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Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is the story of Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage. After forty years of service at the United Nations, Annan shares here his unique experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11; the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the war between Israel, Hizbollah, and Lebanon; the brutal conflicts of Som Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is the story of Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage. After forty years of service at the United Nations, Annan shares here his unique experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11; the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the war between Israel, Hizbollah, and Lebanon; the brutal conflicts of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia; and the geopolitical transformations following the end of the Cold War. With eloquence and unprecedented candor, Interventions finally reveals Annan’s unique role and unparalleled perspective on decades of global politics.


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Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is the story of Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage. After forty years of service at the United Nations, Annan shares here his unique experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11; the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the war between Israel, Hizbollah, and Lebanon; the brutal conflicts of Som Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is the story of Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage. After forty years of service at the United Nations, Annan shares here his unique experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11; the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the war between Israel, Hizbollah, and Lebanon; the brutal conflicts of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia; and the geopolitical transformations following the end of the Cold War. With eloquence and unprecedented candor, Interventions finally reveals Annan’s unique role and unparalleled perspective on decades of global politics.

30 review for Interventions: A Life in War and Peace

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    It is difficult to imagine someone admitting to being in the leadership of an organization that allowed, with or without intervention, the major atrocities of the last decade of the 20th century. I may be a person who would have gone home spent and embittered with the taste of iron on my tongue. But Kofi Annan did not walk away, nor did he turn his eyes from the terrible events his leadership at the helm of the United Nations was unable to prevent. Kofi Annan did not shrink from the responsibilit It is difficult to imagine someone admitting to being in the leadership of an organization that allowed, with or without intervention, the major atrocities of the last decade of the 20th century. I may be a person who would have gone home spent and embittered with the taste of iron on my tongue. But Kofi Annan did not walk away, nor did he turn his eyes from the terrible events his leadership at the helm of the United Nations was unable to prevent. Kofi Annan did not shrink from the responsibilities of his office as Secretary General of the United Nations. He does not apologize now for having watched over some of the most horrendous events in the history of that body. He does try to explain how it happened that the world stood by while Rwanda ran with blood. Kofi Annan became head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the U.N. in March of 1993 and received the rank of under-secretary-general. The Battle of Mogadishu, also known to Americans as “Black Hawk Down,” took place on October 3rd and 4th, 1993. It was in the immediate aftermath of that devastating event that Force Commander Romeo Dallaire, stationed in Kigali in early 1994, sent an urgent request to raid the arms cache of the ruling Hutu political party, having received intelligence that the group was considering exterminating Tutsis, and including killing Belgian U.N. peacekeepers in an effort to force a pull out. No government was willing to sacrifice domestic troops to “messy entanglements in a civil war.” So Dallaire was ordered to stand down. Kofi Annan became the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations January 1, 1997 and left that role December 31, 2006. After his election to Secretary-General in 1997, Annan began to institute a new overarching policy: The responsibility to protect and intervention as a duty of care. The NATO bombing of Serbian troops in Kosovo in 1999 began without Security Council agreement. “There are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace.” This personal history is readable. There are times in our lives when we follow world events with half an eye. With the disintegration of newspaper coverage in recent years and the change in news delivery to online blurbs, radio, or TV newscasters, all using the same quotes from leaders and spinning them as they will, it is difficult to get a real grasp of how diplomacy works, or if it does at all. Annan won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and what a bitter irony it must have seemed to him then. At his acceptance speech in December 2001, he observed that the world had entered the third millennium “through a gate of fire.” But what I was able to understand from this book is why Annan won the Peace Prize in the first place. He outlines the changes he had proposed to the goals of the U.N. and was able to usher in those changes to a great extent, despite using an imperfect and frustrating organization with competing interests among the players. As the Nobel committee commented at the time: the U.N. redefined sovereignty as a responsibility as much as a right and that sovereignty cannot be a shield behind which member states conceal their violations. One comes to admire Annan’s strength of purpose and purity of intent throughout his years as Secretary General, and we begin to perceive the outline of U.S. interests in dominating the stage. “One of the great ironies of [the 2003-04 U.N. reform] was the manner in which the United States—which had done more than any other country to establish the U.N.—found itself in the position of being the main obstacle to reforming it.” Annan has nothing good to say about how Israel’s leaders continually shirked their moral and political duty to deal with their occupation of disputed territory, and is equally forthright about Arab states in the region: “decades of misrule heaped on centuries of decline.” But he tells of his successes, too: putting the individual, rather than states, at the center of the U.N. focus, developing the Millenium Development Goals, bringing to justice noted war criminals, working with businesses and governments to deal with HIV/Aids, averting escalations of aggressions in the Middle East. After leaving office, and using the skills and knowledge he learned there, Annan helped to create a leadership-sharing government in Kenya at the time of the disputed election in 2008. It may be the accomplishment he is most proud of:My role in mediating the violent 2008 Kenyan political crisis, backed by a remarkable international and African support network, was one for which, in some ways, I had spent my entire decade-long tenure as secretary-general preparing. It was perhaps the hardest, most intensive, and enduring of all my interventions in the affairs of another country, and a deal that required me to draw on every aspect of my experience of diplomacy and energy for peacemaking—this time at the heart of my own continent.” At the end of the book, Annan discusses the decisions which brought war to Iraq. As a diplomat, Annan felt the decision to go to war was a failure on the part of the U.S. leadership which brought only shame, death, and destruction in its wake. He addresses the Oil-for-Food Programme which became a painful reminder that greed and self-interest often parades as generosity when countries seek their own interests at the expense of another. What we should give him credit for is that, despite the outrageous challenges an international body faces in light of bruising collisions between member states, such a man would spend his time struggling for gains that make a difference to the poorest and most disenfranchised among us.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mori N

    When you look back at his arguments regarding the mistakes of the UN, you come to realize that this is only a attempt to justify all the unforgiving failures, holding other factors responsible for it. It's a book worth reading, not because of his arguments, but of the clear image it gives of the UN's preventable failures, and to, hopefully, learn from past mistakes. When you look back at his arguments regarding the mistakes of the UN, you come to realize that this is only a attempt to justify all the unforgiving failures, holding other factors responsible for it. It's a book worth reading, not because of his arguments, but of the clear image it gives of the UN's preventable failures, and to, hopefully, learn from past mistakes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ian Robertson

