web site hit counter Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography

Availability: Ready to download

The definitive biography of Henry Kissinger--at least for those who neither revere nor revile him Over the past six decades, Henry Kissinger has been America's most consistently praised--and reviled--public figure. He was hailed as a "miracle worker" for his peacemaking in the Middle East, pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union, negotiation of an end to the Vietnam War, a The definitive biography of Henry Kissinger--at least for those who neither revere nor revile him Over the past six decades, Henry Kissinger has been America's most consistently praised--and reviled--public figure. He was hailed as a "miracle worker" for his peacemaking in the Middle East, pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union, negotiation of an end to the Vietnam War, and secret plan to open the United States to China. He was assailed from the left and from the right for his indifference to human rights, complicity in the pointless sacrifice of American and Vietnamese lives, and reliance on deception and intrigue. Was he a brilliant master strategist--"the 20th century's greatest 19th century statesman"--or a cold-blooded monster who eroded America's moral standing for the sake of self-promotion? In this masterfully researched biography, the renowned diplomatic historian Thomas Schwartz offers an authoritative, and fair-minded, answer to this question. While other biographers have engaged in hagiography or demonology, Schwartz takes a measured view of his subject. He recognizes Kissinger's successes and acknowledges that Kissinger thought seriously and with great insight about the foreign policy issues of his time, while also recognizing his failures, his penchant for backbiting, and his reliance on ingratiating and fawning praise of the president as a source of power. Throughout, Schwartz stresses Kissinger's artful invention of himself as a celebrity diplomat and his domination of the medium of television news. He also notes Kissinger's sensitivity to domestic and partisan politics, complicating--and undermining--the image of the far-seeing statesman who stands above the squabbles of popular strife. Rounded and textured, and rich with new insights into key dilemmas of American power, Henry Kissinger and American Power stands as an essential guide to a man whose legacy is as complex as the last sixty years of US history itself.


Compare

The definitive biography of Henry Kissinger--at least for those who neither revere nor revile him Over the past six decades, Henry Kissinger has been America's most consistently praised--and reviled--public figure. He was hailed as a "miracle worker" for his peacemaking in the Middle East, pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union, negotiation of an end to the Vietnam War, a The definitive biography of Henry Kissinger--at least for those who neither revere nor revile him Over the past six decades, Henry Kissinger has been America's most consistently praised--and reviled--public figure. He was hailed as a "miracle worker" for his peacemaking in the Middle East, pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union, negotiation of an end to the Vietnam War, and secret plan to open the United States to China. He was assailed from the left and from the right for his indifference to human rights, complicity in the pointless sacrifice of American and Vietnamese lives, and reliance on deception and intrigue. Was he a brilliant master strategist--"the 20th century's greatest 19th century statesman"--or a cold-blooded monster who eroded America's moral standing for the sake of self-promotion? In this masterfully researched biography, the renowned diplomatic historian Thomas Schwartz offers an authoritative, and fair-minded, answer to this question. While other biographers have engaged in hagiography or demonology, Schwartz takes a measured view of his subject. He recognizes Kissinger's successes and acknowledges that Kissinger thought seriously and with great insight about the foreign policy issues of his time, while also recognizing his failures, his penchant for backbiting, and his reliance on ingratiating and fawning praise of the president as a source of power. Throughout, Schwartz stresses Kissinger's artful invention of himself as a celebrity diplomat and his domination of the medium of television news. He also notes Kissinger's sensitivity to domestic and partisan politics, complicating--and undermining--the image of the far-seeing statesman who stands above the squabbles of popular strife. Rounded and textured, and rich with new insights into key dilemmas of American power, Henry Kissinger and American Power stands as an essential guide to a man whose legacy is as complex as the last sixty years of US history itself.

40 review for Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steven Z.

