1st Edition HB Oct. 1987
1st US Edition 1987-Harper and Collins-ISBN=0060158409
Hardback with dustjacket. First published in the UK in October 1987 by "Weidenfeld & Nicholson".
Printed by "Butler & Tanner Ltd." Written by Sir Brian Urquhart. ISBN number 029779213X.
Former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations (and author of a highly regarded biography
of Dag Hammarskjold), Urquhart has written an informative, incisive, and very readable account
of his peacekeeping assignments from the earliest days of the UN until his retirement last year,
an account that includes a clear explanation of how the organization works and where it has failed.
His portraits of Hammarskjold and Kurt Waldheim are of particular interest. A profound admirer
of the former, his appraisal of Waldheim is scathing. Urquhart served as a British intelligence
officer during World War II and strongly opposed Operation "Market Garden," which turned out
to be a major disaster. His inability to do anything to prevent it coloured his view of the world
ever after and gives the main body of his illustrated memoir a special poignancy.
For all that, A Life in Peace and War is often very funny.
Sir Brian Edward Urquhart KCMG MBE (born 28 February 1919) is a former Undersecretary-General of
the United Nations. Urquhart was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.
He served in the British Army during World War II, as an intelligence officer. Urquhart is well-known
for his attempts to persuade the planners of Operation Market Garden to modify or abort their plans,
in light of crucial information obtained from aerial reconnaissance and the Dutch resistance.
The episode was described by Cornelius Ryan in his book on "Market Garden", A Bridge Too Far.
In the film version, directed by Richard Attenborough, Urquhart's character was renamed "Major Fuller",
to avoid confusion with a similarly named British General.
Urquhart was a member of the staff involved in the setting-up of the United Nations in 1945,
and has advised every Secretary-General of the United Nations since its inception.
His main fields of interest and operation at the UN have been conflict resolution and peacekeeping.
Urquhart organized the first peacekeeping force (in Egypt after the Suez crisis).
To differentiate the peacekeepers from other soldiers, the UN wanted to have the soldiers wear
blue berets. When that turned out to take six weeks to make, Urquhart proposed the characteristic
blue helmets, which could be made in a day by painting over regular ones.
As Undersecretary-General, Urquhart's main functions were the direction of peace-keeping forces
in the Middle East and Cyprus, and negotiations in these two areas; amongst others,
his contributions also included work on the negotiations relating to a Namibia peace settlement,
negotiations in Kashmir, Lebanon and work on peaceful uses for nuclear energy.
Alongside his autobiography A Life in Peace and War his writing with Erskine B Childers
includes "A World in Need of Leadership: Tomorrow's United Nations - A Fresh Appraisal"
(with Erskine B Childers, 1996); "Towards a More Effective United Nations"
(with Erskine B Childers, 1991); "Ralph Bunche: An American Life" (1993); and
"Renewing the United Nations System" (with Erskine B Childers, 1994).
He also co-authored with Erskine B Childers the book Renewing the United Nations System
which recommended establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly through
Article 22 of the United Nations Charter.