Sunday, April 20, 2008

Don’t Fight the Power

On the promotional trail for her latest book, Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (Penguin), Pulitzer Prize-winning author (for 2002’s A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide) Samantha Power touches down in Toronto for a heart-to-heart with The Globe and Mail’s Martin Levin, who writes:
Harassed by the media, resigned from the Barack Obama campaign over her “Hillary Clinton is a monster” remark, jetting around the continent promoting her new book on Sergio Vieira de Mello, it's no wonder Samantha Power looks tired.

But she's not slumping on the restaurant table. Rather, she is energized into her usual preternatural articulateness when talking of the man who is for her a hero, a UN internationalist peacemaker killed in a terrorist attack in Iraq in 2003.
At one point, Levin asks if what the Irish-American author and academic thought about de Mello going in was altered by the research she did for the book. Power says: “He came across publicly as a bon vivant: gorgeous, sophisticated, brilliant, charismatic. But there was a lot of loneliness there, a lot of guilt over so much time away from his family. And he was very discreet. I knew him for nine years and never knew he had two PhDs in philosophy.”

The Globe and Mail piece is here. Last week, Conor Foley at The Guardian was lovin’ this book all over the place. “If you only read one book about the United Nations,” Foley wrote, “make sure that it is Samantha Power’s Chasing the Flame biography of Sergio Vieira de Mello.” Foley’s review is carefully considered, lengthy and it’s here.


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