Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rosemary Richter on the United Nations in the TLS online

Many of the reviews in the Times Literary Supplement are not available online, not even to subscribers, although they eventually show up in the subscriber archive. I recommend subscribing to the TLS. It's expensive but worth it.

This essay by Rosemary Richter on the United Nations, reviewing Paul Kennedy's new history and assessment of the UN, Parliament of Man, is available publicly online at the TLS. Hooray. It is well worth reading. (Rosemary Richter, "What Use the UN?", here.) Richter is an editor at the London Times; I've made several critical comments in passing on this blog about Kennedy's book and maybe I'll review it somewhere, but Richter's review is really the conclusive take.

Conclusion from the review (my emphasis added, and it is a zinger):

The trouble with books that start from the premiss that the UN is unquestionably a force for the good is that they tend to wrap their theme in a bubble of conventional cant. Paul Kennedy makes many shrewd observations in The Parliament of Man, but the bubble remains, as he intends, intact.