Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0195328769
ISBN-10: 0195328760
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bosco, former senior editor at Foreign Policy, examines the United Nation's global salience—from its roots in the League of Nations to its controversial decision to sanction military action against Saddam Hussein that nearly splintered the organization's collective political clout. Founded on the principle that a permanent Security Council comprising WWII's victors could and should preserve peace worldwide, the organization's constitution and relative importance has evolved with every major shift in international politics—European decolonization in Africa and Asia that resulted in dozens of new political entities, the ongoing Middle East conflict and the threat of terrorism. Bosco punctuates formal details of U.N. resolutions with balanced analysis and entertaining anecdotes about the personalities behind iconic historic events. He concludes with well-reasoned and plausible suggestions for how the organization can change to better reflect political realities, such as the introduction of a dedicated seat for the European Union, a regional organization that takes an increasingly unified position on security issues. (Sept.)
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Review


"Bosco punctuates formal details of U.N. resolutions with balanced analysis and entertaining anecdotes about the personalities behind iconic historic events. He concludes with well-reasoned and plausible suggestions for how the organization can change to better reflect political realities."--Publishers Weekly


"This thorough, well-researched history is appropriate for all with a serious interest in international relations."--Library Journal


"An outstanding contribution to scholarship on the United Nations. David Bosco's impeccable research, astute judgment, and beautiful prose make this book a must read for academics and practitioners alike."--Sam Daws, Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the UK and former First Officer to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan


"This lucid and succinct history of the UN Security Council is worth the good read it generously offers. It sets out clearly the 'highs and the whys' and the 'lows and the blows' experienced by the Council and its Permanent Five dominant players over the last fifty-plus years. A must for those who want to know how the Council, despite its many failures and shortcomings, keeps coming back as the one place where we are, can, and should be working to resolve the world's major problems of peace and security."--Thomas R Pickering, former US Ambassador to the United Nations


"... a balanced and generally non-ideological history of the Security Council (a rare achievement in today's super heated partisan wars over most everything)...Bosco makes a good case that the world has been a bit safer due to the existence of the Council than had it never been created." --American Thinker


"The real value of this work is the combination of in-depth historical survey combined with insightful analysis." -- Choice&R


"Five to Rule Them All is a well researched book that reaches scientific standards but is also accessible and a genuinely interesting read as it is full of many examples and provides an avenue to exploring and understanding the nuances of the UNSC in a way that allows readers to more openly relate to it. In all, this book should be included in the 'must read' list of anyone concerned with the state of international affairs and the potential of the UN and the UNSC to act in-sync with the demands of the 21st century international citizen." --Central European Journal of International Security and Studies


"One of the more important books concerning the United Nations published in the last quarter century...A cross between narrative and analytical insight...crammed with insight." -Gary B. Ostrower, Diplomatic History


"A well researched book that reaches scientific standards but is also accessible and a genuinely interesting read as it is full of many examples and provides an avenue to exploring and understanding the nuances of the UNSC in a way that allows readers to more openly relate to it...This book should be included in the 'must read' list of anyone concerned with the state of international affairs." --Central European Journal of International and Security Studies


"This significant contribution to the history and evolution of the UN Security Council is a fabulous reader for any relevant course -- and all readers in search of a succinct, gripping, and vividly portrayed account of the inner workings of the Security Council. The author's rich background in international affairs renders him well equipped for having undertaken this daunting task."
--ASIL UN21 Newsletter, Issue #42, September 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195328760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195328769
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Cross on October 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding book. In "Five To Rule Them All", David Bosco seamlessly weaves together a series of pivotal events to create a compelling, informative, and thoroughly entertaining narrative of the UN Security Council. The account was clearly well-researched, but it is Bosco's natural gift as a story-teller that makes this book a terrific read.

From the very beginning, when Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and their respective diplomatic representatives first conceive of a new and improved League of Nations, Bosco brings the characters to life, illustrating how personality differences and personal and national interests nearly quashed the formation of the United Nations. Bosco describes the disputes among the global leaders, such as the "X-Matter", with such depth that I felt as if I were actually at the negotiating table with the participants. At the same time, the author is able to put all of these discussions within an historical context so that the implications and consequences of the Security Council's decisions can be easily understood.

With its long history and complicated subject-matter, the UN Security Council poses many challenges as a book topic. Bosco makes a strong case for the Council's inherent value, but he also writes a balanced account that documents the many failures of the organization and includes multiple perspectives on events throughout the book. Ultimately, he makes a persuasive argument that, while the Security Council has fallen short in achieving many of its goals, it has succeeded in accomplishing its primary objective: to avoid conflict (i.e. war) among the Great Powers.

You don't have to be an historian, journalist, or academic to like or appreciate this book. You just have to enjoy reading exciting stories about individuals and events that have helped to shape the modern world.

Jon Cross, Brooklyn, NY
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Mckenzie on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read this book a while back when I was taking an international relations course and it only now occurred to me that I should have written a review for it. What the book does well is give insight into the actors behind the important decisions historically, and lays the seeds throughout the book for the argument that the UNSC was created in order to keep the permanent members from going to war with each other. There is an incredibly low barrier of entry to those looking to learn about UNSC in this book but a high ceiling of insight for those looking to delve deeper into it's themes and the challenges this organization presents by it's vary existence. Please read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Although this book focuses specifically on the Security Council, a lot of its information can be generalized to the UN as a whole and it does so in a comprehensive and deeply thoughtful way. Perhaps most helpful is that the book is very readable and compelling. The quality of the writing is far beyond what you usually get in this genre, and I found myself doing deep reading even of chapters that I only intended to skim because I just couldn't put it down. And although I finished it several weeks ago and have read extensively since then, preparing for graduate exams in IR, I've retained a lot of information from this book and have referred back to it many times for further details or clarification.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Anderson on April 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Bosco has written the best book on the UN in years - the only thing that is in the same ballpark is James Traub's The Best Intentions (2006), which is a very different genre (journalism as opposed to a historical account). Bosco is a remarkably graceful writer - he manages to combine superb academic research and writing skills with the historical arc of a good journalist. There is no better research tool on the Security Council and its history -but this book is genuinely readable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An historical endeavor that has led to the development of the United Nations. The book references a variety of topics to which the security council has debated, and despite coverage of a multitude of topics the author's suggestions and conclusions are easily understood. If you are looking to broaden your understanding of the UN and the complexity of it's responsibilities, look no further.
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