Book Summary: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I recently prepared a series of book summaries for my human rights presentation for Leadership Calgary. I thought it might be good to put them on my website as well. These were intended to be "capsule reviews" and so are quite short.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Origins, Drafting, and Intent
Johannes Morsink
1999, University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0-8122-1747-0

I won’t beat around the bush on this one. This is a difficult book. It covers the entire history of the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are pages that cover an explanation why one nation didn’t like a single word in the text and wanted it changed. If you can stomach that kind of book, you will find lots of interesting tidbits about the extremely laborious time the authors had drafting this document. In doing so, you will learn a lot about the politics of rights and the making of massive international documents before such a thing was common place. The Universal Declaration, though not binding, is the single most influential piece of rights text in the world and the creation of it changed laws in ways no one could expect.