This is a sympathetic biography of Mr. ""UN"" written by the wife of a former American ambassador to the United Nations. Since the readers are presumed to know little about Burma, the life of the title man is portrayed alternately with the broader political and social setting in which he grew up. Paired chapters center on the individual development of U Thant from childhood to student years, professional involvement as an educator, confrontation with British colonial rule, experiences during the war, the postwar independence struggle and finally his entry on the national and international political stage culminating in his present position as the third Secretary General of the United Nations. The second chapter in each pair tries to describe the historical, social, economic and political backgrounds of Burma. While the life and growth of U Thant are well presented on the basis of numerous interviews and letters, the description of Burma is based chiefly on published material and remains subordinate. The text is replete with parenthetical cross cultural comparisons of Burmese customs and circumstances with those in other world areas. The book contains, especially in the introductory and concluding chapters, a lot of inside UN lore. It will be read by the general reader desiring to know better the public and personal world of the present Secretary General.