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Diplomacy: The History of Diplomacy and the Balance of Power
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Diplomacy: The History of Diplomacy and the Balance of Power

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  3,606 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Used Hardcover. Political Science
Hardcover, 912 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Simon & Schuster Ltd (first published 1994)
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Nicholas Whyte
"http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1312207.html[return][return]This is a somewhat frustrating book. The opening chapters, based apparently on the author's PhD thesis about diplomacy in the nineteenth century, are pretty dull, even soporific. But once Kissinger gets to the twentieth century, it all gets rather exciting - particularly as regards the foreign policy of Germany in the period between the two world wars and between 1945 and 1961; I don't think I have read a better analysis. But then, rathe ...more
Daniel Clausen
Whatever one may think about Kissinger, he is an indispensable theorist of realpolitik, balance of power politics, and the national interest. I originally picked the book up because I wanted something that covered a large span of history and was written clearly and simply. The book did not let me down. What is accomplished in 850 odd pages? There are two major themes that run throughout the book: that countries have survived and prospered largely when they have been practitioners of realpolitik; ...more
Peter Tieryas
Seeing this book brings back so many memories. I really enjoyed this book and its views on the titular diplomacy.
Sean Campbell
A great book to help one understand real politik - if Bush the 2nd had read this and taken away its lessons, he would have realized that Afghanistan had to be finished first and Iraq would have gone nowhere.

Kissinger does overplay his hand at the end - he almost becomes rigid in his application of real politik as the idealists that he preaches against.

As with most things in life, the truth is somewhere between these two ideals....
Hadrian
With all of the controversy that still surrounds Kissinger's policies, that book makes me think he should have been a fine historian. Lucid and invigorating analysis of complex international relations issues.
Piotr Pietrzak
Top ten books every student of International Relations should read

by Piotr Pietrzak
Author of the prospects for humanitarian intervention in Syria
Eric Lin
It was a great change of pace to read Kissinger's descriptions of more recent history, since most of the books I read are from the Revolutionary War until the Civil War. Kissinger explains the Vietnam War and Cuban missile crisis in a way that explains the thinking of those in power. More importantly, he explains how each action influenced subsequent actions, and describes the chain of consequences.

I've heard this book described as Henry Kissinger's master's thesis, that he just kept on writing.
...more
Zachary
Very worthwhile read. Was shocking how little I knew about these topics.

Very helpful historical context around raison de'etat, Realpolitik, balance of power, collective security, etc. Was challenging to read the historical conflicts and imagine libertarian foreign policy responses.

I was struck wondering what the response would be to a Romney-esque comment, "Nations are people, too."

Thought provoking to see the impact that individuals can have on the world. And, likewise, the power of the billi
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Sean Boyd
As part of our IB syllabus, we were asked to read Henry Kissinger's Diplomacy. Throughout the school year, Kissinger has been the main topic of many discussions. At the end, we can say, the man is quite interested.
The book itself is thick. But when you really take the time, some moments of humor present themselves. Henry Kissinger gives brilliant analysis that makes you decide whether to take his side of the issues, or to listen to someone else.
It was interesting reading Henry Kissinger while al
...more
Emily
This is one of the several texts we where required to read, annotate and write down additional notes and analysis for my IB 20th Century Studies class. And from the perspective of a High School Senior (granted one taking all University coursed for the past two years), it could not be more dry.

In addition to failing to hold my attention for even a page. Kissinger's ideas are often rather grandiose and lacking enough facts to fully suport them. Overall I believe that while I did learn a lot about
...more
Bob
While I admire Henry Kissinger and his extensive background in world diplomacy, this book requires a lot from the reader. Details, names, dates and always, Henry's thoughts.
I hate to start reading a book and then give up, but I almost did on this one. I'm pleased that I finally finished it, learned a lot and gained new insight into problems that The U.S. will face for decades to come. A good editor could have chopped off about 200 pages without losing the quality.
Maria
This was the text for a history class of mine in high school. It was a really good text. I really enjoyed reading a book that wasn't a textbook for a history class. I felt like the history texts insulted our intelligence while a book like this allowed for more varied and interesting discussion. Reading a text like this allowed more analysis of what happened and why instead of simply memorizing things.
Yvonne
At first, I thought this book is intended to give people a general overview of modern history. However, it often lacks key information for people that don't have a thorough background in history. It is nicely written.
The best aspect of this book are the annecdotes from his personal experience as a politician.
Mark
I simply do not have the knowledge to be able to manage the author's continuous stream of biases and errors, and if I did have that much knowledge what would be the point of reading the book?
Ignas
When I downloaded "DIPLOMACY" to my Kindle I was expecting to find a resource of history and types of the world diplomacy through the ages, but I found a book which title should be "Washington's diplomacy in XX century and some prehistory to it". Despite the above mentioned I definitely recommend this book! Mostly to people who would like to catch the American point of view on the rest of the world. It has opened a new page in understanding the Moscow's diplomacy for me. After reading this book ...more
Jack
Shaman! That was a long book. A fantastic one though. Make sure you have a good solid month to get through this one. Over 300 years old diplomacy in one solid book. 836 pages. Make sure you are very steeped in European history before you tackle this Achilles of history. I cannot begin to state the amount I have learned from this single book. Now for a long nap.
John
Oct 17, 2007 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: international relation geeks
This book was a great overview of diplomacy from the 17 Century up through the end of the end of the Soviet Union by a this former secretary of state and national security advisor. It focuses almost entirely on Europe, but moves into asia with US involvement there after world war II.

