Chasing the Flame: One Man's Fight to Save the World
"Just a book about the UN," I say as I walk briskly home.
When this book started, I could not control my eye-rolls. I have read a few books about aggrandized heroes who often forget that their being male allows them to act in ways that would be intolerable in the opposite sex. And, don't get me wrong- Sergio does this. Samantha Power does not shy away from his less savory side: the neglect of his childre ...more
In the book we can follow the transformation of Vieira de Mello's approach toward his work as he deals with the facts on the ground in places such as Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, East Timor, and finally Iraq. Power also points out the ...more
This book had an extremely powerful impression on me. For one, the life of Sergio Vierea de Mello was an incredible study of philosophy in action and metamorphosis. His ideals for how the UN could be a force for good and positive change, could help people in times of need, could bring together forces that were opposed, and could solve the problems of a not particularly pleasant human civilization are on display. A complex man (who isn't?), his mission and passion for life and peace coupled with ...more
In 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon in response to Palestinian attacks in northern Israel, Viera de Mello was serving as the senior political adviser to the UN interim force in Lebanon, loca ...more
S. Power claims that Sergio upheld the importance of dignity in his career. While Sergio clearly respected and inspired the people around ...more
A few months ago, a friend invited me to brunch and I declined. My explanation: I needed to finish reading, for review, Samantha Power’s new 640-page biography of the late international diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello.
“Sergio... who?” she asked. “You know,” I huffed, hoping she’d snap to recall: Of course! Vieira de Mello! The all-world geopolitical problem-solving badass! Instead, she said something about pancakes.
She must have had at least hear ...more
Samantha Power, a professor at Harvard, met Sergio Vieira de Mello when she was a journalist in Bosnia in 1994. Although he charmed her as he did everyone else, she has written a balanced biography of the flawed but dedicated and likable man. While Power impressed the critics with her research, she failed to convince all of them of her arguments. Several reviewers also noted that Power's writing, laden with detail and subtle layering, doesn't rise to the level of her Pulitzer Prize
His life story is a useful way to understand how intergovernmental organizations like the UN actually operate. One major theme in the book is the contrast between idea ...more
PS: the title of the book could be better...
I gave 4 stars because some chapters were a bit slow but we needed to know information on why Sergio made determinations on a couple of things because of the countries’ pasts.
The view Power expresses on behalf of Sergio Vieira de Mello (SVdM) that I use for the opening quo ...more
In relation to this book, the content/subject matter far outweighs all other factors. I was introduced to Sergio Vieira de Mello in the Spring of 2012 in a presentation in my peace studies senior seminar class, and he has fascinated me ever since. You can say I have a celebrity crush on him; he's one of ...more
Most of us don ...more
• Member nations seem silly when they attack the UN for being weak. The UN is exactly as strong if they want it to be. If member nations wanted the UN to be stronger; they could make it stronger.
• The UN is constantly walking the line between humanitarian force and peacekeeping/security force. In areas of conflict, being too aggressive with their role as peacekeepers ...more
Promoting the rights and welfare of the refugee is only popular among governments and the ruling classes when it benefits them politically. Money is sparse, influence is sparser, and the people who work tirelessly for the future of others are under incredible stress, with their lives and well being often under threat.
"Sergio" paints a grim, if hopeful picture for global philanthropy in war-torn countries. As a leader in the U.N. refugee commission, de Mello seemed to ...more
This book though falls short of fulfilling Power's mission. Power has three goals in writing this book: portray more internationally-minded figures, like Sergio, and less emphasis on archaic models, such as General Patton and MacArthur; place importance on negotiating wit ...more
I also learned a great deal about conflicts and regions I'd been sketchy on before: ...more
A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, she moved to the United States from Ireland at the age of nine. From 1 ...more