Totally Unofficial by Raphael Lemkin
The Autobiography of Raphael Lemkin

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Unfinished at his death, and published now for the first time, Lemkin's autobiography gives a detailed account of his tireless advocacy...But, like most autobiographies by historical figures, it also aims to cast its protagonist in a flattering light. By that metric, it is at best a mixed success.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Among the greatest intellectual heroes of modern times, Raphael Lemkin lived an extraordinary life of struggle and hardship, yet altered international law and redefined the world’s understanding of group rights. He invented the concept and word “genocide” and propelled the idea into international legal status. An uncommonly creative pioneer in ethical thought, he twice was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.Although Lemkin died alone and in poverty, he left behind a model for a life of activism, a legacy of major contributions to international law, and—not least—an unpublished autobiography. Presented here for the first time is his own account of his life, from his boyhood on a small farm in Poland with his Jewish parents, to his perilous escape from Nazi Europe, through his arrival in the United States and rise to influence as an academic, thinker, and revered lawyer of international criminal law.
 

About Raphael Lemkin

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Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), US jurist and Holocaust survivor, served as adviser to the U.S. War Department during World War II and played a crucial role in the discussions leading to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Donna-Lee Frieze taught a graduate unit on genocide at Deakin University in Melbourne, lectures frequently on the Holocaust and genocide, and is a 2013 Prins Foundation Senior Scholar at the Center for Jewish History in New York City. She has digitized Lemkin's entire autobiography, the original of which is held in the New York Public Library.
 
Published June 24, 2013 by Yale University Press. 324 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Law & Philosophy.
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Critic reviews for Totally Unofficial
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on May 15 2013

An engaging account of one man’s determination to overcome personal, financial and bureaucratic obstacles in his quest to pass a landmark law that would protect collective cultural life and identity.

Read Full Review of Totally Unofficial: The Autob... | See more reviews from Kirkus

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Yascha Mounk on Jul 23 2013

Unfinished at his death, and published now for the first time, Lemkin's autobiography gives a detailed account of his tireless advocacy...But, like most autobiographies by historical figures, it also aims to cast its protagonist in a flattering light. By that metric, it is at best a mixed success.

Read Full Review of Totally Unofficial: The Autob... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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