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The Trial of Henry Kissinger

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  2,143 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
Christopher Hitchens doesn't mince words when it comes to Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state and national-security advisor: Kissinger deserves vigorous prosecution "for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture." The Trial of Henry Kissin ...more
Paperback, 247 pages
Published April 2012 by Twelve (first published 2001)
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Dec 07, 2008 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, verso
Henry Kissinger is a bad bad man, and Christopher Hitchens sets out to prove it and expose all of the fucked up shit this slimy bastard has ever done to the world. The book is interesting, and it's more than a little sad that the one thing that was implicitly hoped for by this book was for Kissinger to sue Verso or Hitchens for libel, an act that would have forced him to open up some of his sealed documents and let the world see what an even bigger douche bag he is.

One day maybe we'll get to se
Oct 07, 2008 Mr. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This little book includes some of Christopher Hitchens' best investigative reporting. He puts former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on trial (at last), and indicts him for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Chile, Cyprus, East Timor, for an attempted assassination of Greek dissident journalist. The book is slim, but fairly detailed, and while it focuses on Kissinger (deservingly), the implicit thesis of the book is the flaw of international legal standards, th ...more
1.5 stars. This was a very frustrating book to read. In each of the chapters (except chapter 8 on East Timor), Hitchens makes his allegations against Kissenger and then proceeds to layout a seeming plethora of information to support the allegations.The problem is, the information presented does not confirm or, in the case of the Kissenger's alleged involvement in the murder of Greek journalist Elias Demetracopoulos, even support the allegations made. I kept finding myself saying "ok, then what.. ...more
A fiery and incisive look at the war crimes of an American statesman, as well as a critique of the international justice system. Hitchens at top form.
I don't imagine that after Hitchens' account of Kissinger, there is need for any other on the fighting side. You can just take this as a sort of list of what Kissiger has (or hasn't) done. I tend to believe that the author's research is water tight, and as he did with Mother Theresa, after reading one of his accusatory works you can't go back to regarding the subject the same.
Harshit Sahay
Jun 18, 2016 Harshit Sahay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is simply a must read specifically for every american and generally for all humanity, in order to come to grips with reality. Very well researched, it really severely indicts Nixon and Kissinger for their genocidical campaigns or support thereof in vietnam, cyprus, east timor, bangladesh , chile etc. Without being sensationalist, the book tackles all these controversial issues ruthlessly, admitting from the outset to be a case against Henry Kissinger and his war crimes. As good as Inve ...more
Jan 03, 2010 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s something challenging about reading, or commenting on a book by Christopher Hitchens, whose well-publicized defection from the radical left to the neoconservative right after the September 11, 2001 attacks leads the reader to look for signs of his then-impending change-of-heart in the texts of his glory years.

I’ll skip the score-settling, and judge Hitchens’ mock trial of the legendarily evil Henry Kissinger in its own right: this is a well-documented and ferociously argued glimpse into
Feb 06, 2012 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous evisceration of the loathsome Dr K by Christopher Hitchens, convincingly making the case that said Dr should be indicted for war crimes and indeed there are warrants out for his arrest in some European countries. This is Hitchens at his best before he lost his soul to the neo cons and it is in the best tradition of Jonathan Swift. An exhilarating read, though one that makes you so angry, not only at Dr K's total amorality but at the fact that this highly intelligent, extremely powerf ...more
Dec 22, 2011 Lachlan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An essential piece that illuminates the shocking, corrupt and heartbreaking dark side of American foreign policy in the late 60's and early 70's. The extent to which Nixon, Kissinger and associates actively undermined democracies across any number of nations for the sake of 'national internest' and business interests is simply abhorrent.