    There is likely no better author to recap the past 50 years of global politics, conflict and development than former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Born into a politically aware and connected family, and working his way up through the United Nations organisation to become its first internally recruited leader, Annan has a rich story to tell. He recalls the players and episodes with clarity and unvarnished commentary, and is always diplomatic and principled in his criticism. For example, former There is likely no better author to recap the past 50 years of global politics, conflict and development than former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Born into a politically aware and connected family, and working his way up through the United Nations organisation to become its first internally recruited leader, Annan has a rich story to tell. He recalls the players and episodes with clarity and unvarnished commentary, and is always diplomatic and principled in his criticism. For example, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair comes off poorly in the section on Iraq (Annan makes no secret of his dislike of this war), but extremely well in a later recounting of the difficulties in Sierra Leone; and Bill Clinton’s actions in Somalia are pilloried, but in East Timor praised. Annan judges actions rather than personalities, which will appeal to readers around the globe, regardless of their nationality or political stripe. For those of us used to receiving some or all of our news from US sources, the non-partisan perspective is refreshingly and emphatically global and non-American. The book starts with Annan recounting his personal role in the Israeli conflict, the Balkans, and Afghanistan, and his opinions on the position of major players such as George W. Bush, Blair, and Condoleezza Rice, before moving into the more traditional recounting of his family history. We witness how Annan developed his opinions over time, how those opinions showed up later in the policies of the UN, and in turn how those policies impacted the global theatre. Sadly, some opinions and policies came about belatedly: the experiences of Rwanda and Bosnia proved the need for force and not just peacekeeping. In looking back, Annan states “there were times when force was not only necessary but legitimate”. Without being critical of current leadership (though he has no trouble criticizing his predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s management style), Annan looks to the future and prescribes some changes for the UN, including the need for a substantially revamped Security Council, whose model is based on a post WWII geopolitical situation that bears little resemblance to today’s. He notes too how - with the development of today’s communication technology - the rise in the power of the individual has lead to political upheaval such as the Arab Spring, but also to challenges in the way the UN deals with the upheaval. The “emerging global convention of a ‘Duty to Protect’”, played out in Libya’s change of government, proved to be understood quite differently by China and Russia than it was by the US and its NATO allies. For Annan, all the world’s a stage, and while the major players have their exits and entrances, there are many, many character actors in the narrative, often with substantial impact on events or policies. Canada’s Romeo Dallaire and Lloyd Axworthy are notable for their roles in Rwanda and the ‘Duty to Protect’ doctrines, respectively; Austrailian Richard Butler for his disastrous tenure during the Iraq ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ inspections; and Bill and Melinda Gates for their philanthropic foundation. (U2’s Bono is unmentioned except for a quote on the dust jacket). Annan does not confine himself to global hotspots or conflicts, and in addressing the problems of Africa gracefully brushes aside Dambisa Moyo’s bestselling argument (Dead Aid) against “colonialist” aid to Africa, stating plainly that the issue is not the aid itself, but rather the leadership and institutions in the receiving countries. With today’s accountability for results, he says, the traditional blame of colonialism is outdated. A wide-ranging, intimate, and timely retrospective that will be enjoyed by all with an interest in global politics and development.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    'Mugabe at first only shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Mr. Secretary-General, you shouldn't be talking about condoms." "Why not?" I asked. "I have even raised it with the Pope." I began reading Interventions the day it was announced that Kofi Annan had passed away. Interventions is a personal account of his service at the United Nations. Annan wanted to put the individual at the centre in a world built around states, and recounts some of the most challenging situations he was put in as secreta 'Mugabe at first only shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Mr. Secretary-General, you shouldn't be talking about condoms." "Why not?" I asked. "I have even raised it with the Pope." I began reading Interventions the day it was announced that Kofi Annan had passed away. Interventions is a personal account of his service at the United Nations. Annan wanted to put the individual at the centre in a world built around states, and recounts some of the most challenging situations he was put in as secretary-general of the UN, in many ways the world's hardest job. Interventions is a fascinating inside view of what goes on behind the scenes in a changing global arena. The fact that Annan is so candid and critical in his analysis and freely acknowledges and examines the successes and failures of the UN, failures that Annan was very much personally involved in, makes this book a great read. Annan was deeply influenced by Ghanaian independence and grew up believing change is possible. He did not shy away from actively shaping the global agenda, and heavily pushed humanitarian intervention, the MDGs and major UN reform. I read a general book on the UN earlier this year, however Interventions offers an unparalleled insight into some of the major crises from the mid nineties to the early twenty-first century. Kofi Annan was a human rights defender and skillful negotiator - this world could do with a lot more people like him.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angi

    Amazing to read how diplomacy and peace keeping actually plays out in the field...from the man who would know.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Skaar

    What a brave, inspirational leader!! "Sitting down with leaders such as Saddam-or Bashir of Sudan or Gadhafi of Libya-is a responsibility you cannot shirk given what you're trying to achieve. You need to deal with those who can make a difference, those who can stop the bloodshed. You have to talk to the leaders, and get them to find a way to end the killing. Otherwise, how do you accom plish it? I also believed that such leaders could be engaged on a range of levels and motivations, however selfi What a brave, inspirational leader!! "Sitting down with leaders such as Saddam-or Bashir of Sudan or Gadhafi of Libya-is a responsibility you cannot shirk given what you're trying to achieve. You need to deal with those who can make a difference, those who can stop the bloodshed. You have to talk to the leaders, and get them to find a way to end the killing. Otherwise, how do you accom plish it? I also believed that such leaders could be engaged on a range of levels and motivations, however selfish that I could turn to the benefit of a broader mission for peace. If you don't try it you won't ever know." As much as this book is a memoir, outlining the courageous work of Kofi Annan and import reform of the UN, it is also a celebration of all the diplomats behind the scenes that contributed to important developments in geopolitics that often go unnoticed.  This read was like getting a news update over the past 20 years, helping me understand conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Rwanda, East Timor and others that for some reason went amiss in curriculum. Highly highly recommend!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alien

