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Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  377 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
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 exp ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Signal (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,050)
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Wendy Caron
Sep 18, 2013 Wendy Caron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I made the mistake of reading this book on the train, with no kleenex in my purse. Not that this is one of those books that plays-up the horrors of war and manipulates your emotions; rather, Nutt's honest, straight-forward story-telling of her personal involvement in war-torn countries lays it all on the line evoking an honest, unbidden reaction of tears. Nutt provided a balanced mixture of anecdotes and information, the former reinforcing and illustrating the latter. It was impossible not to re ...more
Carly Drake
Mar 27, 2013 Carly Drake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had the pleasure of listening to Samantha Nutt at a conference in Calgary this past January. She was lovely, and had so many great things to say about community development that I didn't hesitate to buy her book and have her sign it while she was there. I wasn't disappointed with this read - Samantha is a tough, seasoned veteran of the development world. It's no surprise that her writing was jam-packed with pertinent information. There were some tedious passages, but overall I was gripped. The ...more
Feb 10, 2012 CynthiaA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. A whole lot of information to digest -- much of it extremely sobering. But much of it helpful, insightful and hopeful, too. I won't look at "aid" the same ever again. I will be spending a lot of time over the next few days and weeks thinking about this, digesting all her info, and deciding what I personally am going to do about it. Thank you, Samantha Nutt. This was a brave and important work.
Jul 04, 2013 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book on the advice of a friend who shares my interest in international women's issues. Damned Nations fully lived up to expectations, providing not only insight but turning into one of the few books in recent memory that I've read without interruption. Dr. Nutt kept me engaged from the start, and my ebook is peppered with highlighted passages. Bravo! I will surely continue to read her work.
Kathleen McRae
Aug 28, 2014 Kathleen McRae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book! Samantha Nutt goes through various countries she has worked in as a UN representative and with chilling detail talks about the lives of the war torn and oppressed and talks about her version of the causes and what we can do better to provide aid.She continues to come back to one solution and that is the undeniable fact that in nations where women gain equality and a voice , that nation begins to show more economic success,as well as a society that is more democratic for all.Saman ...more
Lisa Faye
Aug 17, 2013 Lisa Faye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who works in development, this is the book that I wish so many of my friends who don't work in development would read. It's easy to read, short, and has a nice blend of personal stories and facts. It comes with a Canadian perspective and could really help some people I know to think more critically about the Canadian government and Canadian mining companies abroad. I also think that she really outlines the best way to give - not a 1 month volunteer stint, not your second hand toys, no ...more
Jan 02, 2013 Janeschmidt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-pick
Simply put, everyone in the developed world should read this book. While it is pretty dense, it is very readable and short enough that most would be able to get through it with a small amount of determination. It was a transformational read in that it made me re-evaluate how I approach charitable giving and gave me enough talking points to be able to intelligently discuss the pros and cons of donating to large organizations.

In short, Nutt's thesis is that charitable donations and federal intern
Oct 18, 2012 Fnouristani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book opened my eyes to how indirectly each of us is responsible for the suffering of so many through inaction or thoughtless actions. Through Samantha Nutt’s passionate and eloquent words I feel that my understanding of this topic had been enhanced immensely. Her accounts of the people she has met throughout the years and their tragedies are moving, told with compassion not with pity. These personal anecdotes are what substantiate her claims and give human faces to suffering around ...more
Elizabeth B
Sep 06, 2011 Elizabeth B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't mince words. It's a compelling look at the arms trade and it's long range (and little known) effects on everyday people. Full of facts and figures, that may put off some readers which is unfortunate. Rather than a dull history book or a re-imagining of stories already told, this book provides a ground breaking look of humanitarian efforts that directly impact those in need. Instead of formulas or impossible suggestions to solve the problem, the author talks from her experience ...more
Dec 17, 2011 René rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politique
The title of Chapter 5 says it all : "Pack your bags, we're going on a guilt trip". Dr. Nutt, the most inspiring speaker I ever had the privilege to hear, writes a powerful statement regarding the effects of the trade in arms, the lack of focus in developmental aid, the little steps we could make to try have the developed world (which is the sole beneficiary of the developing world's misery) move towards really helping the victims of our greed. Many other things need to change : the harmful agri ...more
Jason Von meding
A high impact personal account, rich in context and covering a remarkable scope of issues. I absolutely love this book and will return to it in future. Few stories break my heart, but the author manages just that - she compels us to compassion, reason and evidence in an ideologically driven world.
Matt Escott
Although this book was at times very difficult to read (some of the stories she tells are horrific and quite graphic), it was also a very important book. Samantha Nutt has spent over 20 years in war torn areas of the world, and offers some excellent insight into the best ways that aid should be used. In particular, I appreciated her insistence that simply having good intentions is not enough (advice that many churches would do well to heed), but that aid, even if well meaning, can actually have ...more
Dec 04, 2014 Whitney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author does an incredible job of sharing her travels and trials with readers while making incredibly solid arguments for (and against) certain types of aid. Entertaining, inspirational, and educational. So wonderful.
David A Dyck
Aug 29, 2014 David A Dyck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honest well written

mesmerizing and terrifiyin truthful .

th pe author
is modest as witness to such depressing facts about war and women still treated as less than animals.
I thought the book was interesting, but less well-done than James Orbinski's "An Imperfect Offering".