While the book is 800+ pages, it is mostly easy reading and always engaging Reading Kissinger's take on diplomatic events of the past is quite interesting. Plus, you would be surprised how applicable state relations
...more
Jfk
I wish I could rate this a 4.5. Will you get unbiased information? Hell no. Will you agree with everything in this book? I hope not. Still, very informative and it got me to think about history and diplomacy in a new light, so it was very interesting. I hope that anyone reading this has enough historical background to know when to call bullshit and when to research the topic, because it is somewhat revisionist in nature. Still, well worth my time and I am glad I read it.
Tian Chen
Written by one of the foremost American statesman, this book is well worth the effort. Not meant as popular history, his book traces the rise of the modern nation-state from the Treaty of Westphalia until the modern era, and the increasingly vital role of deplomacy.

As a grand-master of the Realist school to diplomacy, the author's respect for Bismarck is consistently felt.

A book to treasure, to re-read and pass down to next generation.
Guillaume
Excellente histoire de la diplomatie par un expert du sujet. Livre sans doute cynique pour certains, pragmatique et réaliste pour d'autres.

Plusieurs chapitres méritent le détour:
La comparaison de Napoléon III et de Bismarck est redoutable.
L'entre deux guerre laisse un goût amer d'immense gâchis dans la bouche.
Jeff
Essential reading for any student of post-Westphalian western diplomacy. Although I will admit that Kissinger is one wiley bastard, the chapters concerning the era he was Secretary of State humorously glamorize Nixon's intellect.
Cfontanesi
regardless of what you think of his policies, he does an expert job portraying a scholarly history of diplomacy, focusing on European conflicts. Clearly tinged by his understanding of how nations interact.
Mordy
Excellent book, plain and simple. My only criticism is that Kissinger's analysis of the Nixon administration is not critical enough. Obviously, he has a biased view of foreign policy at the time.
Kevin
Probably one of my favorite guilty pleasure reads ever. 'Realism' is truly disgusting and horrible, but man does it make life interesting.
Tim
Liked his contrast at the start between the foreign policy views taken by Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt. He does a good job showing the historically odd way that the US has connected the way we avg abroad with a sense of morality and obligation to rework the world in or image. Some of his predictions near the end of the book are especially interesting given that it was written twenty years ago and much of it had come to pass (China, Russia). I was a little frustrated at how stuck in the box of Real ...more
Lukáš Meravý
This was the book that opened my intellectual curiosity. Everybody has a book like that, a book that lets you glimpse behind the curtain, or as in Plato's allegory of the cave, makes you leave the cave. I've read this book when I was 16 and hundreds of books later, I cherish the memories of sitting at the platform of our local train station and reading. To some, it might be rather strange that a book about diplomacy does just that, but for me it did.

Henry Kissinger is the (still) living embodime
...more
Ernst
This book unfortunately has a misleading title, as it is much more about history than about diplomacy itself. But that is not necessarily a problem, as it still has a lot to offer.

Henry Kissinger, with his background in foreign affairs going back to almost the end of World War II and his academic origins has a lot to offer, both in detailed knowledge, engaging narrative and an interesting way of weaving historic trends together not necessarily in chronological order.

The only thing that I did no
...more
Samuel Cassidy
This is an enormous book that anyone with an interest in international politics should take the time to read. Kissinger does an excellent job of discussing the schools of diplomacy, strategy, and analyzing historical diplomatic maneuvers. However, it is clear that Kissinger takes some historical liberties. One gets the distinct impression that the figures he frequently references have been exaggerated in their characters and beliefs in order to allow him to play their ideas off against one anoth ...more
Jared D.
[This book took me several months to get through because of a deployment and being a generally slow - okay, very slow reader.]

Diplomacy is a book which covers a great deal of the eponymous subject. Kissinger is a thorough tutor that I came to appreciate as I read the book. Previous to reading the book, I had an inexplicable disdain for the man since I equated him to America's failed policy concerning Vietnam. However, I soon came to appreciate Kissinger and his vast knowledge of the subject of d
...more
Aaron Crofut
Let's get the most obvious thing out of the way: this is an 835 page read and at no point did I feel like giving up. The man can write about complicated subjects and yet remain interesting, which cannot be said of most academics.

As for the content, I was impressed. The Congress of Vienna, the rise of Bismarck and its overthrow of balance of power, the increasing deadlock that led to World War I, and the aftermath in Versailles that was doomed to fail are explained clearly and in depth. The Cold
...more
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Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger) is a German-born American bureaucrat, diplomat, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the Richard Nixon administration. Kissinger emerged unscathed from the Watergate scandal, and maintained his powerful position when Gerald Ford became President.

A proponent of
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