The United Nations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 30 Oct 2008
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About the Author
Jussi M. Hanhimäki is Professor of International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. An editor of the journal Cold War History, he is the author or co-author of six books, including The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy. He won the 2002 Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
Top customer reviews
The U.N. is thus a reflection of American ideology, that is to say Enlightenment based and with all the delusions that come from that liberal belief. What it is not, despite any appearance to the contrary is Kantian World Peace. In short it is without teeth save in so far as facilitated by America (who conduct their show-trials at The Hague and impose their own financial disciplines via the World Bank and the WTO and the IMF).
On page 5 we are informed that the U.N. is the only really global organisation. What then of the Roman Catholic Church, The British Empire, FIFA or The Olympics? - and of course almost all multi-nationals, and N.G.O.s. Perhaps in the spirit of market competition there should be an alternative organisation attempting the same range of activities as the U.N. - and it has to be said that the E.U. seems on course to achieve that, but that would surely then lead to the problems the U.N. is supposed to suppress. Ultimately then the question - whose answer negates the U.N. - is who controls the U.N., a question which whenever put of any body has no adequate answer.
The cover of my copy is a somewhat darker and dramatic Philip Atkins painting. The book is well done so far as I can tell with somewhat thicker pages than usual for a vsi.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As the author acknowledges, he's writing the book as a UN apologist. Yet at the same time, he doesn't hesitate to discuss the many times and ways the UN's fallen short of its original lofty goals. I tend to think it won't change many people's minds about the value or futility of the UN (it doesn't seem to have been written with an explicit goal of that sort), but at least it'll leave people better informed as to what the UN does and doesn't do, effectively and incompetently.
It is very systematic. The topic order is well-selected.
Although it is a short introduction, it covers all fundamental areas related to the structure and the functions of the UN.
Another aspect which made me give 5 star is that the topics are professionally explained from a historic- perspective.
I would strongly recommend this book to the student interested in one of the topics (IR, UN, human rights, environment etc.)
An updated version of the book would include the development since 2007.
The author give us a an overview of the U.N.'s roots and the challenges the organization is facing today.
I recommend it for everyone interested in U.N.
It could be a little bit lager as a book however. The Oxford Uni Press could have given this gift to the reader.
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