~Half way through the book, I asked myself: am I reading a politics book or a law book? This book covers the headline international political events as well as the fundamental international law issues behind them: the Iraq war, the war on terrorism, global warming, establishment of the International Criminal Court, the WTO versus the environment and other public interests, and the safety of international investment. It is an obviously sophisticated political commentary, empowered by legal~~ analysis. The legal issues are wonderfully illustrated in parallel with the development of the political drama, sometimes ending with the scream of law, usually in anger and pain at being stamped upon. It is also a very good law book exquisitely and accurately depicting the making, breaching and arguing of international law. This book has managed to give life to international law and give a rationale to politics.
The title of the book is supposed to highlight America. I was impressed with~~ the honesty and fairness of the author, who never hesitates to give America the credit it deserves. Not only was Roosevelt's contribution to international law and the new international order discussed, but also less well known facts, such as Nixon's contribution to international environmental protection and the Clinton administration's push to set up the International Criminal Court, are told in a non-partisan manner. Equally, Philippe Sands did not show any mercy in pointing out where and how~~ America has breached and damaged international law. While reading the book, I almost forgot it was focused on America, mainly because the topics covered in the book are of such concern and influence to all of us, whichever nation we belong to. The book is really an updated international law and political overview.
The most exciting and significant thing about this book is that Sands has initiated a new approach to international law study and a new style of political criticism. Public~~ international law practice has long been an area monopolized by a small elite group, not the business of the public, ironically. This book, however, not only brings readers inside the international courts and tribunals where the author has represented cases, but also tirelessly and proudly records the interaction of societies, NGOs, and individuals with some of these cases. International law in this book has been transferred into the public arena, making it an experience of the public as it~~ should have been. The author also pays close attention to materials from public media, including the internet, about international law. In fact, not too many international law books have used images of single individuals on their front covers. Even the language in the book is unpretentiously short and clear, with many questions raised and answered in a documentary style. It is so engaging that you want to look at the photo of the author, who looks in the picture more like Picasso than a~~ professor or barrister. He has applied, if not initiated, a unorthodox approach to international law study, an approach I would call popular international law.~