top of page

damned nations

For readers of Christopher Hedges, Robert Fisk, and Christopher Hitchens, an extraordinary humanitarian gives us a bracing and uncompromising account of her work in some of the most devastated corners of the world. In 1995, twenty-five-year-old Samantha Nutt, a recent medical school graduate and a field volunteer for UNICEF, touched down in Baidoa, Somalia, “the City of Death.” What she saw there – gangs of young men roaming the streets armed with rocket launchers; a woman in a clinic line holding a dead baby; an aid agency working in such an unsafe environment that its workers had to travel with armed escorts high on drugs -would spur her on to a lifetime of passionate advocacy for children and families in war-torn areas around the world.


Damned Nations is the brilliant distillation of Dr. Nutt’s observations over the course of fifteen years providing hands-on care in some of the world’s most violent flashpoints, all the while building the world class non-profit War Child Canada and War Child USA. Combining original research with her personal story, it is a deeply thoughtful meditation on war as it is being waged around the world against millions of civilians - primarily women and children. Nutt’s boundless energy, dedication, and compassion shine through on every page as she lays out real, lasting solutions to these problems and shows how to move beyond outdated notions of charity towards a more progressive, inclusive, and respectful world view.

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, author of Shake Hands With the Devil

A brave, eloquent,

and necessary book.

Lewis Lapham

Editor, Lapham's Quarterly

What makes this book especially valuable is how Samantha Nutt weaves into personal experiences of war, a damning assessment of how govern­ments, private corporations, indeed even NGOs, are culpable for much suffering by turning a blind eye to the consequences of the small arms trade, the rapacious search for scarce resources and commodities, the use of the military over diplomatic solutions, and the false start of so many aid and development initiatives. 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

This is an extraordinary book. From its opening scenes, my heart was in my throat. Samantha Nutt is a genuine hero. 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

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 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

Extremely perceptive and original… This is Nutt at her best and, not incidentally, her most sophisticated…Nutt deftly skewers the pretentions, complacencies and, often disturbingly, imperial assumptions of the aid world.

The Globe and Mail

Damned Nations is an important read.  Samantha Nutt breaks the mould with her forthright attack on militarism and misguided aid efforts that exacerbate the poverty and conflict they are meant to solve.

Quill and Quire

A brilliant polemic…Nutt does not just take on some of the most sacred cows in the aid business; she slays them and kicks them over into some pretty deep graves.

Literacy Review of Canada

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 activist

bottom of page