War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern Times Paperback – 19 Apr 2010
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
War Games is a blood-boilingly good polemic that should knock a few halos off (Sunday Telegraph )
Pacy, concise, vivid...the pages of this necessary but contentious book burn with a righteous moral anger about the contradictions and tensions of delivering humanitarian aid in conflict zones (Daily Telegraph )
Marvellous... cool, brusque, fearless and disillusioned...carries echoes of the African writings of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene (Guardian )
Highly topical...essential reading...she relentlessly catalogues the ways in which humanitarianism has helped prolong war and suffering...if Polman's book can serve as a rallying cry to more radical, redistributive alternatives, then it will have more than fulfilled its function (The Times )
A disturbing account that raises profound questions not just about the palliative efficacy of aid - but whether it fuels and prolongs conflict (Financial Times )
Linda Polman is one of the finest reporting journalists of the modern age - she is gutsy, intellectually penetrating and far from naïve (Evening Standard )
She offers no obvious solutions but calls for more debate, and for an end to the 'halo effect' that gives INGOs immunity from criticism. War Games is a decisive step in that direction
About the Author
Linda Polman is the author of We Did Nothing: Why the Truth Doesn't Always Come Out When the UN Goes In, which was shortlisted for the Lettre Ulysses and the Index on Censorship awards. She studied at the School of Journalism in Utrecht and for the past twenty years has been a freelance journalist for international radio, TV and newspapers; she is a contributor to The Times and the Guardian.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
It is therefore depressing to learn from Linda Polman's excellent book that this is not the case: much aid actually has a negative effect on the victims and on the countries it is given to. Indeed even that some aid is solicited by the country in question in order to carry out humanitarian crimes such as mass internal relocation of rebel populations: this was the case for Ethiopia and the 1984 Band Aid aid campaign.
Aid prolongs conflicts and increases deaths.
There will be exceptions, but probably only for small projects: the big ones are tainted. Darfur (now), Ethiopia (1984 et seq), Biafra (1967), Rwanda (1994).
Aid is big business for the aid organisations and some are not so scrupulous about how they discharge their responsibilities. We should leave aid to Governments, but monitor properly how they are spending our money. In my own experience I am aware that UK Government aid to finance primary schools in Uganda in the early 1990s was inadequately controlled and much just ended up in the pockets of fraudsters.
A book that is easy to read, but deporessing: should be on the reading list of Government MInisters.
This book by a Dutch journalist sets out to do precisely that, beginning by reviewing the creation of the concept of humanitarian aid in the middle of the Nineteenth Century with the foundation of the Red Cross with a presumed duty to relieve human suffering unconditionally. The author's case is that by doing so, the aid agencies put themselves at the mercy of the belligerents and the corrupt.
Using well documented examples, she demonstrates how TV and the Internet have raised awareness of crises, and how - as the news media cut costs - journalists have become passive processors of the agencies' publicity. The agencies themselves manipulate the media by highlighting or even exaggerating the worst cases of need to help them in the competition to raise money. That might be considered `fair game' were it not for the fact that insurgents and corrupt regimes deliberately worsen situations to attract attention.
Many of the smaller agencies are inexperienced and provide inappropriate assistance. Their multiplicity only serves to make the situation worse.Read more ›
It was interesting insofar as it publicised problems associated with the subject but only in a gossipy sort of way, it was journalistically lazy I felt! I know these problems exist due to my work, but some of the issues cited were not put in context or in some cases were factually wrong! This lead me to think that if this was the case with the few circumstances cited in the book that I personally knew about, how much of the other instances cited about other situations in other regions were also wrong?
Having said that, valid points were made about certain aid agencies and their dealings with children, but the points about the role aid agencies play in supporting the perpetrators of wars eg rebel groups can't be addressed by aid agencies alone, a much stronger political will from the international community needs to be factored in, particularly regarding policing of the help given.
I felt the tone was rather one dimensional, but nevertheless a useful book to draw public attention to the problems and situations faced by aid agencies!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent piece of journalism, every politician should receive a copy. Made me very angry.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book, but I've already read it under the name "The crisis caravan" by the same author: one book under two titles. Good commercial tactics.Published 11 months ago by TABLET GABRIELA
This represents Linda Polman's experiences as a journalist across many war- and catastrophe- zones. It is a counter view to that with which we are presented with in the media and... Read morePublished on 11 Jun. 2014 by T Bancroft
I came to this book via my local library, having been deeply impressed by her previous book "We Did Nothing", about the failures of UN peacekeeping. Read morePublished on 30 May 2014 by Helot