    I was surprised that I enjoyed the book. It is surprisingly interesting and easy to read. The book breaks down stories into a few pages each, which makes it easier for me to read and leave the book for a while if I find myself lost in the history. Being from Indonesia, the most interesting part of this book for me is the part about East Timor. Having read another biography written by then Indonesian President Habibie, it was very knowledgable for me to read the UN's version of the event - not to I was surprised that I enjoyed the book. It is surprisingly interesting and easy to read. The book breaks down stories into a few pages each, which makes it easier for me to read and leave the book for a while if I find myself lost in the history. Being from Indonesia, the most interesting part of this book for me is the part about East Timor. Having read another biography written by then Indonesian President Habibie, it was very knowledgable for me to read the UN's version of the event - not to mention that this side of the story was told by Kofi Annan himself. I don't necessarily agree with some of his decisions in regards to this issue, but I commend his bravery of telling the truth about what happened during the tragedy. Having said all of the above, I still think that this book is a biography that is no different like the others. Sure I learned a lot of things about conducting a hell of diplomacy (I didn't know that you can actually request to meet Hamas leaders! What!), but this book tends to focus on putting Kofi Annan as too much of a hero. This idea bothers me a bit because I sincerely think that the UN is basically powerless if compared to strong powerful countries like the US, UK, France and Germany. Annan even elaborated that in the last 50 pages or so of the book when he described his failure in preventing the umpteenth Iraq war. To conclude, I think this book is a good read for leisure time, to learn a bit of something about how the world actually works. However, this book should not be seen as a source of historical facts and figures, as it is only seen by one mere human. One most important thing about this book: no matter how hard Annan is trying to ensure UN's purpose in this world and how the UN consist of We the Peoples, I am really not convinced. On the contrary to Annan's effort to described his 'hard' life as a UN worker since his early age, reading the book basically confirms my view that UN staff is just paid too much money, travelled to too many countries and did the least of the humanitarian works.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ian Smith

    My guess is this one of those weighty coffee table books with a buying to reading ratio of about 5:1. In this regard, it shares some noble company with other autobiographies of the great and good. Which is a profound shame. For about half way though this book, suspicion that this is yet another attempt to (re)write history lest future historians take a less positive view of this multilateral era, gives way to a growing admiration of a man who faces an impossible task. For the exercise of leaders My guess is this one of those weighty coffee table books with a buying to reading ratio of about 5:1. In this regard, it shares some noble company with other autobiographies of the great and good. Which is a profound shame. For about half way though this book, suspicion that this is yet another attempt to (re)write history lest future historians take a less positive view of this multilateral era, gives way to a growing admiration of a man who faces an impossible task. For the exercise of leadership requires followership, and the position of Secretary-General is more secretary than general; more servant than master. So it with increasing respect that I read of his attempts to steer a course through the messy politics of what many regard as the anachronism of the UN Security Council. I am also exercised by the political imperative to engage with leaders who seem set on destruction of their own people, and/or rape their countries in the odious pursuit of personal wealth. Yet he demonstrates that to engage is not to condone. And his honest admission that UN diplomacy is rarely successful yet rarely wasted provides a reality check for those who seek a more ideologically pure role for the UN. These are lessons that become clearer towards the end of 'Interventions', and I confess that I only truly began to appreciate this book - and this man - when I reached chapters 7 and 8, addressing wars and conflict in the Middle East and Iraq. As with many books which attempt to provide a brief summary of events, the narrative becomes somewhat simplistic at times; on numerous occasions he uses the phrase, "I decided...", which surely belies the complex process of consultation required, and perhaps plays down the contribution of many who surely provided advice and ideas. But this is a sobering and important read. And a fascinating insight into the world of the UN in the 21st century.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nana Fredua-Agyeman

    Interventions - A Life in War and Peace (Allen Lane, 2012; 383) is Kofi Annan's memoir focusing on an aspect of his work at the United Nations. As the title sounds, the book sought to provide some sort of explanation and reasons behind how 'interventions' became a UN policy. Like all memoirs, the book sought to provide certain reasons for which certain actions were taken. Regardless of the fact that most memoirs - including this one - are a way of putting the author in some good standing and exp Interventions - A Life in War and Peace (Allen Lane, 2012; 383) is Kofi Annan's memoir focusing on an aspect of his work at the United Nations. As the title sounds, the book sought to provide some sort of explanation and reasons behind how 'interventions' became a UN policy. Like all memoirs, the book sought to provide certain reasons for which certain actions were taken. Regardless of the fact that most memoirs - including this one - are a way of putting the author in some good standing and explain away, with hindsight, the importance of the author's actions taken some time ago and as in the case of George Bush's Decision Points remove an indelible stigma that has become associated with them; regardless, there is still something to learn. If one reads between the lines, one is likely to grasp the author's intentions lurking behind. In the case of Kofi Annan, there are several areas in the book which one could easily argue with. It also shows who the string-pullers are. For instance, the US influence on the UN was palpable and though Annan mentioned one or two instances where he put up some form of struggle, which he liked to describe as independent thinking, it was clear that the US did whatever they wanted - with or without UN sanctions, including their invasion of Iraq. Yet, the fact that US and UK controls the UN is common knowledge. The real shame comes when Annan, describing the bad governance in Africa wrote continue here http://freduagyeman.blogspot.com/2013...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elza

    Maybe 3,5 This book is part of my 2016 reading challenge This is Kofi Annan’s memoir, focusing on an aspect of his work as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN. It is amazing to read how diplomacy and peacekeeping actually plays out in the field. The book is full of interesting facts and insight of the UN and its politics. It is well written, sometimes a bit difficult to follow because I’m not familiar with all the conflicts in the world. However, I missed the heart. Annan explains and Maybe 3,5 This book is part of my 2016 reading challenge This is Kofi Annan’s memoir, focusing on an aspect of his work as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN. It is amazing to read how diplomacy and peacekeeping actually plays out in the field. The book is full of interesting facts and insight of the UN and its politics. It is well written, sometimes a bit difficult to follow because I’m not familiar with all the conflicts in the world. However, I missed the heart. Annan explains and gives a vivid picture of different interventions he has done over the years, but mostly left out his own feelings and thoughts. It felt more like a report of what happened than a memoir. He writes a lot about UN’s failure and is openly discussing them, which was both interesting and admirable. However, sometimes it felt like he was trying to justify the failures more than explaining them. This book is worth reading! It is interesting and it gives you an insight in the UN. More book reviews here: Elzas book reviews

