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Capital Of The World: The Race to Host The United Nations ~Charlene Mires

TLC online Book Tours and New York University Press sent me another gem of a read.  CAPITAL OF THE WORLD is a history book that is a well written, interesting and fun read as the author endeavors to document the story of finding the right spot for the United Nations.  The fine-tuned details help to guide the reader through the maze of concept to fruition of this huge International/ Global project as World War II was winding down and the League of Nations was closing its doors in Geneva.

Charlene Mires the author has a knack for finding the little stories behind the big promotions and they truly bring this study the interesting steps that different groups took to promote their locations and their hopes – even before the first representatives decided on a continent and that decision took several years and a number of places tried on for size.

I so enjoyed the full story of the Choctaw Indians of Oklahoma making a claim for the return of their Nations prominence by promoting their reservation as the center of the Global world; they would have their dignity and respect renewed.   It was a very touching presentation to consider and made me think long and hard about the stories of the First Peoples.

CAPITAL OF THE WORLD was full of stories and personalities exposed.  These stories provided not only an overview of how countries were feeling about the end of the war, also they pinpointed the thoughts about the Nuclear Bombing of a country and the beginning of the Cold War.  I was struck by how certain the founders were that this would end wars as we know it and promote diplomacy and dialogue; we still struggle with those two polarities.

At one point, I found the details a bit overwhelming – I kept looking for the humor or creative thinking but that was not to be and I am happy I pressed forward, because all those details enabled me to understand some crucial matters that are still playing out today.  I found myself getting a deeper, clearer image of the USA in the 1940s how in our sometimes arrogance we could not see what we were doing.  The Foreign People would not locate anyplace that was having race riots, would not allow people of different races on the bus, in local housing, in schools, or did not have good transportation facilities and would not allow the import of foreign foods.  One promoter could not even see that the local laws against the Chinese made them ineligible from the very start.

There were lots of famous folks in the story, some I recognized and some I went on to research.  I loved that the Architect Le Corbusier had to interrupt the process and get the committee to decide on a Headquarters not a whole city or a sovereign nation within the USA.  I liked all the pictures included in the book and the collection of artist’s renderings of what was possible.

I totally enjoyed the stories about the BUSH family involvement in the process.  Preston Bush the Grandfather of one of our Presidents and Great Grandfather of another truly created the concept “NOT IN MY BACKYARD” and “if I throw enough (other people’s) money and fear into the situation I will get my way.”  I gained a whole new appreciation for the recent IRAQ war and how they went about persuading the UN that it was necessary and why those 2 Bush Presidents aligned themselves with such elitist, rich individuals who would still play out Great Grandpappy’s intentions and nearly break the bank for everyone else.

If you like to read a good history book and you are interested in how this process is playing out in our modern world, I think you will find CAPITAL OF THE WORLD a fine read.  Story telling great and analysis is up to the reader.

tlclogoThank you for asking me to read this book – History is indeed repeating itself.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Thank you.  Donations welcome.

Related Reading:
The Presidents Club
The Good Pope 
The Idea Factory 
The Art of The Sale

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15 Responses to “Capital Of The World: The Race to Host The United Nations ~Charlene Mires”

  1. Talon Says:

    It’s the rare non-fiction writer who can impart a bit of poetry inside the fact-filled prose. I can understand this making your head swim, Patricia, but not in a totally horrible way!

    patricia Reply:

    It was a fascinating read and the author has an overt and a subtle funny bone in her writing – I was a little worried that I would get it read in time, but rather it is just loaded with reference and footnotes; the story did not turn out to be overwhelming and I could always got to the sources and pursue more information.

    I know several folks that I am going to highlight this read for I know they will really like it

  2. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. What an interesting book – whether I shall get to read it is another matter .. but at least I’m aware of it. My post about Oscar Niemeyer recently – the annals in Wiki mentioned he’d worked on the UN building too …

    I’d probably get stuck into the book and thoroughly enjoy it … but not just now … cheers and thanks so much for letting us know – Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Lenny, Lenny, Lenny – how you pull my heart strings…..My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I think you would love reading this book and I am going to figure out how to get you a copy of it. The British and the French play a huge role in this history as does Iran.

    I can see you having a number of weeks of posts about what was going on and how the war was ending and reconstruction in Europe…

  3. Charlene Mires Says:

    Patricia, thank you for reading the book – I’m glad you liked it! The story of the Choctaw capital in Oklahoma was one of my favorites to research as well.
    If anyone wants to see the entire list of world capital contenders, I’ve posted them with descriptions on my blog: http://capital-of-the-world.com, and I will keep adding to the stories there.
    Charlene Mires
    Charlene Mires recently posted..Rome, the Capital of the WorldMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Charlene Mires,
    It is a wonderful story and nice to have the blog connection too to keep reading.

    I just went to a conference called Sister Giant started by Marianne Williamson which is about getting women involved in politics. One of the primary speakers was a Choctaw woman who is working on getting elected to Congress ( a social worker) and her team also included the woman attempting to get women’s health care “real” in Oklahoma – lots of power emerging in that area of the country.

    I took some of my Counseling training at Rutger’s Medical School – another little connection. I wish I had been able to finish my Ph.D…It was a wonderful stop in my journey.

  4. The Parent Generation and Defense of Home | Says:

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  5. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia – Thank you for reading this book and shedding light on it here. The aspect that compels me the most is that, “…the analysis is up to the reader.”
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..The Science of HappinessMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    This is a college professor who wants to make sure the student integrates the ideas and understand as well as reads the words – thinking takes practice.

    Now after finishing the book, I am still seeing relational ideas popping up in the news and Congressional discussions – history does repeat itself in expensive ways, if we are not able to make change and think it through. Wondering and curiosity are an art form.

  6. suZen Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    That book sounds SO good – I’m going to put it on my summer list. Right now I’m busy packing – my bookshelves are empty and look so weird – it’s like having kids in the closet or something, I dunno, but in a mere 2 weeks they travel to their new home – and await my energy to unpack them all and set them “free” again! Boy will I be glad when this is all over! Whew!

    patricia Reply:

    Moving is so hard, but it will help you appreciate this story even more SuZen – They had to work so hard to get in position to have a place to meet and do their work.

    I think you would enjoy this read very much.

    Maybe the publisher will pick you for the giveaway copy and we will ship it to your new address.

    Happy move

  7. Heather J. @ TLC Says:

    I had never heard of the Choctaw nation’s bid but it makes complete sense. I can’t wait to read about all the various locations that were suggested and why … I love these kinds of stories!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    Patricia Reply:

    A very interesting read Heather and the individual stories made it quite the fun read.
    Thanks for coming by and I love to read so I love being on the tours

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