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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 309

"A World Made New", by Mary Ann Glendon, chronicles the events leading up to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) after the conclusion of World War II. The UDHR sought to respect the diversity of those it would protect and govern, while also emphasizing a shared humanity.

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The book does not solely focus on Eleanor Roosevelt, but Glendon makes sure to flush out her contribution and give credit where it is due. FDR had died prior to the opening of the United Nations, and Eleanor went in his stead. She then proceeded to be commissioned to helping iron out the world's first ever international bill of rights. By being involved in this process, Eleanor Roosevelt was able to instill her husbands values into a document that would be adhered to by the rest of globe.

Glendon also analyzes the role the UDHR plays in forming an international unity and moral consciousness, and its impact on international politics and relationships. She makes sure to recognize that the implementation of the UDHR helped kick-start humans' rights movements.

The author inserts her own opinions about human rights and the human rights movement. She rebuts criticism that the values of the "human rights" movement are mostly reflective of western ideals, since nations all over the world contributed to the UDHR. Glendon emphasizes that the UDHR's primary aim is the flourishing of human life, that cannot be brought into fruition without proper education, healthcare, just government, and welfare.

Mary Ann Glendon is a Professor of Law at Harvard University, and teaches on subjects such as human rights, comparative law, and political theory. She was confirmed by the US Senate as an ambassador to the Holy See in 2007, and led a Vatican delegation to a U.N. conference. Glendon's research has been focused on European law, human rights, and constitutional law.


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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1922

Since its adoption by the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has often served as an inspiration and as a standard for judging the extent to which the governments of the world have upheld the rights, liberties, and fundamental needs of their citizens. Students of international relations disagree about how effective the instrument has been. Critics, on one hand, can point to countless violations of its provisions, and they ask whether it is really helpful to say that governments should not do the terrible things that they, in fact, continue to do. Supporters of the document, however, contend that the UDHR has gradually had an impact on public expectations, and that, in any case, the option of an enforcement mechanism was an impossible dream in the period just after World War II.

Professor Mary Ann Glendon has written a fascinating and important story about the small group of persons who had primary responsibility for writing and winning the adoption of the UDHR. Her book A World Made New should become the definitive work on the topic. Glendon has a wonderful ability to describe individual personalities, their ideas, and their actions. In addition to revealing previously unknown details, she has demonstrated a keen eye for interesting and revealing anecdotes. Examples include the occasional pettiness of outstanding diplomats and Mrs. Roosevelt’s almost complete indifference to food. While explaining the origins of the UDHR, Glendon also provides insight into other important things that were happening at the time, including the beginning of the Cold War and the creation of the new state of Israel.

Although she clearly admires Eleanor Roosevelt and believes that the UDHR was a good thing, she maintains a centrist point of view and avoids excessive polemics. To the...

(The entire section contains 2231 words.)

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