From the jungles of Cambodia during the final days of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 to the chaos of Baghdad in 2016, Combat Civilian is the powerful story of the response to human catastrophe over four decades.
Turning his back on the convention of a comfortable career in a family business, Gilbert Greenall has quietly dedicated the last four decades of his life to helping others through forty humanitarian aid missions and the delivery of British emergency assistance in eighteen conflicts.
He charts the changes in humanitarian assistance, revealing contradictions and triumphs, from the uncoordinated activities of a few small charities to the multi-billion dollar operations of today. The book guides the reader through wars, famines, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, yet there is time for humorous observations of misadventure and the absurdity of some decision making.
Greenall describes how it feels to race down the Mostar road under fire in Bosnia and the difficulties of changing a wheel on a Boeing 727 in the midst of a battle in the Angolan highlands, as he risks his life for the goal of humanitarian assistance.
Combat Civilian is a fast moving narrative, an emotional journey and a true-to-life description of the military risks and political constraints demanded by international relief work.