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The United Nations: A Very Short Introduction

(مقدمة قصيرة جداً #199)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  279 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The United Nations has been called everything from "the best hope of mankind" to "irrelevant" and "obsolete." With this much-needed introduction to the UN, Jussi Hanhimaki engages the current debate over the organizations effectiveness as he provides a clear understanding of how it was originally conceived, how it has come to its present form, and how it must confront new ...more
Paperback, 171 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2008)
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Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ir
A very short introduction indeed! Only 171 pages contain the UN inception to it's present day achievements and limitations. Started with a hope for brief intro to the UN and after finishing I can't complain. It has delivered what promised which isn't the case for other books of the same "A very short introduction" series.
Writing is crispy and to the point. While through out the book no out right biases is conspicuous, though writer has a humanitarian lens to explain shortcomings and success of
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pdf
مقدمة قصيرة جدا من اروع الكتب تجيب عن اسألتي بأختصار و دقة
M. Ashraf
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vsi
The United Nations may not have lived up to all the ambitions of its founders, yet one fact remains clear: it is the only truly global organization in the history of mankind. With 192 member states as of 2008, the UN covers the entire globe.

This is a very good short introduction on the UN, very well written, it shows the good side and the bad side of the UN, when did they fail? why? and how they are contributing to relieve people of some of their burdens, trying to aid refugees, protect the
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it

This is the second ‘A Very Short Introduction’ that I have read and I must admit that they very handy. They are such tiny books (this was only 171 pages, including references etc) but are packed full of facts and information.

I had an interest in the UN and needed to know a little about it for college. This book provided me with a deep insight into the organisation – a brief history, an overview of the structure, plenty of examples in which UN action was needed and also some views on the UN’s fut
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A fascinating brief introduction to the U.N. Unlike many of the other books in the series, this was extremely well-written; I've found many of the others to be spotty at times, or just poorly written, but this was serious and accessible, academic and engaging. The author argues that, while overall the U.N. is a deeply troubled institution with many flaws that are perhaps irreconcilable (the conflict between the very idea of an intra-state governmental body and the sovereignty of an individual
Arno Mosikyan
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
First, the UN cannot be the "definite guaranty of peace" that Woodrow Wilson had hoped the League of Nations would be. As long as the concept of nation-state is the basic form of organizing the different entities we know as countries, as long as there is something called the national interest, as long as governments are responsible for the well-being (or lack thereof) of their citizens, the UN will lack the means of acting independently. It remains, in other words, a tool of nations, albeit in a ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: global-politics
Hanhimäki faces the difficult task of summarising and analysing the United Nations, a vast international organisation, in this 'very short introduction'. The author does a great job within the given framework, I liked how the book was structured. Hanhimäki gives you a brief history, assesses the successes and failures of the UN, and lays out the arguments for reform. It's fascinating to see how the Cold War and decolonisation affected the organisation, and how changing power dynamics continue to ...more
Alejandro Navas
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hanhimäki gives a brief yet satisfyingly critical and multifaceted description and evaluation of the UN's historical development, structures, and practices. Some UN agencies and programs described in the book seemed highly similar in their missions and methods, and the author points out that fact; still, the reader is occasionally left on their own to look up precisely what distinguishes these organizations from each other.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent introduction to the UN. It is clear, concise, and easy to read. It provides a good foundation for understanding the formation of the UN, its many functions, and the needs for improvement.
Tariq A
مقدمة جيدة تتحول من التعريف إلى سرد نقدي مبسط
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
الكتاب جيد، يعيبه عدم الموضوعية في بعض المواطن.
"المنتهكون الأساسيون لحقوق الإنسان على الدوام هي الدول، والدول هي الكيانات الكبرى التي تؤلف الأمم المتحدة. السؤال المحوري الآتي: هل الأهم هو حماية سلامة الدولة ام الفرد الذي تنتهك هذه الدولة حقوقه."