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    I found this a difficult book to push on through and finish. It seemed that Annan went into deep details at times that weren't all that interesting to me, while glossing over things quickly that I'd have been interested in hearing more about, and he also assumed a little too much historical knowledge on the part of his readers regarding some of the conflicts on which he focused. I lived through all the years he was Secretary General of the UN, but I was busy raising a family most of the time, an I found this a difficult book to push on through and finish. It seemed that Annan went into deep details at times that weren't all that interesting to me, while glossing over things quickly that I'd have been interested in hearing more about, and he also assumed a little too much historical knowledge on the part of his readers regarding some of the conflicts on which he focused. I lived through all the years he was Secretary General of the UN, but I was busy raising a family most of the time, and our mediocre media here in the US has not done a great job of covering world events - Michael Jackson and Lindsay Lohan and Beyonce's lip synching are far more important. I found it interesting that though he condemns Israel quite harshly in the chapters actually dealing with the Palestinian question, he has something different to relate in an earlier chapter about the civil war in Lebanon. "I concluded that 'whatever other agendas they may serve, Hizbollah's actions, which it portrays as defending Palestinian and Lebanese interest, in fact do neither. On the contrary, they hold an entire nation hostage.'" He's also quite frank about the source of many of Africa's problems, even though he looks to the West to provide (as always) more funding. "In a telling, if tragic - sign of Africa's many false starts on the path to development, it is widely recognized that the two principal obstacles to African development are energy and infrastructure. To recall how clearly this was understood forty years ago is to realize the price all Africans have paid for bad governance ever since." and regarding the Africa Report, "It emphasized the failures of the international community, too, including the UN's failure, in helping the peoples of Africa, the failure of all to help them ensure peace and create the conditions for sustainable development. But it stated these failures as orbiting features of a core problem: internal African politics and African leadership." and, "The problems of Africa, however, have always stemmed from a lack of institutions: a lack of the institutional resources necessary to deal with the complex political, social, and economic problems faced on the continent. But irresponsible, unaccountable personalized systems of rule are the enemy of these. Cultivating the authority of a single individual over an entire and diverse population means that any institution that empowers the population's various constituencies has to be blocked or crushed. It means institutions that uphold a system for the peaceful transfer of power between political parties and between leaders have to be eroded or eradicated. Civil society institutions, organizations, and activists independent of the state, and so beyond the control of the Big Man, can never be allowed to flourish. Free enterprise, underpinned by free societies and systems of regulation and law independent of the day-to-day whims of the leader - an essential feature for private sector driven development - cannot be allowed." The applications implicit in that last passage seem a bit scary to me, given the hero-worship some on the left have for the Obama presidency. Annan was, it appears, responsible for the changing mission and vision of the UN in the modern era. As he says, "Before 1988, only a dozen peacekeeping missions were launched in all of the UN's forty-three years. But in the brief period between 1988 and 1992, the Council created another ten." The ideas below are, perhaps, what alarms some folks in this country - we seem to be quite jealous of our sovereignty, having won it a couple of centuries ago through blood and sacrifice. He whines a bit about how the U.S. would never agree to submit itself to the authority of the International Criminal Court. Given the composition of the General Assembly and most of the commissions established by the UN, I can't see that it would be a good thing, myself, as far too many of the rogue states would like nothing better than to drag our leaders and soldiers into trials there. "the opportunity that the crisis in Kosovo provided: to draw a new line in international affairs, to set a new standard in how we held states responsible for the treatment and protection of the people within their own borders. We had to make clear that the rights of sovereign states to noninterference in their internal affairs could not override the rights of individuals to freedom from gross and systemic abuses of their human rights." I found his take on the situations in places like Somalia and the Sudan enlightening. "...civil wars have a security impact far beyond their source. They suck in their neighbors, send thousands of refugees spilling into other countries, create havens for armed groups and terrorists, and they cause the spread of criminal networks and cross-border lawlessness, including piracy." One interesting thing regarding Iraq's intransigence when it came to allowing the UN weapons inspectors to fully verify that all of the WMD's had been destroyed, "Tariq Aziz...once asked a senior member of the UN's inspection team...'You know why we can never allow you to certify that we've rid ourselves of our weapons of destruction, don't you?' The UN official replied incredulously that this was the entire purpose of the inspections, and that once free of the stigma, Iraq could come in from the cold. Aziz replied, 'The Persians and the Jews.' For Saddam, in other words, sustaining the fear that he possessed WMD was all about deterring Iran and Israel, two countries that he considered mortal enemies." Holy guacamole, Batman! It's all about face in the Arab world. All you international affairs freaks might enjoy this one, and I felt it was good to hear Annan's perspective on things.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Guchu

    4.5 stars, ish I think the best political memoirs are just honest to god works of history, through unique vantage points. This was that, a journey through the worst conflicts of modern times vide the lens of a man who sure would know what the hell (often literal) was going on. The honesty was also refreshing; "...we had a responsibility to manage it responsibly and scrupulously. In this we failed, through weak and porous procurement practises, incomplete auditing systems and overall management for 4.5 stars, ish I think the best political memoirs are just honest to god works of history, through unique vantage points. This was that, a journey through the worst conflicts of modern times vide the lens of a man who sure would know what the hell (often literal) was going on. The honesty was also refreshing; "...we had a responsibility to manage it responsibly and scrupulously. In this we failed, through weak and porous procurement practises, incomplete auditing systems and overall management for which I as secretary general was ultimately responsible" That was Annan re Oil for Food Programme. How can you not trust a guy like that to tell you about the non rehabilitable mess that was the Bush administration? I liked it a lot. Read it if you can.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    This is a bold, insightful and highly personal recounting of the last half century of global politics from a career contributor to the United Nations. He is thorough in his narrative, sparing no deserved plaudits nor criticisms. It is refreshing to hear someone of his stature shed light on the reprehensible failings of such major world players as the United States and Israel. His insights on the trials of developing Africa and the potential roles for the United Nations are without equal. A work This is a bold, insightful and highly personal recounting of the last half century of global politics from a career contributor to the United Nations. He is thorough in his narrative, sparing no deserved plaudits nor criticisms. It is refreshing to hear someone of his stature shed light on the reprehensible failings of such major world players as the United States and Israel. His insights on the trials of developing Africa and the potential roles for the United Nations are without equal. A work worth reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sven-eric Söder

