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The Trial of Henry Kissinger

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,047 ratings  ·  225 reviews
With the detention of Augusto Pinochet, and intense international pressure for the arrest of Slobodan Milosovic, the possibility of international law acting against tyrants around the world is emerging as a reality. In this incendiary book, Hitchens takes the floor as prosecuting counsel and mounts a devastating indictment of a man whose ambitions and ruthlessness have ...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published March 28th 2012 by Atlantic Books (first published 2001)
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Al Lock Interesting book. A lot of the material is speculative rather than clearly demonstrated by evidence, but there is still plenty to demonstrate that…moreInteresting book. A lot of the material is speculative rather than clearly demonstrated by evidence, but there is still plenty to demonstrate that Henry Kissinger should be on trial for crimes against humanity. (less)
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Greg
Jun 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: verso, politics
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
...more
Murtaza
A long essay that seeks to do precisely what the title suggests: build a legal case for crimes against humanity against Henry Kissinger. Those expecting the literary ornamentation that Hitchens is known for will be mostly disappointed. This is more like a hard-nosed legal brief. The book points to a lot of smoke in Kissinger's individual behavior, though in my view the only chapters that definitively uncover fire are the ones on Indochina and East Timor. This is a whirlwind tour of bad acts ...more
Stephen
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 ...more
Mr.
Oct 07, 2008 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, ...more
Harshit Sahay
Oct 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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 ...more
Ana
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.
David M
(I read this years ago, along with Seymour Hersh's book and Chomsky's copious writings on Kissinger. Every now and then it will randomly occur to me that the man is still alive, and not in prison, and it sort of ruins my day.

In hindsight it's all too clear, the point at which not-being-Trump starts to yield diminishing returns

https://www.thenation.com/article/hil...

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2...

Barbara Walters, Henry Kissinger, Charlie Rose, Oscar de la Renta, and the Clintons, oh my!
...more
Kevin
Dec 12, 2009 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
...more
Ed
Feb 06, 2012 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 ...more
Christopher Carbone
May 21, 2009 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
...more
Lachlan
Dec 22, 2011 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
...more
Ivana
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow...
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
...more
Joshua
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot provide a point by point criticism of the career of Henry Kissinger, for I lack the research and background to really stand as any kind of source for a call for action. Better writers and reporters had dedicated their time and energies to this effect and done a better job than I ever could. What I will allow myself is the title of a citizen of the United States, and this position affords me the right to criticize figures in politics when they have performed or become implicated in ...more
Jeremy
Jan 19, 2014 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
Edward
As I edge into Hitchens' deeper political writing I find myself a little out of my league when it comes to assessing the veracity of his claims. The Trial of Henry Kissinger unequivocally lambastes Kissinger's involvement, malfeasance, and outright criminality in American foreign policy decisions from Vietnam to Indonesia, Chile, Yugoslavia, and Cyprus - claims that if true, would certainly indict him on numerous counts as a war criminal. The writing is fervent and spirited in the usual Hitchens ...more
Tim
Jan 16, 2012 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
Michael Perkins
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
https://thebaffler.com/civilification...

“The main point arises from the fact that I’ve always acted alone,” Kissinger says. “Americans like that immensely. Americans like the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse, the cowboy who rides all alone into the town, the village, with his horse and nothing else.”
Mary Shanley
Jul 16, 2012 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.
Fuat
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One the first Christopher Hitchens book I've read was "The Missionary Position" where he argues strongly that Mother Theresa - a religious figure regarded by many as a symbol of love and charity - is nothing but a hypocrite and a fraud. Well, he gave a really strong argument indeed, in fact he kind of gets me. But I better not add further comment on that.

This time, I read Hitchens' takes on Henry Kissinger, a respectable United States diplomat, a former Secretary of State and National Security
...more
Timothy Urban
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant and important piece of work in terms of gathering and presenting evidence, but this book doesn't help you by supplying any sort of primer material. Before you read this book, I would suggest you need to read other books about the Vietnam War, Chile and Allende etc. as Hitchens charges off at breakneck speed assuming the reader understands the setting.

The important themes here are people in power not being held to account, and the damage that does, especially to a progressive society
...more
Sean Watson
Oddly, not very well written and for the most part, not very well argued. I thought Hitchens more convincingly detailed the workings of a “deep state”, and perhaps where a lot of its power originates. If this were my introduction to Hitchens, I wouldn’t think to look into anything else.
Srdjan
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well researched and based on a wealth of primary material. Kissinger's pathalogical lying made clear. Still, I'd have like to see some consideration of the case for his crimes. Maybe communism was bad enough to justify any means to stop it.
Eoin Reinhardt
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, liked reading about how crusty the lads were, but I'm really too dumb for this
James Mackay
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strong, generally well-researched and well-supported polemic on the misdoings of Kissinger in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus and East Timor. Allegations include (1) illegal private diplomacy in order to obtain office, (2) prolongation and extension of the Vietnam War into heavy bombing of neighbouring countries, (3) the failure to take action against - or (taking Hitchens' evidence at its highest) active material support for and diplomatic encouragement of - millitary ...more
J.F. Lawrence
Jul 23, 2014 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
...more
Patrick McCoy
I have been a Henry Kissinger critic ever since I read William Shawcross’ compelling book Sideshow, about the illegal bombings in Cambodia and Laos during the Nixon administration during the Vietnam War, while on vacation in Cambodia 12 years ago. So I was intrigued by what the late Christopher Hitchens might have to say about it to condemn the man (in hindsight I realize I might have read a Harper’s piece about it prior to the publishing of this book) in his book The Trial Of Henry Kissinger. ...more
Matt
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


This is excellent stuff.

Kissinger is the kind of public figure non-political junkies might know a bit about but haven't really got a full grasp on yet. He's vaguely, smellingly evil in other words.

This book brings it all out into the open.

Hitchens writes clearly and devastatingly, with understatement. He lets the facts do the talking. And they do a LOT of talking.

Basically, Hitch is a journalist and has hated Kissinger for years but he has a strong prosecutorial streak and he in effect puts
...more
Charlie Edwards
Oct 23, 2013 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
Simon
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Mike Porter
Mar 23, 2014 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 ...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
“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.” 20 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.” 9 likes
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