USAID Histories

In coming months ahead there will be numerous other occasions for UAA members and others to see reports about, or hear directly from, John Norris on his just published book, The Enduring Struggle: The History of the U.S. Agency for International Development and America’s Uneasy Transformation of the World. The book is available directly from the publisher at a 30 percent discount at (use promo code RLFANDF30) or from Amazon.


As noted by all reviewers thus far, the book is extraordinarily well researched.  For example, 63 individual ADST oral history interviews of former USAID and State officers are cited, along with books written or edited by such alumni luminaries as Sam Butterfield, Barry Riley, and Janet Ballantyne, as well as reports and articles by countless other USAID alumni.  You may well find yourself or friends on the pages!


We want to seize this opportunity to remind you that this independent history initiated by the UAA several years ago (with financial help from many of you) was never meant to be the only history of USAID’s sixty years of development experience.  In fact, from the start we were hoping it would spawn a deeper dive into some of the issues only touched upon in the book, or neglected altogether. We hope, for instance, that there will be MA and PhD theses that graduate students will undertake to explore important – and often controversial – questions.


We plan to house the files used by John Norris along with many other historical materials suitable for further USAID-related research at the American University Archives.  We hope that each of you is familiar with the program we arranged several years ago with the Archivist at the AU Library for USAID staff to donate their memorabilia to the Archives.  Please see


We also hope that more AID alumni will write their own memoirs. We hope you all visit from time to time the Bibliography of USAID Authors that John Pielemeier has compiled and keeps up to date.  It is on the UAA website at   There are many memoirs and histories already listed there, filled with personal stories of USAID retirees describing in depth their experience in USAID and its predecessor agencies.  This is in addition to several hundred detailed USAID oral histories housed at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (, many of which John Norris has quoted in his book.