Henry Dunant

Henry Dunant : The Man of the Red Cross

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A pioneer of humanitarianism and founder of the International Red Cross, Henry Dunant was many things over his lifetime. A devout Christian and social activist, an ambitious but failed businessman, a humanitarian genius, and a bankrupt recluse.

In this biography, Corinne Chaponniere reveals the tumultuous trajectory of Henry's life. From his idyllic childhood in Geneva, she follows Henry through the horrors of the Battle of Solferino, his creation of the Red Cross and role in the Geneva Conventions, the disgrace of his bankruptcy and his resurrection as a Nobel Peace Prize winner. It shows how this champion of wounded soldiers and prisoners of war was not an unblemished picture of piety and goodness, but that his empathy and good works played out in tandem with his social ambition and personal drive. It shows how even the best of us fall on hard times, and that the Red Cross was born out of humanitarian ideals coupled with a desire for personal success.

This book reveals the story of Henry Dunant, blemishes and all, against the backdrop of the horrors of war, the weight of religion and the birth of humanitarianism in the 19th century.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 504 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 43.18mm | 806g
  • Bloomsbury Academic
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 30 bw illus
  • 135025343X
  • 9781350253438

Table of contents

1. The Happy Eldest Child (1828-1847)
2. The Birth of an Association (1847-1854)
3. Windmills on the Sand (1854-1859)
4. A Battle for Glory (1859-1862)
5. Europe Around One Table (1862-1863)
6. A Question of Honour (1863-1867)
7. The Fall (1867-1869
8. Paris at War (1870-1871)
9. The Philanthropist's Revival (1871-1874)
10. Lover's Break (1874-1876)
11. The Miseries of Wandering (1876-1887)
12. The Last Station (1887-1892)
13. Stepping out into the World (1893-1896)
14. Rewriting History (1895-1896)
15. A Laurel-Crowned Finish (1897-1910)
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Review quote

This is a fine biography of Henry Dunant giving the reader a good sense of the man with all his defects as well as the legend with all his achievements. Dunant is nicely situated in context, and we get a good sense of Europe - and also North Africa - in the second half of the 19th century. The writing is engaging, the insights on target. This is the best biography of Dunant thus far. * David P. Forsythe, author of The Humanitarians: The International Committee of the Red Cross (2005) * To my knowledge, this is the most extensive biography of Henry Dunant ever written. It shows him as a whole person and seeks to explain his character and actions in a contemporary way. It will give any reader a more rounded understanding and view of a man who is most often viewed as an icon. * Michael Meyer OBE, Head of International Law, British Red Cross * This is the most authoritative biography of Henry Dunant. Based on extensive research, primary documents and Henry Dunant's own correspondence, it is marvellously written. * Francois Bugnion, honorary member of the International Committee of the Red Cross *
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About Corinne Chaponnière

Corinne Chaponniere is a journalist, researcher and lecturer with a specific interest in the history of the Red Cross and the life of Henry Dunant.
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