In 2004 Kofi Annan was nearly hounded from office by scandal. Following the invasion of Iraq, critics, and even some supporters, began asking whether the UN had outlived its usefulness. Do its failures arise from its own structure or from a clash with a US administration determined to go its own way? James Traub, who enjoyed unprecedented access to Annan and his aides from 2003 to 2006, delves into these questions and describes the Oil-for-Food scandal, the failed attempt to act decisively against ethnic cleansing in Sudan, and Annan's sweeping reforms. The Best Intentions is both a fascinating fly-on-the-wall account of Annan's two terms as Secretary General and an important critical study of the institution that has carried the best hopes of the world since 1945.