Reviews - What do customers think about My 17 Years With Usaid: The Good and the Bad?
Great Idea, Poor Execution Jun 7, 2004
Nancy Dammann was a part of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from the beginning and had exposure to its programs and culture at many levels. She has the ideal credentials to write an insightful and fascinating narrative about the role of USAID in the evolution of Development and Humanitarian Assistance.
Hopefully, she will do that in her next book.
My 17 Years With USAID primarily describes the author's personal relationships with her coworkers and domestic help during her years in Thailand, Jamaica, and the Philippines. She tells as much of cocktail parties and golf games as she does USAID programs and trips to the field. One can't help but suspect she had some old scores to settle when she writes with frequency of her coworkers' personal and professional shortcomings, evidently using their real names. Highlights of the book include descriptions of the Marcos regime, the Philippine floods, and her growing disillusionment with USAID and development work.
Dammann misses another opportunity by not bringing to bear her historical perspective to include some sort of commentary on the effectiveness of USAID programs and the ways USAID has changed since her retirement. Since 17 Years was published in 2004, thirty years after she left USAID, these comments could have made an interesting postlude from an interesting point of view.
Finally, the book is edited and printed poorly. Sentences repeat and inappropriate characters frequently appear amidst the text. The publisher and printer take the blame for those flaws, but Dammann's PH.D. in journalism gives them an ironic flavor.