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Africa Renewal
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Book review
United Nations at a Glance

by the Department of Public Information of the United Nations 
United Nations, New York, NY, USA, 2013; 217 pp; pb $20

Ever wanted to get a quick snapshot of what the United Nations is all about, from both a historical and current perspective? A new guide, United Nations at a Glance, might just be what you have been waiting for. The book delves into the work of the global body on issues ranging from international peace and security, to economic and social development, to human rights and humanitarian work. It uses examples extracted from real life situations and events in which the UN was either directly involved or played a vital role.

Illustrated and enhanced with compelling stories from around the world, this guide contains historical information on how and why the UN came into existence; how it evolved from an ancient philosophical idea and a nascent war time alliance into the largest grouping of nations the world has ever known, and explains why it has become so essential to the everyday lives and livelihoods of millions around the world.

In straightforward language, United Nations at a Glance explains what the UN does, how and where it does it and with what financial and material means, who the actors are, when and where historical milestones occurred, and the objectives that will continue to warrant UN support in the years to come.

The guide is primarily intended to serve as an educational resource. It contains up-to-date and factual information about the principal organs of the UN as well as its specialized agencies, funds, programmes, institutes and other entities. It illustrates how the global body responds to the major contemporary challenges posed by the global financial crisis, food insecurity, terrorism, climate change, natural disasters, intolerance, poverty, and epidemics, by promoting the universality of human rights, peace and security for all, sustainable development, respect for the rule of law, and education for all.

United Nations at a Glance also contains rich statistics, questions and answers, quick references to online resources, information about UN members and international observances, as well as its network of information centres.

For anyone who wants to know more about the world’s foremost intergovernmental organization, United Nations at a Glance is certainly the right place to start. It complements other UN flagship publications such the Yearbook of the United Nations and Basic Facts about the United Nations.

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Colonial Meltdown: Northern Nigeria in the Great Depression by Moses E. Ochon (Ohio University Press, OH, USA, 2012; 272 pp; pb $24.95)

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A Comprehensive Tax History of Nigeria, eds. Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria (Safari Books, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, 2012; 298 pp; pb £34.95)

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