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Mission Improbable Hardcover – March 25, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0739100202 ISBN-10: 0739100203 Edition: First Edition (US) First Printing

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (March 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739100203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739100202
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,918,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Helen Fogarassy was Editor-in-Chief of the UNOSOM Weekly Review in Somalia during the 1994 crisis. She is currently a writer and editor in New York City.

More About the Author

Born in Hungary after the Second World War, Helen Fogarassy passed through Austria with her refugee family and grew up in the industrial northwest region of Indiana.

With a Comparative Literature degree from Indiana University, she began her career at Scholastic Magazines in New York. From there, she branched into literary fiction, journalism and commercial writing.

Her first novel was published in 1988; her association with the United Nations began in 1989. She has worked with such notable figures as Margaret Mahler, the child psychiatrist; Robert Gersin, the industrial designer and members of the Trump Organization.

Fogarassy plays with big ideas in her work, which embraces both the experimentation of expression and the recognition of needed conventions for communicating. Cultural evolution and innovation are pet themes. Of special interest are: the fall of the Iron Curtain and its global aftermath, the 1994 Somalia intervention, the 2008 United States election and the cracking of glass ceilings in the areas of gender and race.

Fogarassy is a member of: The Authors Guild, The International Women's Writing Guild, Poets and Writers, and PEN. She is listed in Who's Who and other biographical publications.

She is married to Bronx criminal defense attorney Robert Hamilton Johnston. Two feline family members are a sleek black male named Shugs and a fluffy black-and-white female named Toots.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mission Improbable gives a very accurate and comprehensive history of the UN operation in Somalia from the historical, political, operational, bureaucratic and personal levels. It describes the anguish of a people struggling to cope both with their own fragmented leadership and with an alien monolith, represented by UNOSOM, in their midst.
The book details the minutiae of a UN bureaucracy at its best and at its worst. On the one hand, it shows how a group of dedicated people representing virtually every culture from around the world can establish themselves in a particularly harsh and dangerous environment, risking their lives to help a desperately needy country get back on its feet and restore its social, economic and political infrastructure.
On the other hand, it demonstrates the ill-preparedness of the Organization, as a reflection of the ill-preparedness of its member state components, to truly understand and to effectively deal with the unique Somalian culture whose goals were essentially parallel to, if not identical with, the UNOSOM mission.
The book touches repeatedly upon the day-to-day frustrations of a transplanted UN bureaucracy, including the furiously circuitous paths that must be taken to get seemingly simple things accomplished, from procuring toilet paper for personal use to trying to explain the whereabouts of a suddenly missing $4 million in cash.
The author explains the conflicts between the age-old Somali clan system, the glue that holds the Somali people together, and the upstart international presence.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author's experience as an information officer with the United nations Mission in Somalia (UNOSOM) provides accurate information for the public on the achievement of the UN/US intervention in Somalia. Her narrative puts the record straight by correcting sensational and incomplete international media reports which helped create the impression that the intervention was a failure. With numerous examples such as the prevention of famine, the checking of cholera, the development of markets, the promotion of cattle and fruit exports and the non-retrogression into total anarchy when the UN pulled in March 1995, Fogarassy points out that these significant developments were ignored by the international media because they lacked commercial newsworthiness.
By introducing a Media Unit as part of its operation in Somalia, the UN was capable of more effective communication with the Somalis by radio and print. The services of the Media Unit were invaluable in assisting the Somali reconciliation meetings in Kismayo, Mogadishu and Nairobi. Additionally, the Media Unit complemented the operations of other UNOSOM departments (Justice, Political, Humanitarian and Disarmament, Demining and Demobilisation), as well as those of other international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The UNOSOM operation highlighted a number of shortcomings in the UN's efficiency in managing field operations needing review, including in recruitment, management and control.
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