From Vietnam to Iraq, One Man's Experience with Overseas Charity is Revealed in New Book: "Avant Garde of Western Civ"

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David Holdridge, a veteran of 35 years representing America in its wars and in the humanitarian response afterward, illuminates the challenge and the duplicity of the effort.

After being hauled out of a rice paddy in Vietnam in 1969 and then spending 18 months in various neuro-psychiatric wards in the USA, with time, David Holdridge evolved to become a stalwart in the promotion of the American Narrative overseas. As such, he witnessed that promotion grow from a rather lonely pursuit to the global industry it is today; most commonly known in the West as "Overseas Relief and Development." The ÔÇťAvant Garde of Western Civ" ( is the story of a 'foot-soldier' and his family as they sought to provide salve and transformation within various wars and their aftermath from 1980--2014. It explores how difficult and often complicit 'giving' can be. And how 'untoward,' as it was transformed into a 'force multiplier' by the United States Government. The book follows the family of four from the Middle East to the Maghreb, to Africa, to Asia, Russia, the Balkans and back to the Middle East. Partially a policy critique, partially an expose of how the "Charity Industry" hoodwinks the Western public but more often about the struggles of a family as it confronts the threats to its own survival. Since 2009, David has been the author of dozens of Op-Eds, participated in as many TV and Radio interviews, and has been the head of an advocacy organization in Washington DC.

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