Selected as one of Medair’s Books Every Humanitarian Should Read.

“In Chasing Chaos, Jessica Alexander serves up a sharp critique of the multi-billion dollar humanitarian aid industry, wrapped in a tender coming-of-age story. Her quietly evocative prose recreates the painful, poignant, and sometimes hilarious experience of marching into 'the field' of armed conflict and disaster to relieve suffering, supported by donations from those who expect heroism. With remarkable honesty and empathy, Alexander reveals how absurd and presumptuous it is to imagine we can fix the world and, even more profoundly, why we must continue to try. An important book.” 
—Sheri Fink, New York Times bestselling author of Five Days at Memorial

“Terrific new memoir...It's Wild in Sudan.” 
—Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

"Jessica Alexander's book, Chasing Chaos, is not only a candid portrait of the life of a humanitarian aid worker, but a wonderful coming-of-age story that will resonate with any woman who has questioned how to have a more meaningful life.” 
—Mia Farrow

“In Chasing Chaos, Alexander takes us to a place where few outsiders can go, cracking open the rarefied world of humanitarianism to bare its contradictions—and her own—with boldness and humor. The result is an immensely valuable field guide to the mind of that uniquely powerful and vulnerable of beasts: the international aid worker.”
—Jonathan M. Katz, author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster

“You'll start Chasing Chaos because you are interested in humanitarian aid. You'll finish because of Jessica Alexander's irresistible storytelling: her honesty, her humanity, her wackadoodle colleagues, her dad. I loved it.” 
—Kenneth Cain, author of Emergency Sex: and Other Desperate Measures

“Enlightening...eye-opening...Chasing Chaos is a solid contribution to what is hopefully a growing genre of writing about a sector that deserves more attention and oversight.” 
Associated Press

In her new book Chasing Chaos, Jessica Alexander offers a poignant, clear-eyed look at the world of international disaster relief and her own addiction to aid work…Chasing Chaos is a reminder that happiness is an act of delicate and ever-evolving inner compromise. The book makes you simultaneously want to pack your bags and never leave home.” 
—The Daily Beast

“Refreshingly absent in Chasing Chaos are any declarations of grandeur or of superior moral fiber. Rather, Alexander’s honesty about her own ignorance on the true severity of the conditions in the places she visits is precisely what makes her remarkable story so accessible. Even now, after a decade working with multiple humanitarian organizations, the author still makes plain how much she has to learn. Alexander is proud of her achievements, and certainly should be, but it is in her detailing of the vast room for improvement in the system that she focuses, with a dry wit and healthy dose of honest self-evaluation, that we are able to connect with her experiences on a more personal level. We are all the more fortunate for it.”

Chasing Chaos IN THE MEDIA




  • Cairo Review of Global Affairs calls Chasing Chaos a “compelling piece of storytelling” Winter 2015

  • Aidnography called Chasing Chaos “very strong starting point for moral, practical and meta-reflections on what drives those who fill humanitarianism with life, passion and professional work ethics.”  December, 2014

  • Chasing Chaos profiled in Women in Aid, Feburary, 2014

  • Humanosphere calls Chasing Chaos "strong and important." January, 2014

  • USAID calls Chasing Chaos: "gritty, gripping tales about the highs, lows and in-betweens of humanitarian work that will inform the soul of the adventure-lover and the dreamer alike,"  December, 2013

  • Philanthropy News Digest, November, 2013

  • Chasing Chaos and Jessica Alexander profiled in SIPA News, November, 2013

  • DevPolicy says Chasing Chaos is “a primer on the challenges of humanitarian aid work” October, 2013

  • Shelf Awareness calls Chasing Chaos “a journey well worth the chase.”

Chasing Chaos In schools

  • Chasing Chaos selected for American University’s Writer as Witness program at American University; Keynote speaker to all incoming Freshman Class, September 2015

  • Chasing Chaos Chosen for Connect: UH Common Reading Experience with University of Herfordshire and UC Davis.

  • Incorporated into curricula at University of Virginia, University of California, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, Champlain College, Salve Regina University and more.