•تعريف بالكتاب:
في هذا الكتاب بداية تأسيس المنضمة التي سميت اولاً بإسم عصبة الأمم في عام ١٩١٩ ثم جرت الأحداث إلى عام ١٩٤٥ وأصبحت رسميا بالأمم المتحدة بالإضافة إلى العقبات التي واجهتها من تحقيق الاهداف وفشلها، وعدم إلتزام الأعضاء، والتهم الموجهة إليها.
يعرف الكاتب بأجهزة هيكل الأمم المتحدة من الأ
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-list
This book does what it says on the tin: it is a short introduction to the United Nations - its history and present day structure and challenges. Only criticism is that it could do with a update/revision to capture the Sustainable Development Goals and the further complications in the international arena that have appeared in recent years.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
إن لم تخني الذاكرة فهذا الكتاب هو أفضل ما قرأت في سلسلة "مقدمة قصيرة جدا"
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent short review of the history of the UN. Also honest description of its main problems, basic issues, and suggestions for reform.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good general introduction to the UN system and its history.
Ana Ruiz
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Meh. What CAN you get out of a Very Shot Introduction anyhow. I found this to be appropriate, but only the last few chapters were really worthwhile.
Omar Al-otaibi
• كتاب قصير يتحدث عن الأمم المتحدة : تاريخ التأسيس ، هيكلها البنائي ، أهدافها العامة و ما قدمته المنظمة من أجل تحقيق هذه الأهداف ، العقبات التي تواجه المنظمة و الأسباب التي تجعل منها " في نظر الكثيرين " منظمة مسيسة خاضعة لإرادة القوى الإستعمارية الكبرى.

• يلخص الكتاب أبرز المعوقات التي تقيد حركة الأمم المتحدة عن تحقيق أهدافها الإنسانية في : حق نقض الفيتو _ الذي وضع ليحول دون انسحاب أحد الدول العظمى كما حدث مع عصبة الأمم المتحدة , نواة المنظمة الأولى _ ، هيكل المنظمة المعقد و حرصها على احترام السي
Jeff Walden
The title says it all -- this book's a short summary of the history behind the UN, the structure of the UN, the challenges facing it, and the avenues for future reform. It's a reasonably short read, although not quite one to breeze through, acronym-laden as it is (pretty much by necessity, given how the UN works).

As the author acknowledges, he's writing the book as a UN apologist. Yet at the same time, he doesn't hesitate to discuss the many times and ways the UN's fallen short of its original l
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A really useful read. I found this book when I was trying to figure the answer to a question I had been asked in an interview (after the interview), and then decided to download it.
I could give a much better answer to the interview question now - oh well, I will be prepared for future discussions.
A really great, balanced review of the good and bad of the UN, why it is important, where the potential lies, and what holds it back.
A thorough, albeit pretty dry, overview of an important institution that comes across as not being the totally impotent basketcase it often appears but certainly less than the sum of its parts and in urgent need of sweeping reform.

One whole star deducted for some pretty egregious repetition and overlap: ironic really given the subject matter.
Khaled El Sayed
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
The writer is selling an idea that you can find between lines of the book.

UN couldn't win because of the Cold War between USSR and USA and now it cannot win because of USA

In brief, as long as national benefit of one of the five countries contradicts with the world benefit. Then UN is helpless

Well I think you should know your self what should be the solution
Mustafa Soliman
يعرض في شكل موجز نشأة عصبة الأمم وأسباب انهيارها وكذلك المؤسسات التي سبقتها ويقوم الكتاب بعرض نشأة الأمم المتحدة وأهدافها من نشر السلام وحقوق الانسان
يعرض الكتاب لنقاط عجز الأمم المتحدة وكونها لا تستطيع ان تمنع الحروب بين الدول او لا تستطيع السيطرة على الدول الكبرى
Daniel Wright
Jul 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: vsi, politics-and-ir
An introduction to the history and structures of the UN, usually balanced, sometimes a little defensive. Essential reading for anyone who wants to cut through the rhetoric for and against the UN to have a good look at the organisation as it is.
Waqar Ali
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
very informative, but sometimes confusing with abundant similar details
It was quite succinctly organized with most of the details very helpful. Though, one in times finds himself to be reading without any specific point. Given all the odds, it's being rated three out of five stars.
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Worthwhile read to refresh memory of confusing structures and substructures of UN. Clear, historical overview.
Mohamed Ibrahim
الكتاب مختصر و مفيد جدا كمدخل للمعرفةعن الامم المتحدة و اجهزتها المختلفة, انصح بيه للمهتم بالموضوع
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: think-tank
It is an unbias introduction to the origins of the United Nations and their line of work. very informative, yet relies so much on the readers background knowledge on several political conflicts.
علي جمال
قرأت هذا الكتاب لاخذ مفهوم عاما عن الامم المتحدة لكن في الواقع كان النقد يغلب على الكتاب
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good introduction. Wish I read it before the summer just gone.
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