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Kissinger: 1973, the Crucial Year

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  10 reviews

Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year is the gripping history of one of America's most enigmatic and influential foreign policy advisers during a pivotal year in the country's postwar history.

By any measure, 1973 was not an ordinary year. It should have been Kissinger's year of triumph -- a time to bask in his hard-won achievements and build on his successes. Kissinger's str

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2008)
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The author is a famed British historian who has written extensively on French and to a lesser extent, British history. Although I haven't read all of his previous books, the ones I have, including his trilogy on the battles for France in the Franco-Prussian War, World War I and World War II, I found very good. When this book was published I noted the change in topic for this author as well as the minimal fanfare it received. After reading Kissinger, 1973, The Crucial Year, I now understand the m ...more
This volume provides a good view on Kissinger's diplomatic accomplishments through the prism of the momentous year 1973. What struck me most is the almost ad hoc, improvisatory character of the discipline of diplomacy. It's not the dominion of 'big picture' thinkers but seems to have a more dramatic impulse, thriving on the alchemy of personal relationships, instinct and fate. Horne clearly admires his subject. Only occasionally he addresses some of the very serious criticisms that have been lev ...more
David Miller
I don't really think you can write a history of a single year and have it come out very well. Fortunately, this isn't really just about 1973, no matter the author's protestations to the contrary. What it really is is an account of the rise of Henry Kissinger to national prominence, with 1973 being merely the moment of his greatest diplomatic successes.

I enjoyed the style of the book, without becoming particularly attached to it. Horne holds Kissinger up for examination of errors in judgment, bu
Well it's no surprise that Watergate constantly overshadows this book given the title. Horne beats it slightly to death understandably as it's the main reason for Nixon and Kissinger's foreign policy woes at such a crucial time given the Yom Kippur war, detente with Russia and the opening to China. Regardless however, it appears that as much as Kissinger would like to blame Watergate for crippling White House credibility at the same Watergate held all the responsibility for the Kissinger we know ...more
The American Conservative
'This portrait is pretty much the one that Kissinger has already drawn of himself, and it is quite a bit less critical than the acclaimed biography by Walter Isaacson. It is, in short, an admiring account of the man in his prime. But perhaps, in our post-neocon era, it is worth reminding ourselves what a realist foreign policy as practiced by a master looks like.'

Read the full review, "Super K and the Perils of Power," on our website:
Margaret Sankey
While Niall Ferguson (what a choice!) labors on the big Kissinger biography, Alistair Horne turns his attention away from modern France and onto one pivotal year--1973. China and Vietnam and detente with the Russians and the Yom Kippur War and Egypt and Chile and, of course, Watergate.
The book is interesting and well-written. Focussing on one year gives it an interesting twist. I thoroughly disliked the author's voice however - too little distance to the subject and he makes his own political views and analyses at times more prominent than Kissinger's deeds.
Rather slow start but ultimately a very good book. Interesting to be reminded of the times and to learn of the background and surrounding events that led up to each big event.
J Moragoda
One of the two best biographies I have ever read.
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Alistair Horne is a preeminent historian, journalist and Oxford fellow who has written seventeen books, many of them on the military history of France.He has won the following awards: Hawthornden Prize, 1963, for The Price of Glory; Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Prize and Wolfson Literary Award, both 1978, both for A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962; French Légion d'Honneur, 1993, for work ...more
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