Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira De Mello and the Fight to Save the World
Chasing the Flame, tells the life story of a remarkable man. Sergio Vieira de Mello was born in 1948 just as the post World War II order was taking shape. He died in a terrorist attack on UN Headquarters in Iraq in 2003, just as the battle lines in the twenty-first century's first great struggle were being drawn. In nearly four decades of work for the United Nations, de Mello negotiated with - and often charmed - Cold War military dictators, Marxist jungle radicals, reckless warlords, and nationalist and sectarian militia leaders.
By bringing us the life of this man who saw more war than any other person of his generation, Samantha Power allows us to live the central humanitarian and geopolitical crises of the last two decades - the conflagration in the Middle East, through Vieira de Mello's trouble-shooting in Lebanon in the aftermath of Israel's 1982 invasion; the clean-up of the Cold War's residue, through his taming of the Khmer Rouge and repatriation of 400,000 Cambodian refugees in the early 1990s, the explosion of sectarian and ethnic militancy, through his efforts to negotiate an end to the slaughter in Bosnia; the struggle to nation-build in war-torn societies, through his quasi-colonial governorships of Kosovo and East Timor; and the engulfing of Iraq in civil war and terror, through his tragic final posting as the UN representative in Baghdad, where he became the victim of the country's first-ever suicide bomb.
In this finely reasoned and imagined book, Samantha Power reveals Sergio Vieira de Mello's powerful legacy of humanity and ideological strength, and by introducing a hero for our age offers new answers to the question- who will possess the moral authority, the political sense and the military and economic left to protect human life and bring peace to the unruly new world order?
'Chasing the Flame is a brilliantly researched biography about an extraordinary man' - Richard Beeston, The Times 'a compelling work, culminating in a brilliant and moving reconstruction of Vieira de Mello's doomed last mission in Iraq' - Rosemary Righter, TLS
Samantha Power is Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy Practice at Harvard University's School of Government. Her book, "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide (2003), was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award for general non-fiction, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in U.S. foreign policy. Power is also the recipient of two National Magazine Awards.