Kissinger undermined peace efforts in Vietnam before Nixon came to power, authorised - and indeed pushed for gratutious, spiteful acts of murder in Indochina aga
Jan 13, 2014 Ivana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leave it to Hitch to write the most concise, meticulous and fact-filled novel regarding one of the greatest murderers and criminals of the last century.
I constantly fail to understand how this man continues to, not only enjoy freedom, but remain one of the most influential people in American foreign policy. This is mind boggling.
Obviously, Hitch isn't the only journalist who embarked on uncovering the many, many crimes this man has committed; however, he did do so in the most compelling wa
Jul 22, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
I found myself wishing this was longer. While Hitchens is obviously interested here in only providing evidence for the most objectively provable of Henry Kissingers many many disgusting actions and evasions during his time in power, the book tends to move, often blindingly, between episodes in different parts of the world. This isn't a book for the layperson; it presupposes not only a thorough knowledge of American foreign policy circa 1968-1975, but also at least a somewhat nominal knowledge of ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henry Kissinger is a bit of an open secret in U.S. politics. No one really bothers denying anymore that he was the prime mover behind a lot of ugly moments in our foreign policy: the Paris Peace talks, the illegal bombing of Cambodia, Pinochet, Suharto, etc. Indeed it's a big part of his Strangelovian mystique -- that "frisson of power" as Hitchens calls it. But for whatever reasons, he has rarely been challenged by anyone with real power in the media or the establishment and has been allowed to ...more
Mary Shanley
Oct 05, 2013 Mary Shanley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the worst people in the world is called out by the late great Christopher Hitchens.
Charlie Edwards
Dec 14, 2014 Charlie Edwards rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea the extent to which the U.S. government routinely lies to its people. I got an idea of it from Howard Zinn, and this may be a book focusing on one man within the system, but in this short book alone, you get a better picture of the systematic lying that goes on in Washington DC. What is perhaps more shocking, though, are the consequences of this lying on the millions of innocent people around the world. Hitchens racks up the evidence for the motion that Kissinger was not the great ...more
J.F. Lawrence
Aug 24, 2014 J.F. Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Christopher Hitchens turns his forensic eye on the political career of one of the 20th century's most powerful, most murderous, most duplicitous psychopaths, Dr. Henry Kissinger: that notorious Nobel Peace Laureate and killer of Lehrerian satire to whom Jeremy Paxman directed the famous question: 'Do you feel a fraud?'

Hitch wields his rhetoric with customary skill to arraign Kissinger in the court of journalistic scrutiny, damning the defendant beyond any reasonable doubt in page after page of
Mike Porter
Mar 23, 2014 Mike Porter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
A book that I could hardly stop reading at times and a book I wanted to stop reading at times. Brutal in it's presentation of facts, and Hitchens' sources are wide ranging and credible. In this book Kissinger is excoriated for his role as as Nixon's National Security Advisor and as Secretary of State. It was Kissinger who was dead center in the Chile overthrow of Allende (popularly elected) by General Pinochet, and thousands were killed by the military dictator. As a country, the USA has a lot o ...more
Covers all of Kissingers mass murdering greatest hits from east Timor, southeast Asia, Chile, Bangladesh and more. Hitchens intentionally puts this book together as if he was putting forth a case for Henry Kissinger to be tried for war crimes. Of course Kissinger will never be tried and in fact when he finally dies he will be hailed as a great man even though he is an incredibly evil sociopath.

Really if you study history you can find numerous characters like Kissinger, quite often they were Jew
Apr 30, 2012 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I worked with a friend who would always snarl and roar at the first mention of Henry Kissinger. "He's a war criminal!" he would shout through showers of bile. I would always nod and think "I've heard this but can't really comment much as I don't know enough".

Well, imagine my delight when Amazon recommended The Trial of Henry Kissinger by the late, great Christopher Hitchens. Brilliantly researched and perfectly set-out, The Trial of Henry Kissinger turned me from someone who was unsure to now so
Christopher Carbone
May 27, 2009 Christopher Carbone rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who is not bothered with the idea of an American War Criminal
This book is a very fast, very fluid read about the foreign policy and possible war crimes of Henry Kissinger. Hitchens does not mince words; there is no rhetorical foreplay nor long winded explanations of how Nixon came to power or Kissinger's childhood, etc. It runs the reader right into the major crimes of Kissinger, namely:

1. The fact that Kissinger most likely intentionally extended the Vietnam war in 1968 in order to defeat Herbert Humphrey and bring Richard Nixon to power, thereby needles
Joel Trono-Doerksen
Probably the only book by Christopher Hitchens I will give 5 stars to let alone read. Before I read this book I knew very little about Henry Kissinger, I had just seen him on the Simpsons once. After reading this books, readers will know a great deal about this truly vile historical character. Hitchens chronicles Kissinger's life of crime all over the world from Chile to Vietnam to East Timor. Very well researched and quite a brilliant, scathing indictment of the United States most famous (and i ...more
May 20, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
A lot of people avoid Hitchens because of his "New Atheist" associations. We must remember, however, that he is a journalist of the highest caliber. Kissinger & Nixon were very bad people, and the evidence proves it. The coco-political climate of the 1970's could have been different save for the avarice of the Nixon-era ruling party. Nixon and Kissinger should have been tried for War Crimes, as Hitchens proves. Ignore your religious beef with Hitch and see the reality of the USA's policies i ...more
So, it turns out Henry Kissinger was a pretty bad guy. And Christopher Hitchens has the evidence to prove it. From Indochina to Indonesia to Bangladesh to Greece to Cyprus to Chile, if bad shit was happening in the '70s, Kissinger more than likely had his grubby little mitts involved.

