Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World

by Samantha Power

Hardcover, 2008




New York : Penguin Press, 2008.


Reveals Sergio Vieira de Mello's powerful legacy of humanity and ideological strength in the context of his troubleshooting attempts in Lebanon in the aftermath of Israel's 1982 invasion; in his taming of the Khmer Rouge and his repatriation of four-hundred-thousand Cambodian refugees in the early nineties; in his efforts to negotiate an end to the slaughter in Bosnia; in his struggle to nation-build in war-torn societies during his quasi-colonial governorships of Kosovo and East Timor; and through his tragic final posting as the UN representative in Baghdad, where he became the victim of the country's first-ever suicide bomb.

User reviews

LibraryThing member LynnB
When you combine such a masterful writer as Samantha Power with such a charismatic, intelligent and dedicated statesman like Sergio Vieira de Mello, and add events that have shaped the world so that only the location need be named (Cambodia, Iraq) you should expect one of the best biographies you've ever read. And you won't be disappointed in this case.

Samantha Power is a journalist and her skills of observation and story telling are at a peak as she presents this biography of a man who spent his life working in the UN and serving in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

Sergio Vieira de Mello was the best of what international representatives should be. He was dedicated to his organization, and to the well being of those he was sent to work with. He was committed to improving the lives of ordinary people. He was also a philosopher who strove to understand both the opressed and the oppressors.

This book is an interesting look at some of the major challenges facing countries after civil war or invasion. It also provides deep insight into the workings of the UN and the capacity of the international community to address challenges.

Above all, it's a biography. The chapter on "August 19" is so moving with all the personal impacts of war described in a way that will bring tears to your eyes. Not only the deaths of Sergio and other UN workers, but the courage of the rescuers and the tragic way Sergio's fiancee Carolina was treated.

Read this!
… (more)
LibraryThing member bookalover89
Samantha Power does justice to Sergio Viera de Mello. A riveting and unforgettable biography of a man - despite his flaws - will be remembered as a fearless and compassionate human being.



Page: 0.1752 seconds