“This is a definitive account of the United Nations for a general audience, told by a master.” —Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post
United Nations: A History begins with its creation in 1945. Although the organization was created to prevent war, many conflicts have arisen, ranging from the Korean War, to the Six-Day War, to genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda. Stanley Meisler’s in-depth research examines the crises and many key political leaders. In this second edition, Meisler brings his popular history up to date with accounts of the power struggles of the last fifteen years, specifically spotlighting the terms of secretaries-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan, and Ban Ki-moon. This is an important, riveting, and impartial guide through the past and recent events of the sixty-five-year history of the United Nations.
“Balanced and insightful, this book is a must for anyone who wants to understand where the U.N. has been and, more importantly, how we might best use its potential for the future.” —Thomas R. Pickering, former US ambassador to the UN
This lucid, popular version of the first 50 years of UN history by former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Meisler is organized around the various crises the UN has faced since its inception--Israeli independence, Korea, Suez, the Congo, Cuban missiles, Vietnam, the Six-Day War, the Gulf war--and also includes chapters on the various secretaries-general. Meisler doesn't pull any punches in assessing the policies and personalities of the world organization, excoriating former secretary-general Kurt Waldheim for concealing his past (``it seems like a fortuitous metaphor for the United Nations to be led during the 1970s by a Nazi and a liar''). Yet he is fair-minded in his presentation, opining that ``Though cautious, was an adequate and active secretary general.'' This up-to-date account concludes with chapters detailing the UN's travails in the quagmires of Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. A handy primer for those who want to know the score but haven't taken the time to unravel the byzantine workings of the world organization.