    For members of my generation the name Henry Kissinger produces a number of reactions. First and foremost is his “ego,” which based on his career in public service, academia, and his role as a dominant political and social figure makes him a very consequential figure in American diplomatic history. Second, he fosters extreme responses whether your views are negative seeing him as a power hungry practitioner of Bismarckian realpolitik who would do anything from wiretapping his staff to the 1972 Ch For members of my generation the name Henry Kissinger produces a number of reactions. First and foremost is his “ego,” which based on his career in public service, academia, and his role as a dominant political and social figure makes him a very consequential figure in American diplomatic history. Second, he fosters extreme responses whether your views are negative seeing him as a power hungry practitioner of Bismarckian realpolitik who would do anything from wiretapping his staff to the 1972 Christmas bombing of North Vietnam; or positive as in the case of “shuttle diplomacy” to bring about disengagement agreements between Israel and Egypt, and Israel and Syria following the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the use of linkage or triangular diplomacy pitting China and the Soviet Union against each other. No matter one’s opinion Thomas A. Schwartz’s new book, HENRY KISSINGER AND AMERICAN POWER: A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY, though not a complete biography, offers a deep dive into Kissinger’s background and diplomatic career which will benefit those interested in the former Secretary of State’s impact on American history. Schwartz tries to present a balanced account as his goal is to reintroduce Kissinger to the American people. He does not engage in every claim and accusation leveled at his subject, nor does he accept the idea that he was the greatest statesman of the 20th century. Schwartz wrote the book for his students attempting to “explain who Henry Kissinger was, what he thought, what he did, and why it matters.” Schwartz presents a flawed individual who was brilliant and who thought seriously and developed important insights into the major foreign policy issues of his time. The narrative shows a person who was prone to deception and intrigue, a superb bureaucratic infighter, and was able to ingratiate himself with President Richard Nixon through praise as his source of power. Kissinger was a genius at self-promotion and became a larger than life figure. According to Schwartz most books on Kissinger highlight his role as a foreign policy intellectual who advocated realpolitik for American foreign policy, eschewing moral considerations or democratic ideas as he promoted a “cold-blooded” approach designed to protect American security interests. Schwartz argues this is not incorrect, but it does not present a complete picture. “To fully understand Henry Kissinger, it is important to see him as a political actor, a politician, and a man who understood that American foreign policy is fundamentally shaped and determined by the struggles and battles of American domestic politics.” In explaining his meteoric rise to power, it must be seen in the context of global developments which were interwoven in his life; the rise of Nazism, World War II, the Holocaust, and the Cold War. In developing Kissinger’s life before he rose to power Schwartz relies heavily on Niall Ferguson’s biography as he describes the Kissinger families escape from Nazi Germany. Schwartz does not engage in psycho-babble, but he is correct in pointing out how Kissinger’s early years helped form his legendary insecurity, paranoia, and extreme sensitivity to criticism. In this penetrating study Schwartz effectively navigates Kissinger’s immigration to the United States, service in the military, his early academic career highlighting important personalities, particularly Nelson Rockefeller, and issues that impacted him, particularly his intellectual development highlighting his publications which foreshadowed his later career on the diplomatic stage. However, the most important components of the narrative involve Kissinger’s role in the Nixon administration as National Security advisor and Secretary of State. Kissinger was a practitioner of always keeping “a foot in both camps” no matter the issue. As Schwartz correctly states, “Kissinger sought to cultivate an image of being more dovish than he really was, and he could never quite give up his attempts to convince his critics.” He had a propensity to fawn over Nixon and stress his conservative bonafede’s at the same time trying to maintain his position in liberal circles. Though Schwartz repeatedly refers to Kissinger’s ego and duplicitousness, he always seems to have an excuse for Kissinger’s actions which he integrates into his analysis. Schwartz correctly points out that Nixon’s goal was to replicate President Eisenhower’s success in ending the Korean War by ending the war in Vietnam which would allow him to reassert leadership in Europe as Eisenhower had done by organizing NATO. This would also quell the anti-war movement in much the same way as Eisenhower helped bring about the end of McCarthyism. Schwartz offers the right mix of historical detail and analysis. Useful examples include his narration of how Nixon and Kissinger used “the mad man theory” to pressure the Soviet Union by bombing Cambodia and North Vietnam; the employment of “linkage” to achieve Détente, SALT I; and ending the war in Vietnam by achieving a “decent interval” so Washington could not be blamed for abandoning its ally in South Vietnam; and bringing about cease fire agreements following the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In all instances Kissinger was careful to promote his image, but at the same time play up to Nixon, the man who created his role and allowed him to pursue their partnership until Watergate, when “Super K” became the major asset of the Nixon administration. Kissinger was the consummate courtier recognizing Nixon’s need for praise which he would offer after speeches and interviews. Kissinger worked to ingratiate himself with Nixon who soon became extremely jealous of his popularity. The two men had an overly complex relationship. It is fair to argue that at various times each was dependent upon the other. Nixon needed Kissinger’s popularity with the media and reinforcement of his ideas and hatreds. Kissinger needed Nixon as validation for his powerful position as a policy maker and a vehicle to escape academia. Schwartz provides examples of how Kissinger manipulated Nixon from repeated threats to resign particularly following the war scare between Pakistan and India in 1971, negotiations with the Soviet Union, and the Paris Peace talks. Nixon did contemplate firing Kissinger on occasion, especially when Oriana Fallaci described Kissinger as “Nixon’s mental wet nurse” in an article but realized how indispensable he was. What drew them together was their secret conspiratorial approach to diplomacy and the desire to push the State Department into the background and conduct foreign policy from inside the White House. Schwartz reinforces the idea that Kissinger was Nixon’s creation, and an extension of his authority and political power as President which basically sums up their relationship. Schwartz details the diplomatic machinations that led to “peace is at hand” in Vietnam, the Middle East, and the trifecta of 1972 that included Détente and the opening with China. Schwartz’s writing is clear and concise and offers a blend of factual information, analysis, interesting anecdotes, and superior knowledge of source material which he puts to good use. Apart from Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and the Middle East successes Schwartz chides Kissinger for failing to promote human rights and for aligning the United states with dictators and a host of unsavory regimes, i.e.; the Shah of Iran, Pinochet in Chile, and the apartheid regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa. Schwartz also criticizes Kissinger’s wiretapping of his NSC staff, actions that Kissinger has danced around in all of his writings. Though most of the monograph involves the Nixon administration, Schwartz explores Kissinger’s role under Gerald Ford and his post-public career, a career that was very productive as he continued to serve on various government commissions under different administrations, built a thriving consulting firm that advised politicians and corporations making him enormous sums of money, and publishing major works that include his 3 volume memoir and an excellent study entitled DIPLOMACY a masterful tour of history’s greatest practitioners of foreign policy. Kissinger would go on to influence American foreign policy well into his nineties and his policies continue to be debated in academic circles, government offices, and anywhere foreign policy decision-making is seen as meaningful. After reading Schwartz’s work my own view of Kissinger is that he is patriotic American but committed a number of crimes be it domestically or in the international sphere. He remains a flawed public servant whose impact on the history of the 20th century whether one is a detractor or promoter cannot be denied. How Schwartz’s effort stacks up to the myriad of books on Kissinger is up to the reader, but one cannot deny that the book is an important contribution to the growing list of monographs that seek to dissect and understand “Super-K’s” career.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jake Sylvestre

