Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World

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From Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power, an epic tale-part thriller, part tragedy-for our age, the political career and tragic death of the incomparable humanitarian Sergio Vieira de Mello

If there is a single individual who can be said to have been at center stage through all of the most significant humanitarian and geopolitical crises of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, it was Sergio Vieira de Mello. Vieira de Mello was born in 1948 just as the post-World War II order was taking shape. He died in a terrorist attack on UN Headquarters in Iraq in 2003 as the battle lines in the twenty-first-century's first great power struggle were being drawn. In nearly four decades of work for the United Nations, Sergio distinguished himself as the consummate humanitarian, able to negotiate with-and often charm-cold war military dictators, Marxist jungle radicals, reckless warlords, and nationalist and sectarian militia leaders. By taking the measure of this remarkable man's life and career, Power offers a fascinating answer to the question: Who possesses the moral authority, the political sense, and the military and economic heft to protect human life and bring peace to the unruly new world order?

Chasing the Flame brings us deep into the thorniest, least well- understood episodes of recent world history-the conflagration in the Middle East, through Vieira de Mello's troubleshooting in Lebanon in the aftermath of Israel's 1982invasion; the clean-up of the cold war's residue, through Vieira de Mello's taming of the Khmer Rouge and his repatriation of four-hundred-thousand Cambodian refugees in the early nineties; the explosion of sectarian and ethnic militancy, through his efforts to negotiate an end to the slaughter in Bosnia; the struggle to nation-build in war-torn societies, through his quasi-colonial governorships of Kosovo and East Timor; and the engulfing of Iraq in civil war and terror, through his tragic final posting as the UN representative in Baghdad, where he became the victim of the country's first-ever suicide bomb.

Readers of Chasing the Flame will recognize the particular mixture of deep reporting and incisive analysis that Power uses to imbue Sergio's life with significance, and lessons, for our own. In this exquisitely reasoned and imagined book, Samantha Power reveals Sergio Vieira de Mello's powerful legacy of humanity and ideological strength in an age sorely in need of both.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bookalover89 - LibraryThing

Samantha Power does justice to Sergio Viera de Mello. A riveting and unforgettable biography of a man - despite his flaws - will be remembered as a fearless and compassionate human being. Read full review

CHASING THE FLAME: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World

User Review  - Kirkus

Biography of the handsome Brazilian intellectual who served as the UN's top troubleshooter from East Timor and Bosnia to Iraq, where he died in a terrorist car bombing.Pulitzer Prize-winner Power ... Read full review

Contents

Chronology
9
Displaced
34
Blood Running Blue
55
Hitting the Ground Running
75
Black Boxing
97
White Car Syndrome
115
Sandwiches at the Gates
134
Serbio
159
Benevolent Dictator
286
Hoarding Power Hoarding Blame
303
A New Sergio
323
PART III
345
Dont Ask Who Started the Fire
374
You Cant Help People from a Distance
396
Rebuffed
421
August 19 2003
451

Giving War a Chance
225
Independence in Action
249
Viceroy
265
Postmortem
496
In Retrospect o
559
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy Practice at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a foreign policy columnist at Time magazine. In 2003, her book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in U.S. foreign policy.

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