Lawless World - Making and Breaking Global Rules

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 April, 2006, 12:00am

Lawless World - Making and Breaking Global Rules

by Philippe Sands

Penguin, $130

Since the hardcover publication of this book a year ago, the US continues to flout international law, and Philippe Sands claims to have further proof of Britain's complicity in manipulating the facts that led to the invasion of Iraq - dismissed by Downing Street as 'simply trying to get more publicity'. Sands' concern is not just the war in Iraq, and the violation of rules about human rights, torture and prisoners of war, but also the US tendency to walk away from any treaty no longer skewed in its favour. On trade and investment, though, the US is quick to defend laws that are increasingly seen as biased against the developing world. Books about law tend towards Sahara-like dryness and Gordian complexity. But Sands is an expert blessed with the writer's gift, and Lawless World is clear, often colourful and comprehensible. It's a superb history of 60 years of world law-making, but its real strength is an account of the human situations that led to the laws. Lawless World is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand what is at stake.




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