This book is some great investigative reporting from Hitchens, and while his trademark anger and ferocity is definitely here, his smarmy smugness has been toned down. Which is a good thing, as I've always found his
I enjoy Hitchens's writing and I'm sorry that Kissinger outlived him.

The book is well-written and researched but Kissinger classified his papers and gave them to the library of congress as long as they would not be opened until his death. Hitchens refused to wait until that occasion for what will likely include even more damning evidence.

This book is an excellent illustration of the human costs of an imperial foreign policy that favors stability over self-determination, a diplomatic elite over
Feb 25, 2016 Satyasmrti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hitchens has written an excellent book arguing the legal case against Henry Kissinger in and after his time in government - for his violation against international law, US laws against arms sales, US laws prohibiting terrorism in foreign countries, anti corruption laws involving conflicts of interest and international human rights law. Each case feels like an airplane on a runway which you doubt will take off - it starts slow where the reader is arguing and shooting down Hitchens theses but then ...more
Bob Anderson
May 20, 2015 Bob Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Using historical documents, revealed recordings, and testimony of involved parties, Hitchens attempts to make the case that Henry Kissinger has performed acts that, if done under the auspices of some country unfriendly to and dominated by the United States, would land him in the same predicament as, say, Milosevic; in other words, war crimes, crimes against humanity. The case is not weak, although a figure such as Kissinger was well positioned to hide his involvement. To those who learned of the ...more
Some years ago, in an article about unwritten books that people would like to read, someone selected the yet-to-be-written “Prison Memoirs of Henry Kissinger”. Now aged 90, the chances of Kissinger being tried for his war crimes, much less sent to prison, are rapidly diminishing. However, he has outlived Christopher Hitchens, one of his accusers, who died in 2011 aged only 62. After 9/11 Hitchens quickly became a supporter of the Iraq war and, before his death, intervention in Libya. His volte f ...more
Fraser Kinnear
Sep 11, 2016 Fraser Kinnear rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely incredible - Hitchens makes the case that Henry Kissinger has broken the law and had a hand in enormous violence and injustice across Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia, Bangladesh (Pakistan at the time), Indonesia, Chile, and Cyprus during his time as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser for Nixon and Ford.

A few of the charges:
1. Kissinger (along with Nixon) sabotaged the Paris Peace Accords in 1968 while they were private citizens running for Nixon's first election (breaking U
May 10, 2015 Micah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fine polemic, and Hitchens seems to dig into the actual smoking gun documents that prove everything he argues about Kissinger in a way that most essayists like him don't. The problem with this book, as Greg Grandin (who wrote a forthcoming book on Kissinger, which I'm really looking forward to reading) recently tweeted, is that Hitchens's case here is so laser-focused on Kissinger and his many moral failings that you get the sense that all of Kissinger's crimes are the result of his individual ...more
Feb 19, 2016 Bailey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago the name Henry Kissinger would have rung very few bells in my memory. I had come across him in passing pop culture references, as well as briefly during my AP American History course while discussing the Vietnam War and the domino theory regarding global affairs. As Bernie Sanders would put it, if Vietnam goes, then China and da-de da-de da, so forth. It wasn't until I reached my early-twenties, when I began looking more in depth to the American dynasty of the Rockefeller family ...more
Charlene Mathe
Dec 14, 2015 Charlene Mathe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a red-white-&blue idealism about America and its role in the world that takes a severe drubbing when I learn about some of the moral failures of our nation, often executed right under our nose, without our grasp of events. It is amazing to read in this brief book, names and places from the 70's, 80's, and 90's that are familiar to me, but somehow I have no clarity about them. The one person I did deplore was Henry Kissinger! I could never understand his universal esteem and influence! ...more
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Christopher Eric Hitchens was an English-born American author, journalist and literary critic. He was a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, World Affairs, The Nation, Slate, Free Inquiry and a variety of other media outlets. Hitchens was also a political observer, whose best-selling books — the most famous being God Is Not Great — made him a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits. He was ...more
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“The burden therefore rests with the American legal community and with the American human-rights lobbies and non-governmental organizations. They can either persist in averting their gaze from the egregious impunity enjoyed by a notorious war criminal and lawbreaker, or they can become seized by the exalted standards to which they continually hold everyone else. The current state of suspended animation, however, cannot last. If the courts and lawyers of this country will not do their duty, we shall watch as the victims and survivors of this man pursue justice and vindication in their own dignified and painstaking way, and at their own expense, and we shall be put to shame.” 16 likes
“[T]hose who willed the means and wished the ends are not absolved from guilt by the refusal of reality to match their schemes.” 7 likes
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