A Billion Lives: An Eyewitness Report from the Frontlines of Humanity

Jan Egeland, Author Simon & Schuster $27 (253p) ISBN 978-1-4165-6096-8

Traveling the globe as the U.N.’s under–secretary general for humanitarian affairs and its emergency relief coordinator from 2003 to 2006, Norwegian diplomat Egeland has seen the best and worst of what humanity has to offer; in this emotionally and politically charged tome, he bluntly summarizes his findings. From crises as varied as genocide in Darfur, the 2004 East Asian tsunami and the religious fanaticism keeping Israel and Palestine in conflict, Egeland is concerned about innocent lives forever altered in these situations, and actively—and unabashedly—bemoans the lack of financial aid from larger nations. Tracing his passion for social justice to age 17, when he spent a summer volunteering for Colombia’s El Minuto de Dios , the special envoy, now a married father of two daughters, has been around enough presidents, dictators and NGOs to insightfully share his outlook on the conditions of the world, share fascinating details of conversations usually held behind closed doors, yet also concede mistakes made by both himself and the U.N. Though Egeland’s clipped and often clichéd prose can distract from the point he is trying to emphasize, he is a strong storyteller and an essential and candid eyewitness to the last three decades’ tragedies. (Mar.)  

Reviewed on: 01/07/2008
Release date: 03/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-4165-6138-5
Ebook - 364 pages - 978-1-4165-6131-6
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