    A great overview of Kissinger's later career and a revisionist look at Kissinger's domestic political instincts. Not nearly as enjoyable as some of the other Kissingerian revisionism I've read recently (namely Gewen)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I only made it through the first 200ish pages of the book. I had another 200ish pages to go. I was slightly bewildered as I read. I expected to learn about Kissinger's brilliant foreign policy strategies, tactics, and perspectives. Instead, I saw a man who was brilliant, yes, but in an academic manner, not as a strategist. Or maybe he was a brilliant strategist, only not in foreign policy but in being a sycophant. I saw a man who loved to be important and did whatever was necessary to keep himsel I only made it through the first 200ish pages of the book. I had another 200ish pages to go. I was slightly bewildered as I read. I expected to learn about Kissinger's brilliant foreign policy strategies, tactics, and perspectives. Instead, I saw a man who was brilliant, yes, but in an academic manner, not as a strategist. Or maybe he was a brilliant strategist, only not in foreign policy but in being a sycophant. I saw a man who loved to be important and did whatever was necessary to keep himself in the circles of important people. Maybe if I finished the book I would see another side to him? But I rather doubt it. The book itself was well written. It got too much in the weeds for me but I think most people who read this book will love those weeds. ETA: I originally gave this book only 2 stars but I realized it was because I was disappointed in the people in the book, not the writing of the book itself. So I increased the rating to reflect the author, not Kissinger.

  4. 4 out of 5

    D.H. Marks

    I liked it

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Goldmintz

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim Kuhlman

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

  9. 4 out of 5

    T

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ray Winter

  11. 4 out of 5

    Terry Feix

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary Gwin

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jerome

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hany

  16. 4 out of 5

    Harrison Recht

  17. 4 out of 5

    Measar

  18. 4 out of 5

    KeBOBster

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kara

  20. 4 out of 5

    Creolecat

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ansel?As10

  23. 5 out of 5

    James

  24. 5 out of 5

    James rouse

  25. 4 out of 5

    DW

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nick Katsaros

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jon

  28. 5 out of 5

    Arto Disque

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mahrukh Ahmed

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Bianchi

  31. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  32. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  33. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  34. 4 out of 5

    Clyde Macalister

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  36. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  37. 4 out of 5

    Figmentlady

  38. 4 out of 5

    ColumbusReads

  39. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  40. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Blank

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.