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Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid [Kindle Edition]

Samantha Nutt
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Samantha Nutt is one of the most intrepid voices in the humanitarian arena and Damned Nations is a book of uncommon power. Weaving gripping personal experiences with uncompromising and impassioned argument, Nutt dissects war and aid, where humanitarian efforts go wrong, and what can and should be done to bring about a more just world. Drawing from nearly two decades of experiences at the frontline of conflict, Nutt challenges many of the assumptions and orthodoxies surrounding the aid industry. A book that is at once moving, engaging, and insightful, Damned Nations has been acclaimed by readers and critics across North America.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2581 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Signal (25 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WM4A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #708,001 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative even if a bit sensationalist 3 Nov. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very moving and informative book, very readable (I pretty much read it in one go!), but at the same time, the book falls victim to quite a bit of West-bashing and sometimes comes off a without nuance to the complicated scenarios it deals with. Then again, Nutt's passion is evident and very inspiring, and I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about how conflict is experienced by civilians around the world - bearing in mind that there's more to the picture than what Nutt presents.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! 23 Nov. 2011
By A. Franco - Published on
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why the incidence of rape in the Congo should be listed daily side by side with the Dow-Jones Industrial Average 20 Jan. 2012
By cvairag - Published on
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damned Nations 1 May 2012
By Chickpea - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second, Do No Harm 1 Jan. 2013
By L. King - Published on
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.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful review of foreign aid 29 July 2012
By Rosi Fisher - Published on
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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