At a time when it is fashionable to declare the United Nations as part of the problem, rather than the solution, to international conflicts, two noted historians lucidly explain how the original objective of the body has been lost among indecision, ideological quarreling, and a lack of clear leadership. In FDR and the Creation of the U.N.,
Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley examine the inception of the U.N. and chart its rocky history, identifying FDR as the primary player in the creation of the assembly.
In citing the U.N.'s biggest problems, the authors do not call for disbanding the body. Instead, in keeping with FDR's original vision, they offer solutions for improvements and insights. The challenges are formidable, however, as even daily operations are stalled due to the debt of $3.3 billion owed by U.N. members. The authors pay particular attention to the United States' responsibility for international peacekeeping. To make the U.N. effective, they argue, the U.S. must not only pay its share of the debt, but accept the fact that it has the military and political power to create results--if only it chooses to do so.
From Library Journal
Hoopes and Brinkley (Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, LJ 11/1/92) offer a short history of the formation of the United Nations. They trace decades of interplay between idealism and realpolitik, from the League of Nations, through World War II and postwar diplomacy and planning, to the U.N.'s birth in 1945 in San Francisco. In a preface, the coauthors state their hope that "more reasoned, more consistent" U.S. support of the U.N. will result from an understanding of the decisive role played by Franklin Roosevelt and other Americans in its creation; yet they express doubt, in an epilog, that the organization will achieve the reforms needed to win that support. In between, the authors deliver a fine narrative based largely on familiar secondary sources, such as Ruth B. Russell's History of the United Nations Charter (Brookings, 1958) and Robert A. Divine's Second Chance (LJ 4/1/67). Most useful to libraries serving undergraduates.?Robert F. Nardini, North Chichester, N.H.
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