Follow David Holdridge’s journey at the helm of charitable organizations in Iraq and Haiti in The Avant Garde of Western Civ. This excellent memoir captures everything from the inefficiencies of USAID to details of American NGOs abroad to personal reflections. Despite cultural, bureaucratic, and logistical obstacles, Holdridge directly led efforts on the ground to aid the Iraqi people through most of the American occupation of Iraq. Learn about how non-governmental organizations operate during major humanitarian disasters through tremendous difficulties.


"This work will go down as a classic in the growing body of critical analysis on the world of development and humanitarian relief. Holdridge vividly describes the euphoria and the descent into hell which Iraq underwent from 2003-2005. From the dismissal of the Iraqi army and all those associated with the Baath party (which eviscerated all forms of governance and law and order in Iraq from the village level to highest level of government), the buildup of what became one of the largest humanitarian programs in Iraq, and all the challenges that this entailed, The Avant Garde of Western Civ reads like Hemingway's war dispatches during the Greco Turkish War (1919-1922) or the Spanish Civil War." - Paul Butler, Country Director - West Bank and Gaza, American Near East Refugee Aid

“David Holdridge’s AVANT GARDE OF WESTERN CIV pulls no punches in taking on the charity industry and foreign policy pundits. For over four decades, he and his family have experienced fully the social and political realities of the world's conflict zones, natural disasters, famines and crises. Starting as a young infantry lieutenant who was gut shot in Vietnam, he has since taken on countless missions as a humanitarian aid worker into hotspots such as Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Gaza and Haiti. This foot soldier’s evocative story, in equal parts, exposes a flawed approach to soft power and expands our understanding of ‘right relations.'" - Phil Karber, Travel Writer, Postmarks from a Political Traveler


Fair Observer


Amazon: available in Paperback and Kindle e-book

Barnes and Nobles: available in Paperback

Press Americana: available wholesale