Books: Peacekeeper a Life in Peace and War

by Brian Urquhart Harper & Row; 390 pages; $25

These are dire times for the United Nations. It is near bankruptcy, and unilateralism by the Great Powers is still very much the order of the day. Rarely has the world organization seemed less apt to fulfill its initial aspiration, to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."

Thus there is something quixotic and timely about this memoir of a distinguished career spent under the blue-and-white U.N. flag. Its author does not redeem the battered organization in Turtle Bay but asserts elegantly that there is still nobility in the effort to give peace a chance.

Few public servants are better...