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Interventions: A Life in War and Peace Hardcover – September 4, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204203
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A Washington Post 2012 Notable Work of Nonfiction

“Avoiding the nebulous rhetoric of many political memoirs, Annan instead provides a peacemaker’s invaluable perspective on those crises as well as insight into the daunting challenges facing international diplomats in today’s strife-ridden world." --Booklist

[A] first-hand survey of efforts to attend to the world’s ills, recalling an alphabet of post-Cold War U.N. peace work from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.” --The Washington Post

“Written as part autobiography, part history lesson, [Interventions] is infused with Mr. Annan’s accounts of private encounters with world leaders.”  --Rick Gladstone, The New York Times

“[An] interesting memoir… The accounts related by Annan… are worth every minute spent reading them. Nobody alive can quite match what he has heard and seen. As a bonus, he names names of national rulers and less well-known diplomats. For readers who want to identify heroes and villains, the book provides plenty of material. … With his book as his legacy, perhaps [Annan] will inspire younger individuals to make inroads against  incredible cruelty around the world.” --Christian Science Monitor

“An insider's personal account based on lessons drawn from long experience.” --Kirkus

“In this thought-provoking new memoir, Kofi Annan describes the peaceful and more equitable world that is within our grasp, and offers his candid perspective on the challenges we must overcome to get there. Interventions is a powerful reminder that the United Nations still matters—and must continue to matter if we want our new century to be more free, peaceful and prosperous than the last.”
    --President William J. Clinton

“Kofi Annan has been a powerful voice for the poor and a tireless advocate for peace. As a catalyst for international security and human rights, Annan reminds us that we, as a global community, are more alike than different. His life’s work demonstrates what is possible when we focus on the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity.”
    --Bill Gates

“Kofi Annan is a great global leader of our time. This wonderful book gives the readers a lucid and enjoyable understanding of the kind of reasoning and commitment that has made Annan such a force for good in the troubled world in which we live.”
    --Amartya Sen

"Behind the velvet tones of Kofi Annan's dulcet Ghanaian voice, there's a fearsome and fearless iron will, intent on finding solutions to some of the world's biggest problems."
    --Bono

“An insightful and candid account of the most defining and complex conflicts and peace deals of the last decades of the 20th century intertwined with the vision and the life journey of one of the most outstanding global leaders of our times. Kofi Annan marks his footprint in history with leadership values in which truth, humility and dignity are the weaving threads.”
    -- Graça Machel, founder of the Graça Machel Trust

“Kofi Annan gives a candid, clear and thoughtful account of his successes and failures in one of the world’s most challenging and thankless jobs.”
    --Lee Kuan Yew, former prime minister of the Republic of Singapore

About the Author

KOFI ANNAN was the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations—serving two terms from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2006—and was the first to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff. Annan has served the United Nations in various capacities since 1962, including working as the under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations and the special representative of the secretary-general to the former Yugoslavia. Born in Ghana in 1938, Annan is the first sub-Saharan African to hold the post of secretary-general. In 2001, Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with the citation praising Annan’s leadership for “bringing new life to the organization.”


NADER MOUSAVIZADEH is the chief executive officer of Oxford Analytica, a global analysis and advisory firm. Previously, Mousavizadeh served at the United Nations in the Office of the Secretary-General from 1997 to 2003 and was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. A Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Harvard College, he received his M.B.A. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Sloan Fellow. He is a foreign affairs columnist for Reuters and the editor of The Black Book of Bosnia.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
The book examines the work of Kofi Annan & the United Nations.
C. M. Cotton
On the contrary, I found myself almost unable to put the book down, and finished it in a few days.
A.J.
Brilliantly written and a candid account of his life as the world's most successful civil servant.
Mahamadu Sumani

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By AlwaysOntheGo on September 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have rarely read a book more eloquently written while being highly accessible at the same time.
By giving us the opportunity to look at the recent history of wars and carefully brokered peace deals from inside the UN, I finally understand what I failed to grasp when atrocities were happening. It's one of those insightful books that are hard to put down. Former Secretary General Kofi Annan sheds light on the workings of the UN, especially the Security Council and the Peace Keeping Operations, without trying to conceal the failings. His candid way of explaining how and why peace operations failed, shows what a great and intelligent man he is.
I feel privileged to have read his memoir; without this book I would have never understood how 800.000 people could die in Rwanda without us being able to prevent it, or how the world could abandon Somalia. He explains history we all have been part of.

His book should be a must-read for AP history students and is highly recommended for all who want to understand recent wars from the inside. At the same time it's also a very informative read for those who otherwise aren't interested in the day to day activities of the UN. By reading this book your eyes are being opened.

I'm highlighting sentences while reading this book; there is so much I want to fully understand and remember. I highly recommend this book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By FictionFan TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that everyone should read, voluntarily or not, just to see how incompetent, ineffectual and complacent our 'leaders' really are.

The book is well written, clearly laid out around a number of themes and obviously heartfelt. Kofi Annan himself is obviously a decent man, hard working, caring and diplomatic. But to what end? This book is a record of failure after failure, procrastination, buck-passing and extraordinary complacency; of societies riven by dictatorship and despotism while the UN agonises over methodology. A story of democratically elected leaders failing time and again to act in a way that would encourage improved security in the trouble spots of the world, failing to live up to promises on aid, failing to provide troops for peace-keeping missions, failing to do the one thing we pay them to do - that is, lead.

However good Annan's intentions may have been, even he can find very few successes to point to, and as head of an organisation with a $10 billion per annum budget and 44,000 staff (figures he gives himself) that's a fairly damning indictment of the UN and the international community in general. Drawing up policies and goals is one thing, living up to them quite another. But again and again Annan congratulates himself and the UN on simply coming up with a form of words or getting people round a table - the process is celebrated regardless of outcome.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Darryl Henry on October 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There were a lot of questions that I had regarding world events that this book provided answers for. The answers are seemingly of a neutral point of view; which is also very helpful; specifically questions on Rwanda and Congo.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marianne Rowland on October 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very accurate picture of what is going on at the United Nations. Annan is world class person interested in protecting all people on the planet. I would recommend this book to everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on January 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a present and was perhaps prepared for a somewhat
long and half-boring (although surely interesting) read about world politics.
On the contrary, I found myself almost unable to put the book down, and
finished it in a few days. Kofi Annan strikes just the right balance between brevity and detail
to paint an illuminating picture of the world's main conflicts in the 1990s and 2000s,
and the forces that shaped their cause and outcomes.

I found the most interesting parts to be his description of the psychology driving
global leaders, from the importance of self-respect and dignity that motivate
many leaders (sometimes leading them to take disastrous decisions), to the (at first glance
inexplicable) reasons the Iraqi's did not cooperate with UN weapons inspectors
(one reason being Iraq's fear of Iran and Israel and wanting to maintain a
shadow of a doubt about having nuclear weapons to deter these neighbors).
Kofi Annan has obviously a great grasp of diplomacy and how a deep understanding of
human psychology is the only way to achieve agreements.

It was also refreshing to see that even the UN's general secretary views the structure of
the security council as a weird old relic from WWII that has to be changed.
Overall, it is a frank assessment of strength and weaknesses of the UN, successes and failures during his tenancy, and a good history recap of the last 20 years of world conflict (and their historical background).
Highly recommended.
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