By the time Henry Kissinger was made secretary of state in 1973, he had become, according to the Gallup Poll, the most admired person in America and one of the most unlikely celebrities ever to capture the world's imagination. Yet Kissinger was also reviled by large segments of the American public, ranging from liberal intellectuals to conservative activists. Kissinger ex...more
It is very well researched, and it is thorough. Too thorough for me, or let’s put it this way, I didn’t know enough before picking it up. This made it difficult to follow. Yes, I am glad I read it, but it was a chore. Keep in mind that I enjoy books of non-fiction. I have given Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life and Universe and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, all by Walter Isaacs ...more
At the outset, Is ...more
This book still represents a remarkable work attempting to take on one of the most enigmatic characters of recent years. This exhaustive and plainly well documented book leaves me a bit awed by Isacson's research capabilities. It is at times a bit redundant and perhaps 'preachy' in advocating various points ...more
I think the reason lies in the palpable climate of fear of the Cold War-gripped 1970s. The USSR was, for all people knew, very close to conquering the world, resulting in either nuclear apocalypse or totalitarian slavery. Into that milieu stepp ...more
A quick goo ...more
Kissinger himself was a marvel. I can't believe how much duplicity he got away with. The Mayaguez incident was ...more
Isaacson does a tremendous job assembling all of the different, often conflicting, versions of events in Kissinger's career (all pivotal events in American foreign affairs) into a coherent narrative. The reader gets a real sense of how duplicitous and deceiving Kissinger could be, and yet how instrumental these qualities were in his success. Nixon and Kissinger, strangely twin-like in their paranoia an ...more
The book sort of drags on quite a bit and tends to rehash the same conclusions about HK more times than necessary (he was charming, secretive to a fault, had a mix of tactical and visionary genius, disorganized, brilliant, etc.) but I found that Isaac ...more
How ironic that a man who escaped from totalitarian rule could act in the very same way when it came to his turn in power. Proving once again those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
His penchant for secrecy, covert action and celebrity has been un-paralleled in US history. In the end ...more
Fact, Kissinger Associates is a large, global consulting company with many governments as clients and many well connected politicians as consultants. He is a player ...more
"Noventa por cento dos políticos dão aos 10% restantes uma péssima reputação".
"A falta de alternativas clarifica maravilhosamente a mente".
"Ninguém jamais vencerá a guerra dos sexos: há muita confraternização entre os inimigos".
"Até os paranoicos têm inimigos reais".
"Se você não sabe para onde vai, todos os caminhos o levarão a lugar nenhum".
"O poder é o afrodisíaco mais forte".
"O sucesso resulta de cem pequenas coisas feitas de forma um pouco melhor. O insucesso, ...more
This is an honest, often sharply critical, but fair account of Henry Kissinger's life from his youth in Nazi Germany through his career in academia at Harvard, in politics in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and post politics life as consultant and pundit and social scene staple.
The reader is awed by Henry Kissinger's (HK) brilliance, versatility, sharp wit, and charm, and let down by his deviousness, se ...more
The sheer breadth and depth of that treatment encouraged me first to plough into the superb "Einstein" before delving into "Kissinger".
The real reason I read this though was in order to take a shot at Christopher Hitchens' work which I will do in due course.
Challenging but rewarding read
This book is a well thought out look at his life, accomplishments and short comings and I honestly think it gives an accurate look at his life and actions, it points out the good and also the bad, if you enjoy US history I would highly recommend this book as an honest, well ...more
This was a well written (and well read) biography of a complicated man who clearly had fantastic abilities in his chosen field of diplomacy. Yet the telling of the tale does not leave Kissenger as an untarnished hero - his personal character flaws are also clearly detailed and by no means is this a hagiography.
I think Issacson has hit the balance just about right with this book.
I lived through the period when Kissinger was a public figure, so reading the inside story of Kissinger's role was fascinating to me. The lifestyle of people like Kissinger is completely foreign to me. The world I live in i ...more