United Nations: The First Fifty Years

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Overview

Beginning with the birth of the U.N., when Roosevelt, Stalin, Truman, and Gromyko set the stage, United Nations brings us a cast of profoundly important and colorful international players: the brilliant Dag Hammarskjold, who became the most daring, imaginative secretary-general the U.N. ever had; Nikita Khrushchev, who electrified the General Assembly as he pounded his shoe in protest over the Congo; Ralph Bunche, the grandson of a slave and "the Jackie Robinson of American diplomacy," who won the Nobel Peace ...
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Overview

Beginning with the birth of the U.N., when Roosevelt, Stalin, Truman, and Gromyko set the stage, United Nations brings us a cast of profoundly important and colorful international players: the brilliant Dag Hammarskjold, who became the most daring, imaginative secretary-general the U.N. ever had; Nikita Khrushchev, who electrified the General Assembly as he pounded his shoe in protest over the Congo; Ralph Bunche, the grandson of a slave and "the Jackie Robinson of American diplomacy," who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his U.N. work in the Middle East; and U.S. ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who walked out of the General Assembly over the Third World's anti-Zion resolution. United Nations is a story filled with action and heartbreak.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, Meisler has written a compelling popular history, exploring the U.N.'s culture, its adventures in war, and its evolution into a key international player. From Roosevelt, Stalin, and Truman, who set the stage at the birth of the U.N., to Daniel Moynihan, who walked out of the General Assembly over the Third World's anti-Zion resolution, this is a story filled with action and heartbreak. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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, [Waldheim] 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. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The Korean War. Suez. The Congo. The Cuban Missile Crisis. The Six-Day War. The Persian Gulf War. Somalia. Rwanda. Bosnia. Meisler, who reports on foreign affairs and the United Nations for the Los Angeles Times, surveys 50 years of U.N. diplomatic triumphs and failures.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871136565
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Pages: 386
  • Sales rank: 668,150
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

A Note from the Author
1 The Beginnings: From Dumbarton Oaks to San Francisco 1
2 Trygve Lie and Iran: Off to a Bad Start 21
3 Ralph Bunche and the Infant State of Israel 36
4 The Korean War: No More Manchurias 55
5 Dag Hammarskjold 75
6 Suez: The Empires Strike Out 94
7 The Battles of Katanga and the Crash of Hammarskjold 115
8 Adlai Stevenson and the Cuban Missile Crisis: The U.N. as Theater 135
9 U Thant and the Quest for Peace in Vietnam 153
10 The Six-Day War 169
11 Kurt Waldheim: The Big Lie 185
12 Zionism Is Racism 204
13 UNESCO: Defenses of Peace in the Minds of Men 222
14 Javier Perez de Cuellar and the End of the Cold War 239
15 The Persian Gulf War 257
16 Boutros Boutros-Ghali 278
17 The Somalia Debacle 294
18 Alibi: The U.N. in Bosnia 312
Epilogue: The Fiftieth Anniversary 330
Sources 341
Appendix I. A U.N. Chronology 357
Appendix II. U.N. Peacekeeping Missions (as of April 1995) 367
Appendix III. The U.N. System 374
Index 377
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2002

    Can't Live With It, Can't Live Without It

    Stanley Meisler, in his book United Nations: The First Fifty Years, takes an intelligible look into one of the most influential factors of international politics in the 20th century, the UN. Meisler carefully but accurately chooses instances from the first 50 years of the orginazation when the United Nations either achieved their goal in peacefully solving a crisis, or when they purely, simply, and plainly failed to do so. This creates a good balance; a rather unbiased position on the effectiveness of the United Nations thus far. Meisler's indirect rhetoric throughout the progression of events often brings one question to the mind of the reader: "So now that we know this, what can we do with the information?" This can be both beneficial as well as detrimental to the reader's conscience. On one side of the spectrum we have the everyday Joe pleading Meisler to answer the question for him and on the other we have the philosophical historian drawing conclusions on his own. In summation, Meisler's attempt to summarize a body whose events have been so varied in scope and sequence is a positive one, perhaps more practical for the politician looking to find reasons to make or break the reputation of this contreversial establishment.

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