“Like nothing I've read before, John Burnett captures the rush, the horror, the utter insanity of trying to do the right thing in the face of war and anarchy. Where Soldiers Fear to Tread is at once a rousing adventure story and a troubling morality tale. Wrangling with the relentless mayhem of Somalia, murderous warlords, armed and drugged kids, and infuriating bureaucracy, Burnett fights the good fight, but asks the right questions. If you've ever sent 20 bucks off to a relief organization, you owe it to yourself to read this book.”
Michael Maren, author, The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity (Free Press, 2002)

“"An engrossing account…His assessments are sure-handed. He understands the mix of altruism, adrenaline, financial reward and companionship that drives many aid workers. And he learns through bitter experience how savage people can be when they are desperate….Burnett’s is a harrowing, emotionally charged account.””
London Sunday Times

“ “Part reportage, part memoir, part polemic, Burnett's account of his misadventures in Somalia is a journey into a heartless darkness. This book is a tough and often painful read not simply for it's wrenching accounts of human suffering and bureaucratic incompetence, but also because Burnett documents, with admirable lack of self pity, his own loss of innocence through its various stages of shock, bewilderment, incredulity, frustration and contempt... This affecting, timely and engaging memoir of life at the blunt end of aid...you can only admire the man for writing it.” .””
Evening Standard, London

““Burnett’s message is simple and it is not new: being an aid worker in the field is dangerous. What makes it different is the clarity and passion with which he delivers it. . . He writes well and convincingly . . . with a minimum of jargon and eye for detail.” The Sunday Telegraph, London

“WHEN JOHN S. BURNETT, a UN relief worker who delivered aid to flood- and war-ravaged Somalia in 1997 and 1998, writes that he and his colleagues are "mercenaries, missionaries, or maniacs," he isn't joking: During the past five years, there have been more UN aid workers killed than armed peacekeepers. This month the mercy givers get their literary due in Burnett's gritty memoir Where Soldiers Fear to Tread. Burnett gives readers a raw, up-close look at Somalia's ten-year-old soldiers, feuding warlords, and cynical relief veterans. Burnett's relief workers find, you can't deliver sanity and peace. And that, in the end, is what drives them out of the business. "The misery of the world will continue with or without our gallant efforts," a burned-out Burnett writes. "Let others replace me; let others try to save the damn world." OUTSIDE Magazine


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