This volume is primarily a study of the ideas about aid (more specifically about official aid) . It comprises four parts: Part I, 'Ethical Foundations', considers the moral questions raised in the aid debate. And Riddell concludes that there remains a moral case for governments to give aid. Part II 'Theoretical Debates', discusses the various macro-theories put forward to support or challenge the view that aid can assist in the development process of Third World countries and examines the cross-country evidence available to support the differing theoretical viewpoints. Riddell concludes that: 1) aid is neither sufficient nor necessary for development to occur; 2) the case for aid at the theoretical level is far from clear-cut; 3) the views and conclusions of the different critics also find no general support. Part III, 'Assessing the Evidence', examines first the methods used to evaluate aid's impact at the micro-level and then discusses the project and country-specific evidence available for making overall judgements about it. Riddell's conclusions are: 1) although there is plenty of evidence to indicate aid's inadequacies, this by no means leads support for the generalised conclusions that are frequently made; 2) critics and advocates alike have far too little understanding of the complex nature of development and too little data upon which to base the respective conclusions they readily draw. To date, aid evaluation has been a very blunt and inadequate tool with which to construct firm and incontestable conclusions. The final part, 'Retaking the Middle Ground', summarizes the preceding chapters and comes to some overall conclusions. Riddell expressed his opinion that there is a role for official aid, based on addressing the needs of the poor in the Third World, and that, while aid is by no means the necessary or even the crucial ingredient for development, it can assist in the alleviation of poverty, directly and indirectly.