I didn't think Nutt added anything to the discussion, beyond being preachier.
Feb 05, 2012 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Samantha Nutt insightfully analyzes the causes of armed conflict and critiques the effectiveness of various types of humanitarian aid in her book, Damned Nations. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Samantha Nutt shares her experiences as a humanitarian who has worked in the most violent places on earth. Through her observations, we witness horrific atrocities while meeting people who give their lives for peace and progress. This book will resonate with anyone who has wondered how to make a ...more
Champ T.
Dec 29, 2015 Champ T. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Extremely liberal book about war. Far too hard core left wing agenda to take seriously.
Bennett Coles
Apr 06, 2012 Bennett Coles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by Dr. Samantha Nutt, the founder of a not-for-profit organization called War Child that makes it their business to get in deep and protect the vulnerable, this is an excellent book told convincingly by a woman from the front lines of modern aid. She describes some surprising truths about how the multi-billion-dollar aid industry can go wrong, and how we can be unwitting accomplices even when we mean well. Although a little light on specific solutions, Dr. Nutt's analysis is direct and p ...more
Dec 16, 2013 Meghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent examination of the unfortunate way aid is becoming more entwined with military spending. It can also be read in counterpoint to Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid; the arguments in Damned Nations are far stronger, more compelling, less ideological, and in the end, more convincing, than those given in Dead Aid. McNutt destroys the idea that the free market is not the solution (as advocated in Dead Aid), as well as destroying the military-humanitarian hybrid which many NGOs are moving towards.

Oct 19, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Samantha Nutt is a doctor who has spent over 15 years in international development in some of the scariest places in the world. Her books documents the myriad ways in which international aid works against those it should help, and makes the case that good intentions are simply not enough when we're trying to help those in need. We need to understand the complexities involved and resist the urge to provide quick solutions. Her book is a must read for anyone interested in international development ...more
Jan 01, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Samantha Nutt's humanitarian and development experience really allows this book to express the truths behind wars and aid without being political or accusatory. I really liked that she gave honest opinions on how to provide aid without making suggestions of specific organizations - many of which I'm sure she has - her own included, but it gives the book an unbiased approach, and the solutions within it more weight. Definitely gives you something to think about re: personal views on international ...more
Nov 11, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never though I would enjoy non-fiction as much as I did this book. It was brilliant! Plus it came into my life at the completely right time.
Sep 02, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book and expose themselves to the global impacts of their individual actions. In that way, the book emphasized our connectedness and the need to act locally but think globally. As someone engaged in development work, reading this was affirming of many of my opinions on development issues. However, reading this book I was challenged to critique and evaluate some of my work in Tanzania, which I believe is beneficial both to the organizations development and to the communi ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Debika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important read for anyone interested in humanitarian aid and international development.
Paige Johnson
Oct 11, 2013 Paige Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent essay on all of her experiences with civil wars in the developing world through out her career. It is not an easy read due to the explicitness of her descriptions but these stories need to be told. We have to understand how we damage developing countries through aid and weapons and non-sustainable programs. We need to know what we support with our dollars and how the organizations use it. It is no longer about sending food to "starving kids in China".
Angela Brouwer
Jun 09, 2012 Angela Brouwer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an eye opener! I learned how much Canada and other western democracies increase the proliferation of weapons in developing countries. Also shows you how frightening it is to be in a country where a war of any kind is taking place. It is a little biased in parts but that's the author's perogative. This Canadian woman has been to the frontlines of many wars and knows first hand the horrors of war!
Dec 10, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow - picked this up last week. If you have ever given to a charity like Red Cross or Feed the Children, you should read this. Left me speechless, the wind-knocked-out of me and overwhelmed all at once. But somehow Dr Sam Nutt offers hope and guidance to how people can be involved. Made me really think at my actions. I hope you will read it and be moved......into action or at least into retrospection.
Jan 12, 2013 Somya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Nutt works all over the world in strife ridden places where aid is needed. Much of what she has to say is already common knowledge in the countries where such aid is needed. But this is the first time someone who works in the field has clearly laid out the flaws in the aid system used all over the world. Also worth a mention is the glossary at the end.

More power to you Dr. Nutt!

When I saw Samantha Nutt on Peter Mansbridge, One on One, I knew I wanted to read her book. She is indeed a well educated, well travelled, giving woman. I really enjoyed her writings regarding personal experience. She recommends how individuals should donate and what questions to ask. The book is so full of information that at times I found it too much, in too few pages.
Megan Catherine
Aug 17, 2013 Megan Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such simplicity, honesty, humility and even humour - this short and sweet tale of Dr. Nutt is a rarity in such literature. As a woman and as a peacebuilder, I found myself repeatedly applauding her on-point observations and reflections. This is the stuff people in our field (and out) need to be grappling with. Absolutely well done.
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