Rene Cassin and Human Rights

Rene Cassin and Human Rights : from the Great War to the Universal Declaration

By (author) Jay Winter , By (author) Antoine Prost


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Through the life of one extraordinary man, this biography reveals what the term human rights meant to the men and women who endured two world wars, and how this major political and intellectual movement ultimately inspired and enshrined the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rene Cassin was a man of his generation, committed to moving from war to peace through international law, and whose work won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968. His life crossed all the major events of the first seventy years of the twentieth century, and illustrates the hopes, aspirations, failures and achievements of an entire generation. It shows how today's human rights regimes emerged from the First World War as a pacifist response to that catastrophe and how, after 1945, human rights became a way to go beyond the dangers of absolute state sovereignty, helping to create today's European project.

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  • Paperback | 397 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 24mm | 679.99g
  • 28 Jun 2013
  • Cambridge
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 42 b/w illus.
  • 1107655706
  • 9781107655706
  • 834,136

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Author Information

Jay Winter is Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University. He has published widely on the history of the First World War, and is one of the founders of the Historial de la grande guerre, the international museum of the Great War in Peronne, France. He is author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Antoine Prost is Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne. He is the world's leading authority on the history of French veterans' movements and the history of French education, and has written extensively on twentieth-century social and cultural history. He is co-author with Jay Winter of The Great War in History: Debates and Controversies, 1914 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

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Review quote

'Winter and Prost have written a marvelous book about the struggle for human rights as seen through the prism of the remarkable life and achievements of Rene Cassin ranging throughout the entire twentieth century. It is thoroughly researched, brilliantly presented, honest and humane in its treatment, and sound in its judgments. This is exactly the way that history and biography should be written.' Paul Gordon Lauren, University of Montana 'At its best, biography provides a humanized window on to great historical developments. Prost and Winter have done just this. Along the way, readers are led through a fascinating narrative of the history of human rights in the twentieth century. This fine biography of Cassin is at least as much about Cassin's causes as Cassin himself and Cassin himself would have been well pleased by it.' Leonard V. Smith, Oberlin College 'Almost killed as a soldier in 1914, Rene Cassin was a lawyer who became a veterans' rights advocate, architect of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and leading member of the French Jewish community after the Holocaust. Two eminent historians combine their strengths to paint a compelling portrait of this unique figure, whose life encompassed the best and the worst of the twentieth century.' John Horne, Trinity College Dublin '... a thorough, engaging, and informative account of the life of Rene Cassin ... Well researched and written this book shows why Cassin's mortal remains now rest in the Pantheon, the ultimate French honor to the country's major figures. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections.' D. P. Forsythe, Choice

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