Summary of A World Made New

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

A World Made New book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Eye Opening
  • Background


How did a standard of international human rights come into being? What threatens this standard today? Harvard law professor and former US Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon’s scholarly overview of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its authors and the debates that surround it addresses these questions in detail. Glendon’s text focuses on how Eleanor Roosevelt and her peers on the Human Rights Commission (particularly, Peng-chun Chang, René Cassin and Charles Malik) framed the work – collaborating across cultures and worldviews to yield an inspiring document to protect all people. In so doing, the book touches on important themes, including universality, multiculturalism, translation and political ideologies. The first chapters cover the process of creating the Declaration, providing insight into the practical complexities of drafting the text. Glendon then shifts to discussion of the Declaration’s content. Though a timeline and other editorial notes would help the overall fluidity and clarity of the sometimes dense material, it is a valuable read for anyone interested in understanding human rights.

About the Author

Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University. She was a former United States Ambassador to the Holy See and served as president of the UNESCO-sponsored International Association of Legal Science.



Identifying the Need to Protect Human Rights

In the aftermath of World War II, world leaders began developing new institutions to help shattered societies and economies rebuild.  The Allies established the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund in 1944. Just a month later, representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, China and Britain gathered to begin work on what became the Charter of the United Nations.

While the United States opposed the creation of special commissions within the UN Charter, there was an exception: America backed a Human Rights Commission. By the time the UN Charter was completed and approved in the summer of 1945, language about human rights appeared at various points in the text. But what were these rights, exactly? What would make them universal? When would it be appropriate to intervene in a country’s domestic affairs to protect human rights, and when might it be an imposition on sovereignty? These and other questions loomed as the first UN General Assembly met in early 1946. 

The Declaration’...

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Could populism actually be good for democracy?
Political Declaration Setting Out the Framework for the Future Relationship Between the European Union and The United Kingdom
America’s War for the Greater Middle East

Related Channels

Comment on this summary