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Kissinger
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In 1973, Henry Kissinger became secretary of state and the "single most powerful man in the world," claims Horne (How Far from Austerlitz?), a distinguished British military historian. Horne's excellent account, full of informed observations and good humor, was written with Kissinger's cooperation; the author had complete access to Kissinger's papers and conducted several interviews with him. Horne includes several chapters about Kissinger before 1973 and then discusses in detail the momentous events of that year: detente with the Soviets, improved relations with the Chinese, shuttle diplomacy during the Yom Kippur War, the coup in Chile, frustrating talks with the North Vietnamese, and the looming presence of Watergate. Horne maintains that the diplomacy that ended the Yom Kippur War was Kissinger's greatest achievement, while the failure to settle the Vietnam War on terms more favorable to the United States was his greatest disappointment. This sympathetic portrayal of arguably our most controversial and important secretary of state of modern times is not a polemic dismissing all criticism of Kissinger but an illuminating investigation that encourages readers to draw their own conclusions. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/08.]-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Oxford University historian Horne (Harold Macmillan) presents a busy snapshot of America's controversial superdiplomat in this admiring biographical study. The year 1973 ran Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon's chief foreign policy adviser, ragged with such watersheds as the Paris Peace Treaty with North Vietnam, the Chileans' overthrow of president Salvador Allende and the Yom Kippur War; he also won the Nobel Peace Prize, was appointed secretary of state and launched detente with the Soviets. Horne's chummyportrait, heavily informed by its ever-accessible subject, dubs Kissinger "the single most powerful man in the world" as his epic negotiations, intricately recounted here, resolved crisis after crisis while a paralyzed Nixon White House dithered over Watergate. Horne defends Kissinger from leftists who accuse him of war crimes and right-wingers who claim he was soft on Russia; he absolves Kissinger of responsibility for the Chilean coup, and blames congressional doves and a "fifth column" of antiwar activists for handing Indochina over to communism. The author's own Cold War conservatism heightens the book's dated tone; he doesn't question the continuing relevance of Kissinger's static, Metternichian balance-of-superpowers vision. His is a simplistic, unreflective account of Kissinger's place in history. (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"A riveting story about one of the country's most powerful secretaries of state"

--Jonathan Karl, The Wall Street Journal


"[Sir Alistair] tells the story racily and well"

--The Economist


"The book bustles with Kissinger's peripatetic diplomacy and management of a series of crises."

--Gilbert Taylor, Booklist


"Horne grippingly recounts those tense days of international negotiation, all the more dramatic due to the psychological withdrawal of the president. The dynamic between Nixon and Kissinger, so different in personality and background, propels the narrative. The author writes perceptively of the strange bond between the two men"

--Kirkus Reviews

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