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The Parliament of Man: The United Nations & the Quest for World Government

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  190 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In the course of the twentieth century, there occurred a development unique in the story of humankind. States, which had defined themselves from Thucydides to Bismarck by their claims to sovereign independence, gradually came together to create international organizations to promote peace, curb aggression, regulate diplomatic affairs, devise an international code of law, e ...more
Paperback, 361 pages
Published July 26th 2007 by Allen Lane (first published June 20th 2006)
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Gwilym
Aug 11, 2011 Gwilym rated it really liked it
This book is recommended for all those interested in international politics and particularly the role of the UN on the world stage. I bought it in conjunction with books considering the failures of the organisation in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Somalia - Kennedy gives a clear insight as to how and why these operations stumbled taking into account the limits of a charter established over 60 years ago.

Especially interesting for those familiar with Kennedy is how he utilises the "Great Power" theory ou
...more
Chris
Dec 14, 2010 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kennedy's book putatively attempts to explain (with a middling level of detail) the creation and history of the United Nations, along with its concordant and subsidiary bodies and the roles they have played, along with important programs and influential individuals. It also goes into a bit of detail of the public perceptions and reactions to different UN bodies and UN characteristics. Quite a task, and the second reading of this book has enriched my understanding of Kennedy's topical and histori ...more
Mike Cognato
Jun 15, 2008 Mike Cognato rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a disappointment. Kennedy is a heck of a historian, but he mailed this one in. Instead of new insights or information about the UN, Kennedy just gives us warmed-over potted history and a handful of stale arguments - the same ones repeated over and over and over throughout the book.

More frustrating than anything else is his determination to treat the UN as a coherent institution capable of taking action whenever it does something that he likes, and to switch his attention to the member state
...more
Joe
It's not a bad book, it's just a bit dry and a bit vague. Having worked at the UN, I would say the Kennedy's heart is where that of most reporters' is: the Security Council, which gets the vast bulk of UN coverage. Then the Secretariat. Then, well behind those two, the General Assembly. And way down the list is civil society, NGOs, etc.
Thus, I would recommend checking this book out, reading the intro and the chapter on the history of the Security Council, which is very helpful to rounding out an
...more
Omar Abdelaziz
Apr 11, 2014 Omar Abdelaziz rated it really liked it
Recommended for all those interested in international politics
History of the League of Nations and United Nations
Covers the major areas of the UN , Goes through the past, present and future of the UN.
He starts by the end of the second world war and the League of Nations.Then the UN rule in the current days how the UN works and it's councils , The final chapter is about the future and the expected difficulties.

Jet
Jan 03, 2010 Jet rated it liked it
A reminder of the idealist I once was, I say. The book hasn't quite hooked me, three chapters on - which I suspect is a result of the very historical narrative of the formation of a world government (or at least a semblance of a world government). Not a book for someone who is already attuned to the history of the UN.

I was rather hoping that the blurb at the back of the book held true "Ultimately he shows why, despite its fallibility and its foibles, the UN remains utterly indispensable to our
...more
David Alonso vargas
Un poco tedioso para tratarse de Paul Kennedy
Halldór Thorgeirsson
Nicely structured book about the past, present and future of the UN. He starts by painting a picture of the situation at the end of the second world war and the League of Nations. The final chapter is another "bookend" and looks to the future. In between you have the story as it has unfolded on six thematic fronts. I find the author striking a nice balance between the aspiration and the reality. This is particularly evident in his discussion on the option on Security Council reform.
Julian Haigh
Jul 26, 2011 Julian Haigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best introduction to the UN that I have found. Covers the major areas and gives some idea to what is holding the UN from being a really effective institution and states it in a fair way to show that sometimes you don't really want the UN to work, but this comes at the loss of it not working sometimes when we'd rather. Nuanced arguments, it's basic premise is that the UN is two steps forward.
Marc
Sep 26, 2008 Marc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly written book traces the history of the League of Nations and the United Nations. For those pondering: what works, and what doesn't work, in trying to create world peace, this scholarly work provides a lot of answers, and much more to think about.
MSW
Jan 14, 2008 MSW rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like it, the UN has had a colorful/interesting/tragic life so far. Roots + past useful to understand more of UN & why it often fails and sometimes succeeds. Helps better understand current wrangling re Iran, North Korea etc. Well written though maybe not top notch.
Matthew
Mar 27, 2007 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay. I learned more about the UN. The first chapter on how the UN came about and the lessons learned from the League of Nations fiasco was strong. The other chapters on potential reform and current workings were less strong.
Ann
Jul 05, 2011 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was definitely confused by the alphabet soup paragraphs at first, even having researched the UN. Otherwise, an insightful book.
Brenden
The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations by Paul Kennedy (2006)
Ben
Jul 20, 2007 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read about past and present of that eminent boondoggle of a bureaucracy, the UN.
Michael
Awfully dull and academic. Reads like a textbook.
Kamil Salamah
Jul 25, 2009 Kamil Salamah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good to read
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