Maggie Black is a writer whose work up to now has been mainly about development among poor and disadvantaged peoples in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Her most recent book – International Development: Illusions and Realities (New Internationalist 2015) – explores the contradictions whereby a process intended to improve economic well-being inflicts destruction on powerless minorities. This has proved a surprisingly useful apprenticeship for a study of her great-grandfather’s pioneering life in Victoria, with its themes of Aboriginal exclusion, ‘improvement’ of the land, and the emergence of a new colonial society. Among her other works are A Cause for our Times: Oxfam’s first 50 years and Children First: The story of UNICEF (OUP, 1992 and 1996); and several books on water and sanitation, including The State of the World’s Water (UCP, 2016).
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