From Terror to Utopia

Reviewer: Paul Hayman (Durham University)

Published on H-Human-Rights (November, 2009) Commissioned by Rebecca K. Root

“Have we, in the last two decades, seen the rise and fall of the “Age of Rights”? The future of human rights in a post-9/11 world is uncertain. This seismic event has altered the international landscape and has forced the rethinking of state agendas in both foreign and domestic policy. A focus on terror is, it seems, diluting the gains made in the previous decade. The global arena in which human rights compete for political standing is framed by a host of complex concerns. In Achieving Human Rights, Richard A. Falk attempts to make sense of the complex world that seems to spin around us. The Iraq War, genocide, the rule of law, and information technology, for example, are features of what the international system has become. What about human rights? How can we extract and reclaim them from this morass? Falk’s new book seeks to cut through the accumulation of misconception and misdirection surrounding human rights, and he does this with a vibrancy and clarity befitting his position in the field.”  [This is the first paragraph.  Remainder can be found here.]

Book reviewed:  Achieving Human Rights.

Publication Info: New York Routledge, 2009.

From Publisher’s Website:

“Richard Falk once again captures our attention with a nuanced analysis of what we need to do – at the personal level as well as state actions – to refocus our pursuit of human rights in a post-9/11 world. From democratic global governance, to the costs of the Iraq War, the preeminent role of the United States in the world order to the role of individual citizens of a globalized world, Falk stresses the moral urgency of achieving human rights. In elegant simplicity, this book places the priority of such an ethos in the personal decisions we make in our human interactions, not just the activities of government institutions and non-governmental organizations. Falk masterly weaves together such topics as the Iraq War, U.S. human rights practices and abuses, humanitarian intervention, the rule of law, responses to terrorism, genocide in Bosnia, the Pinochet trial, the Holocaust, and information technology to create a moral tapestry of world order with human rights at the center.”