    Kofi Annan is without any doubt one of the most successful SG of the UN - although he served in an utmost difficult time. He covers all international hot spots during his time in office. It´s not least interesting to read his evaluation on what happend prior to the Iraqi war. "Interventions" is an important piece of current international relations. Kofi Annan is without any doubt one of the most successful SG of the UN - although he served in an utmost difficult time. He covers all international hot spots during his time in office. It´s not least interesting to read his evaluation on what happend prior to the Iraqi war. "Interventions" is an important piece of current international relations.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    An enjoyable and easy-to-read overview of Mr. Annan's time as Secretary-General of the UN. Offers a good perspective on the evolution of academic logic legitimizing intervention and peacekeeping. An enjoyable and easy-to-read overview of Mr. Annan's time as Secretary-General of the UN. Offers a good perspective on the evolution of academic logic legitimizing intervention and peacekeeping.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Igor Trabuco

    It is not easy being the leader. Great book of memories!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Atta-Amponsah

    Kofi Annan has published a memoir, four years after stepping down as secretary general of the UN. It is difficult to think of anyone in public policy who has been more celebrated. He has already been given awards for "courage" (the JFK Memorial Museum), for "freedom" (the University of St Gallen), and for "international justice" (the MacArthur Foundation); prizes for "security, and development", for "culture, science and education", and even for the "protection of human rights, the defence of pl Kofi Annan has published a memoir, four years after stepping down as secretary general of the UN. It is difficult to think of anyone in public policy who has been more celebrated. He has already been given awards for "courage" (the JFK Memorial Museum), for "freedom" (the University of St Gallen), and for "international justice" (the MacArthur Foundation); prizes for "security, and development", for "culture, science and education", and even for the "protection of human rights, the defence of pluralist democracy and north-south partnership and solidarity". The governments of Germany, Britain, Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Romania and Ghana have pinned medals on his chest. And he has won the Nobel peace prize. This brings the temptation to be snide. Does his assiduous attendance at more than 70 award and honorary doctorate ceremonies not imply a certain vanity? His membership of so many grand international boards a measure of self-importance? Are there not things even more troubling in his career: the scandal of his son's involvement in the UN's oil-for-food programme? Or the catastrophes that happened on his various watches at the UN: Srebenica, Somalia, Darfur – and above all, Rwanda? General Dallaire, the UN commander in Rwanda, asked permission to seize a Hutu arms cache in January 1994, and thus pre-empt plans for mass killing in the capital. Dallaire and many others believe that such early action might have prevented a genocide. Annan's office ordered Dallaire not to act; and Annan, then in charge of peacekeeping operations at the UN, decided not to pass on his request to the security council. To his credit, Annan does not duck this issue in his memoir. He carefully prints Dallaire's call for assistance. He does not try to discredit Dallaire but instead praises his moral courage and his decision to stay behind when his troops had been withdrawn. He admits that the UN "had no genuine, deep expertise in the country". And he accepts responsibility for not contacting the security council. But having made the case against himself, Annan does not apologize. Nor does he blame a lack of international will to intervene. Instead, he argues that there was no reason for the UN to share Dallaire's fears. "In our analysis [Rwanda] seemed to exhibit none of the risks that caused the disaster in Somalia or the continuing problems in Bosnia … We were not alone in our optimism … right up to March 1994" – a month before the genocide began – "reports were still being written by international development agencies, praising Rwanda as an unusual success story." Dallaire's proposal, he argues, was irresponsible, risking a confrontation that could have cost the lives of the entire UN force. He implies that the genocide was unpredictable, going far beyond anything Dallaire forecast, "at a rate and intensity none of us had ever heard of before". This is not a comfortable series of claims. It questions the consensus that in Rwanda there was a warning, the capacity to act, and the clear opportunity to act justly, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Annan's views on this and other interventions reflect a distinctive worldview. He is not uncomfortable with western foreign policy or the idea of intervention. Indeed, he presents himself as a champion of the "legitimacy and necessity of intervention in the case of gross violations of human rights". He shares in the fears and preoccupations of the post-9/11 leaders. He supports interventions, such as that in Kosovo, that occur without UN security council sanction. He worked comfortably alongside the US-led coalition in Afghanistan and – less comfortably – in Iraq. Annan may doubt the competence of western powers, but he does not generally attack their intentions. Even his criticisms of the Iraq war focus largely on the lack of due process and post-war planning. He does not emphasize the senseless, unstoppable, irrational momentum of such interventions or the bankrupting scale of our human and financial investments in both places (in each case more than 250,000 soldiers and civilians, and over $100bn a year). His ease with western foreign policy, however, is matched by pessimism about countries in conflict. Take his attitude to success in Bosnia. Eighteen years have now passed since the siege of Sarajevo was ended. All the major war criminals have died or been prosecuted; not only is there no war, but the crime rate in Bosnia is lower than in Sweden. This was made possible because the US armed and trained the Croat army, put the responsibility for the atrocities on Milosevic, and then bombed the Bosnian Serbs. But Annan cannot resist reminding us that "the Croatian … brutality matched many of the atrocities committed across the border in Bosnia." In so doing he risks associating himself with the many other senior figures who argue that there was a fault on all sides and that the violence was the result of "centuries of ethnic hatred". He is reluctant to do the one thing needed for success in Bosnia: to pick sides. Curiously for the head of an institution that is condemned to operate with half-measures, he does not emphasize the many options that lie between inaction and over-involvement. In Rwanda, as in Afghanistan and indeed in Bosnia, the near impossibility of a foreign power building a state in the face of an armed insurgency did not mean there was nothing to be done. The best chance may have lain in a more moderate approach. Thus in Afghanistan, the best policy has not surged or withdrawn but a lighter and longer-term engagement. In Rwanda, something might have been achieved by small measures such as jamming radio signals: research shows an astonishing amount of the genocide was coordinated through the radio and implies that without radio, it would have been difficult to kill so completely and rapidly. Annan does not dwell on such things. Such ease with western intentions, pessimism about countries in conflict, and lack of focus on partial measures, reflects his professional formation, as much as his character. As with many of the most successful heroes of the international stage (Richard Holbrooke is another) less than four of his 40 years in the UN were spent actually working and living in the developing world. He began as a budget officer in Geneva, and rose in the administration to become head of human resources and then head of finance in New York. He was never given the opportunity to serve long years as a field officer, or to develop a deep, engaged knowledge of the culture, history, or politics of a particular place. Instead, he was rapidly drawn into the thin atmosphere of multilateral plans. The idea of Annan as a heroic world-changer continues to be very useful to many institutions. He was one of the "Elders": an elite of 10, financed by Richard Branson, to resolve the conflicts in Israel-Palestine, Cyprus, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and North Korea. He is president of the Global Humanitarian Forum. And he is the founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation. He provides what universities want their public policy students to hear; what committees are looking for in prize-recipients; and most recently what the international community thought it needed in Syria. But in fact, Annan and the other "global leaders" at his level are unlikely to deliver the kinds of change our institutions require. Truly transformational change relies on exactly the reverse of Annan's worldview. It requires optimism about local capacity and skepticism about the role of the international community. It is more likely to emerge from immersion in the history, the desires, the strengths, and the imagination of a particular culture. In short, change, like politics, is local. Gandhi or Mandela did not forge their reputation and legacy by moving between four continents, a dozen conflicts, and fifty conferences, but by staying home. Annan has been an impressive UN secretary-general: considerate, charming, and prudent. He has produced a book which, like its author, is well-organized, unaggressive, and elegant, with glimpses of an attractive hinterland. But his life could have been different. In November 1974 he returned to Ghana to work as a civil servant, but faced with "a debilitating combination of stultifying corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency" he resigned. "I realized that for me, working with the UN was the best way to serve my country and my continent." Most of us would have been tempted to feel the same. But was he right?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is a memoir co-written by former Secretary-General of the United Nations and 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kofi Annan and his former adviser and speechwriter Nader Mousavizadeh. This book focuses on the workings of the United Nations Secretariat and the conditions under which the Secretary General has to take decisions. It is mainly set in the Post-Cold War era when Annan served as the Deputy Secretary General and then as the Secretary General of the Unite Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is a memoir co-written by former Secretary-General of the United Nations and 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kofi Annan and his former adviser and speechwriter Nader Mousavizadeh. This book focuses on the workings of the United Nations Secretariat and the conditions under which the Secretary General has to take decisions. It is mainly set in the Post-Cold War era when Annan served as the Deputy Secretary General and then as the Secretary General of the United Nations. Kofi Atta Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 January to 2006 December. Kofi Annan and the United Nations were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. He was the founder and chairperson of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairperson of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela. Kofi Annan died earlier this month (18 August 2018) and to my everlasting shame, I did not really know much about him until after his death. I have heard of him in passing over the years, but nothing substantial. Therefore, I thought that it would be appropriate to read his autobiography right now, after hearing so many amazing things about him when he died. Interventions: A Life in War and Peace recounts the role of the United Nations – Kofi Anan in particular in some of the major conflicts during his tenure. During the Rwandan Civil War, the United Nations passed a resolution and dispatch over five thousand troops to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda. It also deals with Kofi Anan's efforts as the Secretary-General to focus the efforts of the United Nations and its members on the bigger picture of providing health, education, clean water, and good governance to everyone. He also set up the International Criminal Court and established tribunals to prosecute serious crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars, and so much more. The autobiography is written extremely well. I found that Kofi Annan to be a down to earth person who is compassionate and loves his job. Kofi Annan was quite the diplomat and negotiator, who faced the horrors that the world had thrown at him. The writing was rather organized, unaggressive, lucid, sagacious, and elegant, which gives an illuminating read. In the end, I was glad that I was compelled to read this biography. All in all, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is a well-written autobiography and a wonderful representation of a wonderful person who had done amazing things with his life and perhaps a new hero in my life.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Tisdel

