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Providing a critical introduction to the notion of humanitarianism in global politics, tracing the concept from its origins to the twenty-first century, this book examines how the so called international community works in response to humanitarian crises and the systems that bind and divide them. By tracing the history on international humanitarian action from its early roots through the birth of the Red Cross to the beginning of the UN, Peter Walker and Daniel G. Maxwell examine the challenges humanitarian agencies face, from working alongside armies and terrorists to witnessing genocide.