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This is a sad story written by a very angry man. Boutros-Ghali’s period as secretary-general of the UN (1991-96) coincided almost exactly with the first Clinton administration. This coincidence, together with his own troubled relationship with the US leaders involved-the president, the secretary of state (Warren Christopher) and the US ambassador to the UN (Madeleine Albright)-dominates the book. And it is this which carries the story from high hopes at the outset to tears and recriminations at the end, with Boutros-Ghali denied a second term despite a 14-1 vote in his favour in the Security Council.

The story is a…

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