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Josef JoffeIs the United Nations boring and irrelevant? This book certainly is not. Call the organization a "haven of hypocrites" or "humanity's best hope," tote up its many miseries and few glories. But if you want to understand this vexing creature with its 192 heads, The Best Intentions is one of the finest guides around, indeed, the best in recent memory…Traub, always the dispassionate analyst, neither condemns nor condones. His is a melancholy tale, beautifully written and meticulously researched—about a hero who was not so much flawed as indecisive, whose clout could never measure up to his lofty purpose. How could it? A secretary general is precisely what the title says: a secretary beholden to 192 bosses, all seeking power while pretending to serve the common good.
—The New York Times