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The Golden Fleece: Manipulation and Independence in Humanitarian Action

Antonio Donini, editor
The Golden Fleece: Manipulation and Independence in Humanitarian Action
ISBN: 978-1-56549-487-9
ISBN: 978-1-56549-488-6
ISBN: 978-1-56549-490-9
2012/318 pages/LC: 2012016566
A Kumarian Press Book
"How effective is humanitarian action in helping those in need?... This excellent volume ... is a recent and welcome contribution to the literature attempting to answer that question.... The Golden Fleece makes an important contribution to a more realistic and more accurate understanding of the realities of humanitarianism."—Christopher J. Coyne, International Studies Review

"An excellent resource for scholars, policy makers, humanitarian practioners, and students who are interested in humanitarian assistance."—Kai Chen,

"Excellent.... Donini and his colleagues have done great service by analysing the dynamics of aid manipulation and this book is obligatory reading for all in security and humanitarian studies."—Hugo Slim, International Affairs

"The Golden Fleece is an indispensable collection. If read and absorbed by decision-makers, it might help to pre-empt future mistakes."—Jonathan Benthall, Times Literary Supplement

"An excellent resource on contemporary humanitarian debates and particularly useful as a teaching and learning resource in universities."—Tobias Denskus, Aidnography


A Global Observatory Must-Read Book in Peace and Security!

The authors of this book take a long view—starting with the origins of organized humanitarianism in the mid-nineteenth century—to examine whether the politicization of aid has achieved its desired objectives, and whether the recent dramatic growth of relief work has made humanitarian efforts vulnerable to greater manipulation.


Antonio Donini is senior researcher at the Feinstein International Center, Tufts University.


  • Foreword—Roméo Dallaire.
  • The Emperor's Old Clothes: The Self-Created Siege of Humanitarian Action—I. Smillie.
  • Humanitarian Action and Politicization: A Review of Experience Since World War II—L. Minear.
  • Afghanistan: Back to the Future—A. Donini.
  • Diminishing Returns: The Challenges Facing Humanitarian Action in Darfur—H. Young.
  • When State-Building Fails: Famine, Counterterrorism, and the Politicization of Humanitarian Action in Somalia—M. Bradbury and R. Maletta.
  • Palestine: Sixty Years of Instrumentalization: A Conversation with Peter Hansen, Former Commissioner-General of UNRWA—D. Buttu.
  • Politics, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Humanitarian Action in Pakistan—M. Péchayre.
  • Haiti's Bitter Harvest: Humanitarian Aid in the “Republic of NGOs”—M. Schuller.
  • "Those With Guns Never Go Hungry": The Instrumental Use of Humanitarian Food Assistance in Conflict—D. Maxwell.
  • Protection and Instrumentalization: The Contemporary Solferino?—N. Niland.
  • So What?—A. Donini and P. Walker.