IN OUR OWN BEST INTEREST: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All

William F. Schulz, Author, Mary Robinson, Foreword by IN OUR OWN BEST INTEREST: How Defending Human Rights Benefi $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0226-1

If any foreign policy primer could be called a page-turner, it is this one by the executive director of Amnesty International USA. What the human rights community needs to do, argues Schulz in this well-written clarion call, is find "the compelling reasons why respect for human rights is in the best interests of the United States." For Schulz, this means convincing "realists" that a moral foreign policy serves a practical end. His case is strongest when arguing for human rights intervention into the cases of whistle-blowers around the world who have been jailed or killed. If these people's warnings about environmental degradation or inefficient control of weapons are not heard, he notes, the entire world, including the United States, could suffer disastrous consequences. Schulz strengthens his case with a punchy writing style—"[Liberia's] Charles Taylor is no doubt the only graduate of Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts, who is responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands of people"—and the use of individual examples, some of which are drawn from Schulz's own experience in the human rights community. At times, he lapses into moralizing, which undermines his main argument; nevertheless, Schulz has written a clear and provocative book that should be read by all concerned with human rights and U.S. foreign policy and will draw new supporters among the general public. (Apr. 13)

Forecast:As Schulz himself points out, human rights is not a hugely popular issue in the U.S., but his goal is to change that. Beacon is substantially backing this effort: the house has hired an outside publicity firm, and Schulz will undertake a 20-city tour, all of which should pay off.

Reviewed on: 03/26/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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