For the Good of Humanity

Ludwik Rajchman, Medical Statesman
$90.00 / €79.00 / £71.00
Publication date: 
310 pages

In this biography of Ludwik Rajchman, Marta A. Balinska paints a portrait of a true hero of our times. He was born in Poland in 1881 and was an exponent of humanitarian intervention and defender of colonized people, as adept in secret diplomacy as in organizing vast anti-epidemic campaigns. He inspired the creation of WHO and the foundation of UNICEF, of which he became the first chairman. Progressive but opposed to all dogmas, he was forced by McCarthyism to flee the U.S. and soon became an object of suspicion in the Soviet bloc, finding himself estranged from his beloved Poland.

As the story of this remarkable life unfolds, the reader is given a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the major events that shaped the twentieth century. Using family archives and documentary sources from a dozen countries, the author brilliantly reconstructs the career of a man who was not only the first médecin sans frontiere but also an intellectual with an exceptional sense of the universal.


I. The Awakening of a Sense of Responsibility (1881-1990)
II. The Dream of a Social-Cultural Revolution (1900-1906) 
III. Towards Independence 
IV. Fighting Epidemics (1918-1922)
V. The Health Organization: The Spirit of Invention
VI. A "Bold Game": Mission to China (1929-1934)
VII. Towards Catastrophe: The Thirties 
VIII. From Geneva to Nanking: The Common Cause of the Democratic World (1939)
IX. Delegate of Sikorksi (1939-1940)
X. An "Undertaking Strewn with Adventures" : The Soong-Rajchman Lobby (1940-1944)
XI. A Melancholy World
XII. The Watershed (1944-1946)
XIII. An Emergency Fund for Children (1947-1965)
XIV. A Pole on International Assignment 


"It is a rediscovery of a utopian who believed in the efficiency of international institutions, in the troubled era of fierce nationalism."
"Balinska's biography is peopled with a veritable pantheon of the first generation of international civil servants - from the Secretary-General of the League, Sir Eric Drummond, to Nansen, Monnet, and, as regards Britain, such notable internationalists as Philip Noel Baker, Lord Cecil, and Arthur Salter - who all worked closely with Rajchman and praised him highly. Monnet ascribed to him a rare 'sense of the universal', and the Irish nutritionist W.R. Aykroyd (a close colleague of Rajchman) observed that almost always he 'had the good of humanity at heart'. Balinska's study profusely demonstrates the truth of these lofty estimations, as well as of her subject's own profound conviction that co-operation can transcend personal, political, and national ambitions."