Book Review: UN Ideas that Changed the World

Bio: My name is Katie Cordell. I am a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in International Studies.

UN Ideas That Changed the World by Richard Jolly, Louis Emmeriji, and Thomas G. Weiss

Published by Indiana University Press

UN Ideas That Changed the World is part of the United Nations Intellectual History Project Series (UNIHP). The book is divided into three sections introducing the United Nations (UN) and UNIHP, the actual ideas that changed the world, and the future of the UN.

The first section is extremely informative for helping the reader understand the development of the UN.

The second section of the book gets into the actual ideas of the UN. These chapters are easy to follow because the layout prepares the reader for the topics discussed in each chapter. It is in the second section that the reader can gain information on topics of interest, not just background information. The chapters in this section lead the reader through the development of programs and each chapter concludes with how the programs are evolving.

The third section of UN Ideas That Changed the World addresses the future. It discusses challenges for the UN and the world in coming years. It also tackles the UN goals for the future specifically in relation to these difficulties.

This book is definitely not a beach novel. However, if you are truly interested in understanding the UN and its programs better, UN Ideas That Changed the World can help you do that. It shows the true reach of influence of the UN. The beginning of the book contains a list of acronyms that is an especially helpful source as the book references various programs throughout the United Nations. The sidebar boxes that are scattered within the chapters were the most interesting sections of the book for me. They provided a personal look at individuals and programs that have influenced or have been influenced by the UN. It is these stories that make the book relevant to everyone. They give faces to the United Nations’ work. These stories combined with the descriptions of UN programs throughout the book show that the UN is a vital and necessary part of today’s world and will continue to be influential in years to come.

Katie CordellInternational Literature Reviewer


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