    A solid review of UN interventions under Annan's tenure as Sec-General. As he says, the UN is not a pacifist organization, but he seems torn over some of his decisions that, in his mind, may have led to unnecessary bloodshed. His main contribution to UN leadership seems to be the perspective of "serving individuals, not states," which led to R2P, or Responsibility to Protect - a formalization of the UN's responsibility in intervening in state-internal human rights abuses. This seems to be reactio A solid review of UN interventions under Annan's tenure as Sec-General. As he says, the UN is not a pacifist organization, but he seems torn over some of his decisions that, in his mind, may have led to unnecessary bloodshed. His main contribution to UN leadership seems to be the perspective of "serving individuals, not states," which led to R2P, or Responsibility to Protect - a formalization of the UN's responsibility in intervening in state-internal human rights abuses. This seems to be reaction to a series of atrocities in the 90s, in which the UN's choice was between acting with the consent of member states and acting to save lives. He seems of two minds about it, though. I'll give one of several illustrations. In the 90s, the UN strictly required 1) the consent of states to intervene in domestic conflicts and 2) the an endorsement from the Security Council. This has worked relatively well, with its best positive use probably being the Gulf War. The framework divides wars into the illegal and increasingly shunned, versus the legal and well-coordinated. However, this set the UN up to sit on its heels in cases of state-internal genocide, or in cases of a rogue permanent SC member vetoing intervention. This was the case in Rwanda, when the UN desperately bid for support in a peacemaking mission, but the other major powers declined endorsement (the US, for example, had been bitten by a foolish mission into Somalia, and interventions were not popular; Clinton's hands were tied). Rwanda gave Amman a crisis of confidence; how could the UN serve individuals, not states, in such an environment? Determined not to let Rwanda happen again, Annan unofficially endorsed an upcoming NATO intervention in Kosovo, without SC approval and state-internal. It saved lives, but Annan now fears set a terrible precedent for ignoring the Security Council requirement, and perhaps led indirectly to the US/UK ignoring the SC in pursuit of its disastrous war in Iraq. He's afraid he changed the normative structure of interventions that made calamity more likely in sum. I am tempted to say he is right. Like nearly all world leaders, he can be a bit formal and long-winded, but he was a vastly easier read than Tang JiaXuan. Not quire as good as Wendy Sherman. But you got to see how a SG works, and that's illuminating. And he freely admitted his failings, in direct terms. Refreshing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mila el

