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Taking a Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights Hardcover – September 27, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; 1St Edition edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230112331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230112339
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A man who knows whereof he speaks makes painfully clear the meaning ofthe abstract term 'human rights' . . .A fact-filled, well-researched analysis." - Kirkus Reviews
"Inspires...vividly recounted examples of human rights violations convey the urgency of the cause." - Publishers Weekly
"Juan Méndez is a true leader of the human rights movement. In Taking A Stand he presents us with his extraordinary experience and distils it into words of wisdom." - Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International"Juan Mendez has a remarkable career in human rights. In his early years he suffered imprisonment and torture for standing up for human rights in his native Argentina. Those experiences undoubtedly inspired him to fight many important battles for the protection of endangered people in many parts of the world. His personal story and career that are recounted in this book will inspire all who are interested in the protection of human rights and especially those embarking on a career in that field." - Justice Richard Goldstone, author of For Humanity
"Juan Méndez has been at the forefront of the global struggle for human rights for more than three decades and is awidely admired figure. His book, Taking a Stand, weaves together history, analysis and autobiography to create a compelling narrative of many of the battles for rights in which he has been a leader." - Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Institute
"Juan Mendez's career, cometlike, has streaked clear across the breadth of the human rights firmament, and with this book, he uses that life to illuminate each and every sign, as it were, of the rights zodiac: torture, disappearance, genocide, accountability, justice . . .. His has been a brave and lucid life, and this is a brave and lucid book, elegantly framed, and shot through with an unbowed, if understated, passion." - Lawrence Weschler, author of A Miracle, A Universe and Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder
"Juan Mendez, a towering figure in human rights advocacy, has written an impressively lucid and honest account of his remarkable life. For nearly four decades Mendez has been at the forefront of the human rights movement, not only in Latin America but worldwide. His unswerving commitment to the rule of law comes alive on these pages. Mendez has not only been a witness to history, but has also played a fundamental role in shaping it towards greater decency and justice. Taking a Stand is an invaluable contribution, told with characteristic modesty by a giant in the field who continues to inspire others through his wise reflections and outstanding example." - Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue
"Juan Méndez is a true leader of the human rights movement. In Taking A Stand he presents us with his extraordinary experience and distils it into words of wisdom." - Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International
"Taking a Stand is essential and fascinatingreading for anyone interested in the most effective strategies used by human rights defenders. Juan Mendez draws on his personal experiences as both a victim of torture and a pioneer of human rights advocacyto examine some of the most pressing issues of our day." - Jose Miguel Vivanco, Executive Director, Americas Division, Human Rights Watch
"In the field of human rights, there is no greater advocate than Juan Mendez. This thought provoking and moving book offers remarkable insight into the principles of justice and accountability. It is also a testimony to the uncompromising spirit of a man who, at great personal sacrifice, refused to remain silent." - Mark S. Ellis, Executive Director, International Bar Association
"We can all sleep more soundly at night knowing that men like Juan Mendez take a stand to defend the rights of us all. This is a magnificent book that tells a noble story of passionate but impartial dedication to the cause of human rights. And it comes from someone who learned of human wrongs on the torture table and in jail in his native Argentina and who went on to fight for human rights across the globe.Taking a Stand will inspireothers to follow in the footsteps of Juan Mendez and will also serve as a blueprint on how to stand up to dictators and advance true democracy." - Robert Cox, former editor-in-chief of the Buenos Aires Heraldand former president of the Inter American Press Association
"To a remarkable extent, Juan Mendez's personal story parallels the history of the human rights movement. As a torture victim in Argentina whose life may well have been saved by activist intervention, Juan provides an early illustration of the power of the movement. As a leader in several of the world's most prominent human rights organizations and initiatives, Juan helped shape the movement in its formative stages as it discovered its voice, role and influence. Juan tells this growing-up story with the passion, insight and intelligence that has characterized his long and impressive career. The human rights movement is lucky to have had Juan as a core member, and is fortunate to have him now share this moving and perceptive account of its evolution." - Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

About the Author

Juan Méndez is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. Previously, he served as the first Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations on the Prevention of Genocide and is the former president of the International Center for Transitional Justice. He spent 15 years at Human Rights Watch, then served as executive director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica and was president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. He is currently a visiting professor of Law at Washington College of Law. He lives in New York City.

Marjory Wentworth is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet whose has worked extensively in human rights for organizations such as the UN High Commission for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland; The Whole World Institute of Boston; and Church World Service in New York. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Grier on May 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My only criticism of "Taking a Stand" is that there is only one endpaper provided for notes, quotes and comments.

Not only did I learn a great deal from this book, it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride. It was like a favorite college course that I couldn't wait to attend. Beautifully and carefully worded, it is both dispassionate and poignant, a wonderful collaboration between a human rights expert and a South Carolina Poet Laureate. Mendez and Wentworth provide a comprehensive, well rounded discourse on past, present and possible future human rights issues, with some opportunities for reading between the lines, as well as prompts for forming your own opinions.

Background information and history reminders flow smoothly to present day challenges and realities in human rights issues, philosophies and international policies, on to future goals and challenges for policy making and International Crimes Court improvements.

In a very clearly and organized manner, they taught, for example, the difference between "dictator" and "authoritarian" governments, the pros and cons of sanctions, how soccer can influence war, about the Falklands war politics, how Peru made landmark precedents in human rights, government versus non-government HR organizations (NGOs) and present turf wars. They include the varying positions of the U.S. governments, including the backsliding of our policies and international stance during the Reagan and Bush administrations. Sprinkled in are moving personal experiences of Mendez and colleagues as political prisoners and professional advocates.

In the conclusion Mendez states that he is encouraged by the many young students who enroll in his classes, interested in human rights. I suspect that they do it as much for the quality of the lectures.

It is a necessary book, for everyone should be aware of what really happened, what's happening now, and what could be - in your own life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. L. Stewart Carton on March 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is good for anyone in the field of Int'l Relations, Human Rights, Politics, Teaching...probably doesn't interest most people but for me it is important...I work w/human and animal rights and historic evolution of the idea of 'human rights' is essential to grasping what has been achieved and the "whys and wheres" etc.
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