Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “We Did Nothing: Why The Truth Doesn't Always Come Out When The UN Goes In” as Want to Read:
We Did Nothing: Why The Truth Doesn't Always Come Out When The UN Goes In
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

We Did Nothing: Why The Truth Doesn't Always Come Out When The UN Goes In

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  146 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In recent years our newspapers and televisions have brought us stories of the failure of the UN to keep the peace in the modern world. During the 1990s Linda Polman visited peacekeeping missions in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda to try and understand how resolutions are made and how the peace is lost.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 2004 by Penguin (first published January 1st 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about We Did Nothing, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about We Did Nothing

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 333)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 19, 2013 Velvetink rated it really liked it
Particularly gut wrenching in the last chapter on Rwanda and the author's time there during the massacre. If you discredit the UN then you should read this book and see why they are inaffective - if only western countries like the US pay their fees they might be equipped to have better solutions.

of 20 books for $10.
Feb 11, 2012 Lanier rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Government, Business, Historian, Social Worker types,
—Prologue xvi-xx

5—6—How the Big Five [U.S., France, U.K., China and Russia] manipulate votes for or against certain platforms. We have, on many occasions refused billion dollars to some of those temporary 10 countries.

This is exactly what happened in 1991 with Yemen, which abstained on a particular vote, so WE denied a $60 billion, literally killing off their flower exports –as they held so many “checks and balances” that by the time their flowers arrived they were all dead. During this s
Simon Wood
Sep 18, 2013 Simon Wood rated it it was ok

Written by the Dutch reporter Linda Polman, "We Did Nothing" professes to be a "clear and impassioned" book, it is not. Nor does "it brilliantly expose how these resolutions are made and what they mean in practice". Rather it is a collection of reportage, translated into English by Roy Bland, which details the authors experiences visiting three U.N. missions (Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda) as well as the U.N. headquarters in New York.

Polman quite reasonably identifies that the id
Usha Alexander
Oct 18, 2009 Usha Alexander rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to understand world affairs
Polman provides an eye-opening account of how the UN really works, how powerful nations manipulate it for their own gain, and who pays the price. She was on hand during the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and so many other humanitarian disasters to which the UN tried its best to respond with always mixed results—sometimes just bad results—and so is able to provide first-hand accounts and insightful, boots-on-the-ground reportage. By providing a window on the politics that drive the UN, the rea ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The international good intentions and high expectations when the UN was set up, have been subverted by greed, self interest, disinterest and ideology. When major nations demand action but refuse to fund or resource action - what hope do civilians have.

While it's a brief discussion of the UN, it's members and it's resolutions; it will help the layman understand the processes and diplomatic complexity that must be overcome for anything to occur.

I had a friend who's husband had been part of a UN fo
Jan 03, 2016 Lis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una frase in quarta copertina descrive alla perfezione quello che poi si leggerà:

Le risoluzioni dell'ONU - sostiene un diplomatico americano - sono come gli hot dog. Se sai come li fanno ti passa la voglia di mangiarli.

In questo saggio i caschi blu vengono dipinti come un qualcosa tra l'impotente e l'inutile, ma ancora peggio ne escono i paesi "civilizzati": tributi all'ONU non pagati, nessuna volontà di collaborare e al contrario di mettere i bastoni tra le ruote. Politica, soldi e guerra, alla
Steve Woods
After living in developing countries for bout 20 years the operation of the UN agencies in those environments invites little morse than disgust and disdain. Corrupt, poorly led, inept at almost every level and above all tremendously wasteful it is very difficult to see the organization as a force for good in any way. It seems to exist solely for the self aggrandizement and financial benefit of the masses of UN bureaucrats who spend their time on a "mouse wheel" looking busy, getting nowhere but ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Kelly rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
A 229-page book purporting to be a comprehensive and critical analysis of the failures of the United Nations missions in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda, this work massively fails to live up to my expectations. The author, an inept Dutch reporter who seems to prefer schmoozing with the corrupt upper class of developing countries to actually learning about the situations she's being paid to cover, writes in a disorganized and confusing fashion, failing to provide any sort of historical background to th ...more
Sandra Woods
Jan 04, 2014 Sandra Woods rated it it was amazing
As an avid reader and former member of the Canadian Forces, I started a Remembrance Day tradition several years back; every year at Remembrance Day I read a book about the military or military service, including UN missions and accounts of civilians in wartime situations.
Linda Polman's account of the multiple failures of the UN to protect civilians in (pre-earthquake) Haiti, Rwanda, and Somalia. Anyone interested in politics, world history, current events should read this; if you read or watch t
Aug 11, 2011 Gwilym rated it really liked it
A liberal attack on the failings of the UN - definitely written with a bias but that is forgiven through the exposure of both the UN and its benefactors. Also a clear salute to those nations who do contribute to the "united" nations like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh - and notably Zambia in their Rwandan role. An easy read which gives good access to the somewhat fickle world of contracting around war, can be appreciated - as far as possible - by the normal reader.
Keith Hales
Mar 09, 2015 Keith Hales rated it did not like it
Simply a collection of stories. Sad stories but stories nevertheless. Disappointingly no truths come out just a complete catalouge of mismanagement corrupt sefish thinking by politicians. But why would we expect anything different. Self interest and self promotion rules in the UN . Polman disappoints because this is not something that she illustrates or developes with any real conviction. Essentially the book does not live up to it title.
Faith Swords
Jan 22, 2008 Faith Swords rated it liked it
This book does a good job of capturing the failure of the United Nations' peacekeeping forces to keep the peace. It also gets into the structural reasons for the failures. Mostly, it's an indictment of the global community for failing to protect innocents.
Oct 04, 2007 Olin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: yes
To understand the mumbo jumbo of INGO work or the international work, that might look somewhat fancy and contributing, but the fact is, just push more to the tension and aggrevating process of independency.
Jac'y Kennedy-green
Jac'y Kennedy-green rated it really liked it
Apr 17, 2016
Faine Greenwood
Faine Greenwood rated it really liked it
Apr 12, 2016
Kate marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2016
Chichi Chirie
Chichi Chirie marked it as to-read
Apr 07, 2016
Munyaradzi Makari
Munyaradzi Makari marked it as to-read
Apr 04, 2016
Alley is currently reading it
Mar 25, 2016
Skylar rated it it was amazing
Mar 23, 2016
Sophie is currently reading it
Mar 21, 2016
Christi Yoder
Christi Yoder marked it as to-read
Mar 18, 2016
Phoenix marked it as to-read
Mar 14, 2016
Jamie rated it liked it
Mar 07, 2016
Jason rated it liked it
Mar 06, 2016
Madri rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2016
Rita marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2016
Lou Hayward
Lou Hayward marked it as to-read
Feb 29, 2016
Margaux rated it really liked it
Feb 29, 2016
Katalin marked it as to-read
Feb 25, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle For Global Justice
  • A Russian Diary: A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption & Death in Putin's Russia
  • The Ultra Secret
  • The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of Our Soldiers
  • History of the Present: Essays, Sketches, and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990s
  • Lost in Transmission
  • To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon's Secret War Plans
  • Notes From a Defeatist
  • Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwanda Genocide and the International Community
  • The Killing Fields
  • The Boy: A Holocaust Story
  • The Best of Robert Ingersoll
  • Quest for Kim: In Search of Kipling's Great Game
  • Putin's Labyrinth: Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New Russia
  • Heroes
  • Most Secret War
  • Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace - or War
  • What Every Person Should Know About War

Share This Book