The United Nations: 75 Years of Promoting Peace, Human Rights, and Development

ABC-CLIO. Sept. 2020. 581p. ISBN 9781440851568. $97. REF
Kille (political science and global & international studies, Coll. of Wooster) and Lyon (political science, Univ. of New Hampshire) have created a discursive work that expertly outlines the origins, purposes, structures, agencies, leaders, and core issues of the United Nations. Bookended by a well-done functional organization chart at the beginning of the book and by a copy of the UN charter at the end, the volume is divided into six parts (founding purposes and principles, principle organizations, basic UN system, individual actors in the UN, current concepts and issues, and documents), each of which includes a short introduction, lengthy and meticulously researched entries, see-also references, and resources for further reading. The writing is balanced, the supporting documentation is rich, and the topics are fascinating and varied. The authors deftly report on both the achievements and the criticisms of the agency. Many entries include charts, graphs, inserts, and pictures, making the volume perfect for student reports and for general readers curious about the evolution, interworkings, and status of the UN. Although a general introduction about the organization might have been in order, its absence does not detract from the exceptional content. Many readers may not be aware of the extent and impact of the UN’s accomplishments, history, and current initiatives, such as disease eradication and economic development in various countries. This impressive work will shed much light on the organization’s role in global issues and world politics over the last seven decades.
VERDICT An effective and fair-minded account of the growth, development, failures, and successes of the United Nations.
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