A Life in War and Peace

Book - 2012
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Over forty years of service to the United Nations - the last ten as Secretary-General - Kofi Annan has been at the centre of the major geopolitical events of our time. Drawing on his recollections of major figures from Tony Blair to George W. Bush, Yasser Arafat to Yitzhak Rabin, Saddam Hussein to Nelson Mandela, Interventions offers a unique, behind-the-scenes view of global diplomacy during one of the most consequential eras in recent history.

With eloquence and immediacy, Annan recounts the highs and lows of his years at the United Nations- from shuttle-diplomacy during crises such as Kosovo, Lebanon and Israel-Palestine to the disastrous and wrenching battles over the Iraq War and the creation of the landmark Responsibility to Protect doctrine. He writes with unprecedented candour about the organization's ongoing challenges and failed efforts - the tragedies of Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia, continuing violence in the Middle East, the endurance of AIDS and endemic poverty on his home continent, and much else.

Yet Annan embeds these crises within the context of global politics, revealing how, time and again, the nations of the world have retreated from the UN's radical mandate. He makes a passionate case for a United Nations that serves the interests of individuals around the globe rather than of its member states, and that intervenes, rather than stands by, in the face of humanitarian crisis. Ultimately, Annan shows readers a world where solutions are available, if we have the will and courage to see them through.

An unparalleled personal history of international statecraft, Interventions is as much a memoir as a guide to world order - past, present, and future.

Publisher: London : Allen Lane, 2012.
ISBN: 9781846142970
Characteristics: xiv, 383 p., [8] p of plates : ll., ports. ; 24 cm.


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Nov 16, 2016

A candid, honest, and meditative reflection on Kofi Annan's term as secretary general of the UN, as well as an analysis of the basic purpose and future of the United Nations through the perspective of a rapidly changing world. I especially enjoyed how the author stresses the importance of the United Nations turning away from the sovereignty of countries, member states, and political positions, and focuses rather on the individual and their rights and safety. The phrase "responsibility to protect" is used more than once. Also personally enlightening were the chapters about the US involvement in the Iraq war post 9/11, and the development and reception of the millennium development goals. A long and powerful read, this book introduced me to many different situations occurring around the planet, and the complexities involved in addressing them.

ChristchurchLib Feb 19, 2013

February 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter

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