Interventions by Kofi Annan
A Life in War and Peace

98%

8 Critic Reviews

An insider's personal account based on lessons drawn from long experience.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

"[A] resolute, detailed, and unflinching review of [Annan’s] most difficult hours…No one ever came closer to being the voice of “we the peoples” and no one paid a higher price for it. The world still needs such a voice, but the next person who tries to fill that role will want to reflect long and hard on the lessons of this candid, courageous, and unsparing memoir." --Michael Ignatieff, The New York Review of Books

Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2001, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke to a world still reeling from the terrorist attacks of September 11. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” proclaimed Annan, “we have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire. If today, after the horror of 11 September, we see better, and we see further—we will realize that humanity is indivisible. New threats make no distinction between races, nations, or regions.” Yet within only a few years the world was more divided than ever—polarized by the American invasion of Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the escalating civil wars in Africa, and the rising influence of China.

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.

The first sub-Saharan African to hold the position of Secretary-General, Annan has led an extraordinary life in his own right. His idealism and personal politics were forged in the Ghanaian independence movement of his adolescence, when all of Africa seemed to be rising as one to demand self-determination. Schooled in Africa, Europe, and the United States, Annan ultimately joined the United Nations in Geneva at the lowest professional level in the still young organization. Annan rose rapidly through the ranks and was by the end of the Cold War prominently placed in the dramatically changing department of peacekeeping operations. His stories of Presidents Clinton and Bush, dictators like Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe, and public figures of all stripes contrast powerfully with Annan’s descriptions of the courage and decency of ordinary people everywhere struggling for a new and better world.

Showing the successes of the United Nations, Annan also reveals the organization’s missed opportunities and ongoing challenges—inaction in the Rwanda genocide, continuing violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and the endurance of endemic poverty. Yet Annan’s great strength in this book is his ability to embed these tragedies within the context of global politics, demonstrating how, time and again, the nations of the world have retreated from the UN’s founding purpose. From the pinnacle of global politics, Annan made it his purpose to put the individual at the center of every mission for peace and prosperity.

A personal biography of global statecraft, Annan’s Interventions is as much a memoir as a guide to world order—past, present, and future.
 

About Kofi Annan

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KOFI ANNAN was the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations—serving two terms between 1997 and 2006—and was the first to emerge from the ranks of the UN staff. In 2001, Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with the citation praising his leadership for “bringing new life to the organization.” Born in Ghana in 1938, Annan is the first sub-Saharan African national to hold the post of secretary-general.
 
Published September 4, 2012 by Penguin Books. 401 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Interventions
All: 8 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Sep 01 2012

An insider's personal account based on lessons drawn from long experience.

Read Full Review of Interventions: A Life in War ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Rory Stewart on Nov 15 2012

He has produced a book which, like its author, is well-organised, unaggressive and elegant, with glimpses of an attractive hinterland.

Read Full Review of Interventions: A Life in War ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Financial Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Alec Russell on Oct 05 2012

Interventions is, instead, a treatise on the doctrine that has defined and scarred the post-cold war years: interventionism. It is part reflection, part stricture and part call to arms.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Chris Mullin on Oct 16 2012

This is a good, lucid book by a wise and compassionate man who, despite having spent much of his life in the political stratosphere, never loses sight of the plight of the little man.

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Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Weinberg on Sep 10 2012

The accounts related by Annan, however, are worth every minute spent reading them. Nobody alive can quite match what he has heard and seen.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Colum Lynch on Sep 21 2012

Annan’s book offers a first-hand survey of efforts to attend to the world’s ills, recalling an alphabet of post-Cold War U.N. peace work from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

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The New York Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Ignatieff on Dec 06 2012

The world still needs such a voice, but the next person who tries to fill that role will want to reflect long and hard on the lessons of this candid, courageous, and unsparing memoir.

Read Full Review of Interventions: A Life in War ...

Gates Notes

Good
Reviewed by Bill Gates on Jan 02 2013

For anybody who wants to understand the complexities of the role of the Secretary General, this book is an illuminating read.

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