent, and necessary book.”
–Lewis Lapham, editor of Lapham’s Quarterly
“When I first met Sam, I was moved by her total and single minded dedication to justice. She thought of people in far away places the way we think of relatives in disadvantage, and she behaved like we do at our best when we care enough to do something. I have no doubt you will be moved by her stories and her work, but I hope most of all, by her example.”
"This is an extraordinary book. From its opening scenes, my heart was in my throat. Samantha Nutt is a genuine hero for all of us who want to make a difference in the world. She has helped those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves trapped in terrifying conditions of terror, injustice, oppression and extreme poverty.  All of us living in the comfort and affluence of industrialized countries owe it to the rest of humanity to read this powerful book."
—David Suzuki, co-founder, The David Suzuki Foundation, and Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia
“Samantha Nutt drives us to the front lines of an ongoing conflict between empathy and barbarism. Her words, and the lessons she asks us to heed, come from what she herself has witnessed. The passion that Dr. Nutt has for the important work she does is reflected in the pages of this remarkable book.”
—Seamus O’Regan, co-host, Canada AM
"Dr. Nutt movingly outlines the chilling truth about war and offers us a rare, poignant glimpse into each individual's part in the process to attainable peace. An absolute must-read for every person in the developed world, and a manual for every leader."
—Chantal Kreviazuk, Juno Award-winning performer and songwriter, and Honorary Founder, War Child
“Dr. Samantha Nutt is a force of nature.  A courageous and tireless advocate for human rights. Damned Nations exposes the 'underbelly' of the humanitarian movement. Her colorful, revealing and heart-wrenching first-hand accounts are a must read for anyone who’s given so much as a penny to an NGO.”
—Raine Maida, lead singer, Our Lady Peace, songwriter, and activist       

About the Author

SAMANTHA NUTT, M.D., is an award winning humanitarian, acclaimed public speaker, and an expert on the impact of war on civilians. She is a founder of the international humanitarian organization War Child. Dr. Nutt has worked in many of the world’s most violent flashpoints with the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, developing and implementing programs that support children and the families. In July 2011, Dr. Nutt was awarded the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour, for her contributions to improving the plight of civilians in the world’s worst conflict zones. She has written for Maclean’s, and her reports on civilians in war have been cited by The Economist, the Globe and Mail, and other publications. She has appeared on NPR, NBC Nightly News, and numerous CTV and CBC radio and television programs. Dr. Nutt is a staff physician at Women’s College Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. She resides with her family in Toronto.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Signal (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 077105145X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771051456
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,103,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Franco on November 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The author, Dr. Nutt, is an award-winning humanitarian with years of experience in the field having traveled and worked in places including Iraq, Afghanistan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia. Her book is a great launching point for discussions about foreign aid, the use of armed combat in creating peace, and how our growing demand for electronics is correlated with instability in developing countries. This is a well-researched, thought-provoking book full of facts. However, that doesn't mean that it's boring - she includes a number of personal stories to help highlight the issues that she raises making her arguments have a strong impact. I plan on buying it for a number of my friends and family for the holidays and would recommend it to anyone.
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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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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.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified 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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Format: Paperback
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