Shortly before Christmas 1996, six people working for the International Committee of the Red Cross were shot dead in their beds in Chechnya. The turnout at their funeral in Geneva’s St-Pierre Cathedral was vast; and so was the sense of shock. For almost the first time in the history of the Red Cross its delegates, in their distinctive red armbands, had been made targets for attack. The increasingly perilous nature of humanitarian work is one of the themes of William Shawcross’s ambitious and fascinating Deliver Us From Evil. Another is how the international humanitarian community, while claiming riot to be able to deal with the disorder to which the world has been reduced, has in fact dealt with it over the past decade.