    I decided to read this book in order to better understand the wars and conflicts of the last decades rather than the UN role itself but I must admit that I have got entertained and glad about my choice that also gave me a deep understanding of the UN and, of course, Annan’s work. It starts with the civil wars in Somalia and Rwanda, the war in Bosnia and Annan’s explanations about the principles of peacekeeping and peacemaking when we can rapidly perceive the complexity of their responsibilities a I decided to read this book in order to better understand the wars and conflicts of the last decades rather than the UN role itself but I must admit that I have got entertained and glad about my choice that also gave me a deep understanding of the UN and, of course, Annan’s work. It starts with the civil wars in Somalia and Rwanda, the war in Bosnia and Annan’s explanations about the principles of peacekeeping and peacemaking when we can rapidly perceive the complexity of their responsibilities and position. It goes through Africa’s conflicts and important negotiations where, as a mediator he had the mission to protect the vulnerable or suffering any exploitation but in the same time to be in accordance with the member states interests. There is a long chapter about global fight against poverty and the millennium development goals, the conflicts in the middle east and the 9/11 terrorist attack. Annan’s frustrations and UN impotence in front of the conflict of interests of the member countries are incessantly being mentioned in the book but I disagree from other reviewers which says that the book it is an attempt to justify UN’s failures. In my opinion, if it is already difficult with them it would be even tougher without them.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Faiaz

    Annan writes about his journey before and during his years as the Secretary General (SG) of the UN. Given that there were several notable events that took place under his helm at the UN, I wanted to learn his perspective and behind the scenes diplomacy concerning those events (such as the Rwandan and Srebrenica genocide, post Iraq invasion strained relationship with the US, etc). The book was written with a fluid and lucid language, which makes it a fast but interesting read. It gives you appreci Annan writes about his journey before and during his years as the Secretary General (SG) of the UN. Given that there were several notable events that took place under his helm at the UN, I wanted to learn his perspective and behind the scenes diplomacy concerning those events (such as the Rwandan and Srebrenica genocide, post Iraq invasion strained relationship with the US, etc). The book was written with a fluid and lucid language, which makes it a fast but interesting read. It gives you appreciation for how difficult a role the secretary general has to play; the delicate balance in diplomacy, trying to appease multiple stakeholders. This line stuck with me- "throughout my years as secretary general, I had often found myself in the role of the global interpreter, explaining the United States to the world, and the world to the United States." Annan writes fondly about his childhood in Ghana and his father: "A critical perspective amid supposed certainties and absolutes was essential. He taught me that when others insisted that sides must be chosen, and that it had to be either/or, there was another way that was truer to the reality of a complex world." As the leader of peacekeeping operations, Annan faced tough challenges. He writes: "The disconnect between the international community's professed goals and the resources and risks it was willing to commit to achieve them, would be a prime driver of the peacekeeping trials to come." The Somali mission was notable, as chief of peacekeeping and critical of then SG, Boutrous Ghali's secretive management style. The Mogadishu debacle of US forces, where US forces lost their lives in their secret mission to capture Somali rebel leader General Aidid, triggered strong reaction in domestic US politics. Annan contends that Clinton administration falsely claimed that UN SG was in command of US troops, to shift the blame. In reality, US didn't even tell the UN Department of Peacekeeping (DPKO) about the planned raid to capture Aidid. After this incident, the big powers, especially the US, was unwilling to contribute their troops to peacekeeping missions. On January 1994, before the genocide of the Tutsi started in Rwanda, UN force commander was informed about the possibility of "extermination". The force commander wanted to take swift action based on the intelligence provided to him, to secure the arms cache. But the UN HQ, told him not to take any such action and instead, convey the info to the US, French, Belgian diplomatic missions and the then President of Rwanda. In the next 3 months, an estimated 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda in one hundred days, most of them being Tutsis. This episode is often considered the worst failure in UN Peacekeeping history. Reading about the failures in Rwanda and Bosnia makes it clear that the responsibility of the blame, wrongly is assigned to the UN Peacekeeping staff and troops, according to Annan. The decisions that set these missions up for failure, despite repeated call for more decisive action based on the public commitments the security council members made, were these countries who ultimately controlled the mandate and resources given to the Peacekeeping forces. In both cases, the p5 (US, China, Russia, Britain, France) countries didn't commit forces that was necessary, even when they gave a mandate, e.g. in Bosnia, calling for establishing safe zones, but not contributing required additional troops or resources. On the contrary, to not put their troops on the path of "unnecessary danger", they withdrew the troops at the sign of any confrontation. The enemy forces knew this and used this tactic (as was the case in Rwanda and Bosnia). To stop the aggression of enemy forces and protect vulnerable people, UN forces needed war fighting capabilities, which was never given to them, contends Annan. It is understandable, why Annan writes extensively to justify his position as the head of peacekeeping, and the atrocities that were committed under his watch. All these experiences made Annan form a strong view in favor of humanitarian intervention, more widely known as the "responsibility to protect" doctrine, and changing the international norm of sovereignty and how it afforded brutal leaders to act within their own borders with impunity. When Annan, as the SG, met President Bashir of Sudan, he writes "As I had found when meeting leaders responsible for the most terrible of atrocities, it was remarkable how genteel he was." Regarding the previous UN SG Boutros-Ghali, who only served one term, Annan writes that he wasn't given the second term because of "his souring relationship with the Americans was as much a function of his own leadership style as it was a prennial US intolerance for any UN leader acting independently...Added to this was Boutros-Ghali's autocratic and secretive style, which had long caused difficulties within the UN, alienating large numbers of staff and diplomats." In several parts of the book, Annan makes it clear that he did not like the hegemonic role the US wanted to play in the world and the constraints US wanted to put on the UN. Annan was strongly against the Iraq invasion and argues that it damaged US reputation severely. But he acknowledges that Saddam Hussein was also a problem, who didn't comply with the weapons inspection standards despite repeated warning. So something had to be done. Annan writes that leaders have to realize the limits of what force alone can achieve. But national leaders do not agree with him on this regard. When a country is attacked or provoked, the leaders feel compelled to demonstrate decisiveness and strength. But that's when they make the mistake of over-reacting and playing into the hands of the enemy. This was true for post 9/11 US reaction and Israel's response to Hamas's attacks. As I reflect on the changes that took place since he wrote the book, the situation has gotten worse. It is interesting that the book hardly talks about climate change, which has become a top priority since. US antagonism has increased. Relations between p-5 members have worsened (namely china and US). More budget crisis in the UN as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    A superb, frank and candid memoir from one of the most prominent of the world's recent international statesmen. It was clear and very readable and Annan clearly has the ability to write, which is not always the case with examples of this genre. What is striking, however, is that as one reads of the machinations and conflicts over how to deal with global crises up to and including 9/11 and the Iraqi War, we were dealing with politicians who, whatever their disagreements and differing world views, A superb, frank and candid memoir from one of the most prominent of the world's recent international statesmen. It was clear and very readable and Annan clearly has the ability to write, which is not always the case with examples of this genre. What is striking, however, is that as one reads of the machinations and conflicts over how to deal with global crises up to and including 9/11 and the Iraqi War, we were dealing with politicians who, whatever their disagreements and differing world views, were at least united with a desire to achieve better for the world and its people and who went about things within the confines of acceptable diplomatic conventions. Now, with Trump, that is no longer the case.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ilham

