Cover image for Historical dictionary of international organizations
Historical dictionary of international organizations
Schechter, Michael G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
lv, 247 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JZ4838 .S34 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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The Historical Dictionary of International Organizations provides an overview of the major international organizations (IOs), both intergovernmental and international nongovernmental, of the twentieth century. While the emphasis is on organizations which continue to operate today, important organizations that have ceased to operate are also included.

The extensive chronology traces the progression from the first few institutionally uncomplicated bodies to the countless organizations of the present that are often sophisticated, occasionally almost universal, and sometimes even supranational. The list of acronyms is indispensable in reading about them, here or elsewhere. The introduction delineates the broader context while the dictionary goes into specifics. Some entries present the more important IOs, what they do, how they function, who belongs, and where they fit in the contemporary international political and economic system. Others explain the rationale and workings of IOs in general. Many of the most significant organizational leaders are introduced, including officials, pioneers, and founders.

Obviously, neither this book nor the other volumes published or planned in the International Organizations Series could cover the whole field: the bibliography is a central part of this work. It is carefully structured to make it especially user-friendly. Schechter breaks the bibliography into several distinct sections: general works, the UN and its major organs, the Specialized and Related Agencies of the UN, regional organizations, non-UN, non-regional IGOs (including League of Nations), and international non-governmental organizations.

Author Notes

Michael G. Schechter is a professor at the James Madison College of Michigan State University.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This volume in the International Organizations series provides an overview of the major IOs of the twentieth century. There are entries for Habitat for Humanity and Human Rights Watch as well as the IMF, OPEC, and the U.N. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)

Choice Review

In this second edition Schechter (Michigan State) presents an expanded directory of 700 entries related to international organizations. A chronology, introduction, dictionary, and bibliography comprise the main sections. The selected chronology is expanded, updated, and better organized. The updated and expanded book bibliography remains comprehensive. Unfortunately, the series editor's note is almost identical to that in the first edition (until the third and final paragraph). More troubling is that the author's useful introduction also is almost identical to that in the first edition. The volume barely touches on how international organizations have evolved in the past decade. This reviewer hoped for a more in-depth discussion of the post-9/11 world in which these organizations operate. Determining the exact number of updated, expanded, and new entries in the second edition would be time-consuming, but the number of entries appears to have doubled. A random comparison of entries found some that are new, some that have remained the same, some with less coverage, and some updated with recent events. As noted in the review of the first edition, the Yearbook of International Organizations (46th ed., 2009/2010) is still the seminal directory for the field; it still carries an expensive price tag. With shrinking book budgets, the money might better be spent on the yearbook, especially if a library already has the first edition of this work. However, for specialized research libraries, this new edition should be added and the first edition retained. Summing Up: Optional. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates. R. L. Kear University of Pittsburgh