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United Nations: The First Fifty Years 1st Pbk. Ed Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0871136565
ISBN-10: 0871136562
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This lucid, popular version of the first 50 years of UN history by former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Meisler is organized around the various crises the UN has faced since its inception?Israeli independence, Korea, Suez, the Congo, Cuban missiles, Vietnam, the Six-Day War, the Gulf war?and also includes chapters on the various secretaries-general. Meisler doesn't pull any punches in assessing the policies and personalities of the world organization, excoriating former secretary-general Kurt Waldheim for concealing his past ("it seems like a fortuitous metaphor for the United Nations to be led during the 1970s by a Nazi and a liar"). Yet he is fair-minded in his presentation, opining that "Though cautious, [Waldheim] was an adequate and active secretary general." This up-to-date account concludes with chapters detailing the UN's travails in the quagmires of Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. A handy primer for those who want to know the score but haven't taken the time to unravel the byzantine workings of the world organization.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The Korean War. Suez. The Congo. The Cuban Missile Crisis. The Six-Day War. The Persian Gulf War. Somalia. Rwanda. Bosnia. Meisler, who reports on foreign affairs and the United Nations for the Los Angeles Times, surveys 50 years of U.N. diplomatic triumphs and failures.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (February 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871136562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871136565
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,076,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stanley Meisler is the author of the biography Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War, the history United Nations: A History (a revised and expanded edition of his earlier United Nations : The First Fifty Years) and the history When The World Calls: The Inside Story Of The Peace Corps And Its First Fifty Years. Meisler served as a Los Angeles Times foreign and diplomatic correspondent for thirty years, assigned to Nairobi, Mexico City, Madrid, Toronto, Paris, Barcelona, the United Nations and Washington. He still contributes articles to the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Sunday Opinion and Art sections and writes a News Commentary for his website, www.stanleymeisler.com.

For many years, Meisler has contributed articles to leading American magazines including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, The Nation, the Reader's Digest, the Quarterly Journal of Military History, and the Columbia Journalism Review. While most of these articles focus on foreign affairs and political issues, he also has contributed more than thirty articles on artists and art history to the Smithsonian Magazine.

From time to time, he has contributed chapters to various anthologies and textbooks. These include "The Massacre in El Mozote" in Thinking Clearly: Cases in Journalistic Decision-Making (Columbia University Press, 2003), edited by Tom Rosenstiel and Amy S. Mitchell.

Meisler has twice won the Korn-Ferry Award for Excellence in United Nations Reporting and is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Area Training Fellowship in African Studies. He conducted classes in international reporting at the Columbia University School of Journalism in 2003 and 2004.

He began his journalism career in 1953 as a reporter for The Middletown Ohio Journal and went on to work as a reporter with the Associated Press from 1954 to 1964. He was deputy director of the Office of Evaluation and Research of the U.S. Peace Corps in Washington before joining the Los Angeles Times in 1967.

Meisler received a B.A. in English Literature from the City College of New York in 1952 and undertook graduate studies in both English Literature and African Studies at the University of California in Berkeley.

Stanley Meisler is married to Elizabeth Fox, development communication expert and editor of the book Latin Politics, Global Media.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a gem in terms of the analysis it presents. Its concise easy to read and broken in to parts which allows the reader to examine major events involving the united nations during the last 50 years. It of course deals with the establishment of the UN in 1945 and quickly moves to its first major test in 1948, the construction of a Palestinian settlement involving the Ralph Bunche who following his efforts received the noble peace prise. The reader gets enough information to work out exactly the main players and positions relating to many of the crisis which have faced the organisation since 1945.
The Suez crisis of 1956 and the role of the Dag Hammershold receive particular attention. It explained the establishment of the first peace keeping force to be set up with a mandate agreed by the parties to the conflict. Later under the direction of Secretary General Uthant this force was withdrawn under pressure from the Egyptian Government leading ultimately to the Six-Day war of 1967. This and many other issues like it are examined with a critical eye. The book is not shy on pointing out the failures of the organisation however in doing this one is challenged to consider whether or not we could have afforded to live the last half century without some form of internationally agreed political/security organisation.
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Format: Paperback
This book was an assigned reading for my International Law and Organizations class, and I was really pleased with it. It's very interesting and easy to read (unlike a lot of other things we've been assigned to read). This book covers the history of the UN's first fifty years, and it deals a lot with people and personalities. Each chapter is about a crisis or event in the UN's history such as the 1967 Six-Day War, and each chapter is divided into much smaller sections of not more than a page, so it's easy to find places to stop reading, put the book down, and then be able to pick the book up again and continue reading without much effort in remembering where you left off. The other book we were assigned for this class provided the nuts and bolts of how the UN was formed, how it is organized, what's in the charter, etc. This book provided an excellent, practical view of how that organization and charter have been put to the test over the last fifty years.
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Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book enough. Get it before it disappears from the world! (It was written in 1995)

It is an easy, quick read filled with interesting quirks and quotes from the most important figures in recent history.

It provides a condensed history of crisis, war, leaders and resolutions from 1945 to 1995.

Definitely worth reading, it's the most entertaining way i have come across of learning 50 years of dynamic history.
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Format: Paperback
Meisler has done an excellent job in introducing the UN to the general public with a format and language that makes it an entertaining and easy read. The most intense crises that the UN faced since its creation after WWII are all here, as are some of the greater personalities like Ralph Bunche and Dag Hammarskjold.
However, the book only briefly discusses the creation of the outlying organizations of the UN family - like UNESCO, UNICEF, and FAO. I find this to be a flaw due to the fact that these are the organizations that the UN is mostly associated with today - and not the major crises of the Cold War and beyond.
But all in all Meisler has done a magnificent job that will deepen your understanding of the UN's origins, mission, potentials, and short-comings.
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