    Well written account of Kofi Annan’s life at the UN and his perspective on some the defining moments of his tenure. He shows measured honesty at the failures of the UN, though generally focusing on positive outcomes and simplifying some quite major world events. Even so, I recommend it as a memoir that deals in truths and that presents a complete, if diplomatic view of many world conflicts in recent history. I found it very interesting to understand Kofi’s vision for the UN as Secretary General Well written account of Kofi Annan’s life at the UN and his perspective on some the defining moments of his tenure. He shows measured honesty at the failures of the UN, though generally focusing on positive outcomes and simplifying some quite major world events. Even so, I recommend it as a memoir that deals in truths and that presents a complete, if diplomatic view of many world conflicts in recent history. I found it very interesting to understand Kofi’s vision for the UN as Secretary General and his ideology as one of the most significant leaders in the body’s history. Important piece of writing for anyone interested in world affairs in war and peace (4.5 stars out of 5)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steven Baumann

    Kofi Annan's reflections are clear and thoughtful in this book. It is difficult to read about so many failures in the United Nations and the massive amounts of life needlessly lost in the second half of the 20th century. Especially because the United Nations was created specifically to prevent such global catastrophes. Still, this book is an excellent, if dry at times, way to learn about the complex webs of international relations in our modern world. One can only hope that future leaders will b Kofi Annan's reflections are clear and thoughtful in this book. It is difficult to read about so many failures in the United Nations and the massive amounts of life needlessly lost in the second half of the 20th century. Especially because the United Nations was created specifically to prevent such global catastrophes. Still, this book is an excellent, if dry at times, way to learn about the complex webs of international relations in our modern world. One can only hope that future leaders will be as reflective as Annan.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tomasz Urbaszek

    This book is far from being boring. Page by page the author leads you through diplomatic processes of the UN. By this you learn that sometimes a one phone call can change fate of hundreds of people. Mr. Annan shows the huge potential of UN but also it's vulnerabilities which were mostly exposed by conflicts in Iraq and Israel. He also indicates that to build a sustainable peace one needs a plan for a development of post-war region and then if it's necessary a military intervention. Definitely wo This book is far from being boring. Page by page the author leads you through diplomatic processes of the UN. By this you learn that sometimes a one phone call can change fate of hundreds of people. Mr. Annan shows the huge potential of UN but also it's vulnerabilities which were mostly exposed by conflicts in Iraq and Israel. He also indicates that to build a sustainable peace one needs a plan for a development of post-war region and then if it's necessary a military intervention. Definitely worth reading!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Inês

    While I was reading this book I was marking my favorite parts, but there are so many that I will write this instead: This book reads like a novel, keeping you at the edge of your chair, always grasping for the next page. But at the end "it hits you", everything happened. The people, the states, the crisis were/are all real and with real life impact on millions and millions of lives. What an impressive legacy and what an impressive burden. While I was reading this book I was marking my favorite parts, but there are so many that I will write this instead: This book reads like a novel, keeping you at the edge of your chair, always grasping for the next page. But at the end "it hits you", everything happened. The people, the states, the crisis were/are all real and with real life impact on millions and millions of lives. What an impressive legacy and what an impressive burden.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hamed Marial

    This incredibly depth memoir of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, this book is a must be read by anyone with a keen eye on global relations. The sheer pressures Kofi Annan has gone through working with leaders and organisations to tackle the worst crises is inspiring and unparalleled in the world of Global Diplomacy. I will read this book time and time again to recognise his level headed leadership whilst handling private and public encounters with the worlds leaders.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Pretty fascinating recap of world conflicts from 90s-early 10s from his perspective and he was def a player. I buy his portrayal of the US and Israel. A little piece of me feels the more less-interventionist concerns of folks tho saying look at this world government with its military and financial power. But then strong member states with their veto powers (hmm) temper that, for better or worse.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Arin Goswami

    It's okay - I feel like he was a good leader for the time that he was a leader for, but his thinking was too shaped by the prevalent postcolonial institutions of his time. He acquiesced far too frequently to the colonial mindset and had he been stronger in his dissent, we might have been further along, as a global society, on those issues. It's okay - I feel like he was a good leader for the time that he was a leader for, but his thinking was too shaped by the prevalent postcolonial institutions of his time. He acquiesced far too frequently to the colonial mindset and had he been stronger in his dissent, we might have been further along, as a global society, on those issues.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Fitzgibbon

    Very heavily about peacekeeping, and at a technical level. Not knowing much detail about the events in the world at the time, the book feels hard to grasp, and very dry. However, there are some small gems of wisdom in there. And if you know the history you might get more out of it.

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