It’s difficult to imagine that there is someone out there who has read all the books about humanitarian aid ever written – perhaps Slim, Randy K or P Walker? Therefore we have to start with the caveat that this list is our list and not scientifically drawn up based on a detailed methodology or algorithm.
In fact we settled on nine books and one documentary. In chronological order, our top ten are:
1. Amartya Sen’s ‘Poverty and Famines: An essay on entitlement and deprivation’ 1983
2. Mary Anderson’s ‘Do No Harm: How aid can support peace – or war’ 1999
3. Tony Vaux’s ‘The Selfish Altruist: Relief work in famine and war’ 2001
4. David Kennedy’s ‘The Dark Sides of Virtue: Reassessing International Humanitarianism’ 2005
5. Samantha Power’s ‘A Problem From Hell: America and the age of genocide’ 2010
6. Peter Gill’s ‘Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia since live aid’ 2010
7. Claire Magone, Michael Neuman and Fabrice Weissman’s ‘Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF experience’ 2011
8. Hugo Slim’s ‘Essays in Humanitarian Action’ 2012
9. Ben Ramalingam’s ‘Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking international cooperation in a complex world’ 2013
10. MSF’s ‘Living in An Emergency: Stories of doctors without borders’ 2008
Thank you to everyone who sent us tweets or comments to add to the list. A full list of the books sent us can be downloaded here and we of course welcome further suggestions in the comments below.