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Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid [Hardcover]

Samantha Nutt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 25 2011

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.

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“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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unstoppable Force for Good Nov. 28 2011
By Alyson
Samantha Nutt's voice in Damned Nations rings heartfelt and true. Most important of all, it is anchored by the people our choices here at home' affect. From rape victims in Eastern Congo, oppressed women in Afghanistan, widowed young mothers in Darfur and fallen human rights heroes murdered for speaking out and following their hearts are the living definitions of injustice that define the gaps in the humanitarian movement.

It is not enough to support 'good' causes. We must adhere to good policy and refuse to exercise apathy. Sam eloquently forces us to reconsider the status quo. She compels us to question the truths that have anchored politics, the practices that characterize charitable giving, the principles on which foreign policy has been built and most important of all, Sam propels us to expect more. To ask more from ourselves, the charities we support, the companies we buy from, the banks with which we invest and the governments we elect.

To define this book as a memoir, or another humanitarian's account of the sector is inaccurate. Damned Nations is the book that all of us who shake our heads at the headlines and who wonder what can be done have been waiting for. It is a manifesto for the next generation of bleeding hearts with brains.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough read but necessary March 1 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sam Nutt is a doctor and a humanitarian who has a mission - to help those who can't help themselves because they are stuck in horrible situations brought on by civil war. She is clearly very passionate about her work with child soldiers and the book really shows us what places like the Eastern Congo or Iraq feel/look like. Highly recommended for students, grad students and anybody else interested in international development/international affairs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective on foreign aid Feb. 9 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think the book is great because it presents the opportunity to think. You see foreign aid (development) through the eyes of someone who has been there and taken the time to understand what is happening,to look beyond the obvious to find the causes.
I found Dr. Nutts' thoughts made sense. The militarisation, and politicisation of aid are counter productive to development and can put civilian aid workers at risk.. The book reminds us that there are two kinds of aid, disaster relief, and development. Disaster relief is proving the necessities of life. These needs are made more acute where people very little before the disaster. Development is changing the conditions in a country/area. Changing the conditions is a process that will take years, perhaps a generation (20 years). Development is a hand up. It is education, developing markets for locally produced goods, changing attitudes towards different cultures and gender equality. these things are the basic requirements to bringing about permanent change.
I was reminded me of Ten Thousand Villages which are stores run by the Mennonite Central Committee. They buy goods at fair prices, from local artisans in developing countries and sell them in Canada. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to see foreign aid from a perspective that is rarely shown.
I am not a member or employee of War Child or Ten Thousand Villages. I have shopped at Ten Thousand Villages.
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