From a scholarly activist, a solid and encouraging piece of research on the status of human rights around the world.



A scholarly rebuttal to those who are pessimistic about the progress of human rights.

In her latest book, Sikkink (Human Rights Policy/Harvard Kennedy School of Government; The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics, 2011, etc.) responds to attacks on the legitimacy and effectiveness of human rights law, institutions, and movements. She argues that different conclusions arise concerning human rights progress when comparisons are made to an ideal and when they are made through systematic empirical research, her preferred method. This is a dense, data-driven, and academic text, and the author encourages readers to skip around and select the chapters that interest them most. Those more interested in the practical aspects of making human rights work in the 21st century may wish to forgo the arguments about measurement and focus on the policy recommendations for the future. Sikkink acknowledges that some human rights issues have been worsening—especially related to the refugee crisis, immigration, and economic inequality—but she documents and charts areas of improvement: ratification of human rights treaties, women’s rights, education, and the decline in infant mortality, genocide, use of the death penalty, and battle deaths. For policy-oriented readers, the author proposes six approaches that have been proven effective: seek nonviolent solutions to conflict, promote democracy, guard against dehumanizing practices, ratify and enforce human rights treaties, support accountability that can deter future crimes, and expand mobilization on behalf of human rights. In her conclusion, Sikkink asserts that because human rights tactics are mainly deliberative and nonviolent, change comes slowly and only as a result of concerted struggles. Through her research, she effectively demonstrates what has been done in the past, giving doubters and pessimists reason to hope about what can be done in the future.

From a scholarly activist, a solid and encouraging piece of research on the status of human rights around the world.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-691-17062-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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