The United Nations
75 Years of Promoting Peace, Human Rights, and Development
by Kent J. Kille and Alynna J. Lyon
September 2020, 353pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5156-8
$97, £72, 84€, A132
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5157-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Marking its 75th anniversary in 2020, the United Nations strives to establish and maintain peace, security, sustainability, and well-being around the world.

This key resource for anyone interested in the United Nations, global issues, or world politics provides accessible and comprehensive coverage of the history, growth, and development of ideas and institutions governing the globe.

The United Nations has been an essential actor in world politics for 75 years. Its entities have eliminated smallpox, protected the ozone layer, promoted arms control, and helped to save the lives of over 90 million children. Yet, it is frequently criticized as ineffective and antiquated. This book provides a balanced and systematic overview of the UN’s contributions and challenges, highlighting areas where it plays an essential role in global governance as well as areas of redundancy and needed reform.

This book provides readers with a clear, well-organized reference resource to the entire UN system—its principal organs, specialized agencies, programs and funds, and key issues of engagement. Through individual entries, it examines the history of UN engagement, ranging from peace and security to migration and climate change. It moves beyond a simple description of UN entities as it assesses the development of ideas (such as that of sustainable development), as well as responses to changes in world politics. Finally, it presents both the significant successes of UN work and continued challenges.


  • Meticulously researched, accessible entries written by two prominent UN scholars
  • Entries on both successes and continued challenges of the UN system
  • Primary source documents key to the founding of the UN
Kent J. Kille is professor of political science and global and international studies at The College of Wooster. Kille is an expert on UN Secretary-General leadership, having authored From Manager to Visionary: The Secretary-General of the United Nations and served as editor of and contributor to The UN Secretary-General and Moral Authority: Ethics and Religion in International Leadership. He is coeditor of IO BIO: Biographical Dictionary of Secretaries-General of International Organizations. He also serves on the editorial board of Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations and is academic adviser for The College of Wooster's Model UN team.

Alynna J. Lyon is professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire. She is author of U.S. Politics and the United Nations, coauthor of The United Nations in the 21st Century, 5th ed., and coeditor of two books: Pope Francis as a Global Actor: Where Politics and Theology Meet and Religion and Politics in a Global Society. Her scholarship also appears in many journals including Foreign Policy Analysis, Global Society, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Journal of International Organization Studies. She has served as faculty adviser for UNH's Model UN since 2003.


"This impressive work will shed much light on the organization’s role in global issues and world politics over the last seven decades. VERDICT An effective and fair-minded account of the growth, development, failures, and successes of the United Nations."—Library Journal, Starred Review, January 1, 2021

"A solid, information-packed compendium that will work well on the reference shelf of a high-school, undergraduate, or public library."—Booklist, February 15, 2021

"This is an excellent overview of the structure and functions of the UN and its specialized agencies and programs. "—Choice, April 1, 2021
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