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The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,476 ratings  ·  191 reviews
A riveting history—the first full account—of the involvement of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1971 atrocities in Bangladesh that led to war between India and Pakistan, shaped the fate of Asia, and left in their wake a host of major strategic consequences for the world today.

Giving an astonishing inside view of how the White House really works in a crisis, The Bl
Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Knopf
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4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,476 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book brings back vivid memories for me as I lived through the 1970-71 East Pakistan crisis as a young man in India. The author shows us a picture of the events leading to the creation of an independent Bangladesh from the vantage points of the US consulate in Dacca and the White House. To a lesser extent, there is also the view from New Delhi, both from the Indian govt and the US embassy. To say the least, I was shocked to read about the visceral hatred that Kissinger, Nixon and Zhou-en-Lai ...more
Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pak[istan] dominated government and to lessen any deservedly negative international public relations impact against them. Our government has evidenced what many will consider moral bankruptcy [...] But we have chosen not to intervene, even ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have always loved non fiction over fiction. And then I discovered the world of political histories. My grandfather migrated from Bangladesh to India in 1947, right before Independence. So technically he wasn't termed as an Bangladeshi immigrant, the tag given to Bengali Hindus who were displaced during the creation of Bangladesh. However, the angst and sense of displacement remained forever with my father. I could never understand why and how he could feel so connected to the land of Banglades ...more
Steven Z.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When one considers the foreign policy pursued by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger decisions related to Southeast Asia and relations with the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union come to mind. In discussing Southeast Asia, the strategy pursued to end the war in Vietnam is front and center resulting in revisiting the “supposed” plan to end the war known as “Vietnamization” that emerged during the 1968 presidential campaign. This promise to end the war was nothing more than the withdraw ...more
Mal Warwick
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
When Americans today think of Richard Nixon, four or five episodes in his public life usually come to mind: Watergate, the Cambodia invasion, the opening to China, his TV debates with John F. Kennedy, and, perhaps, his kitchen confrontation with Nikita Khrushchev when still Dwight Eisenhower’s vice president. Nixon’s frantic efforts to sanitize his record — including ten books he wrote after resigning from the presidency — and the cult of secrecy that envelops the US government have obscured ano ...more
Abhinav Agarwal
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
A bikini of a book. Lays bare an ugly passage in American diplomacy, but conceals the true horrors of a genocide.

The forced exodus of ten million Bangladeshis in 1971 - ninety percent of whom were Hindu, the genocide of an estimated three million Bangladeshis, and the rape of close to half a million women - were all small prices that Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon willingly paid in exchange of opening bilateral ties with China, and in the process getting their names enshrined as statesmen. He
Vishal Kale
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Why is anyone from the West totally unable to write a clean book on Indian matters, one that does not raise hackles, and is balanced? This book, like others I have read, also manages to raise my hackles due to its treatment of Indian Affairs. While it is easily one of the most unbiased works on India to come out of the West, it still leaves a lot to be desired for. The author has made a genuine effort to be unbiased and truthful in his approach; and is reasonably comprehensive in coverage of the ...more
Aaron Million
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
By no means am I any kind of an expert on Richard Nixon or Henry Kissinger. However, after having read many books both by and about both men, I must say that the more I do read about them, their actions, and their vulgar words, the less highly I think of each of them. That feeling is reinforced after reading Gary Bass' outstanding work depicting the India-Pakistan war of 1971. While I am aware of this war just based on previous readings, in particular Kissinger's White House Years, my knowledge ...more
Quite comprehensive work. An excellent story of how USA deteriorated a still containable and harmless situation into a mess, continued to deny engagement and accept guilt or even take prudential steps to control the damage, lived in their fools paradise shamelessly riding upon the power of their dollars and guns, flouted laws and in the end nonchalantly walk past the graves of millions of dead civillians.

The book's American cover has this tag line: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it liked it
The book is divided into two parts-

Part one- Here the reason for the title is given, describing the man who stood up against the giants of the white house, who were being a blind eye to the genocide in East Pakistan.

Part two-Here one gets the reasons for the following things-
1. India`s admiration and closeness with the Soviet Union till date.
2. Indian`s deep mistrust of USA.
3. Pakistan`s malignant agendas against India.
4. Why the chances of any betterment of relations between India and Pakistan
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a horrifying story. There was a lot here for me to absorb, because I didn't really know this story at all. I was most fascinated by the behind-the-scenes look at Kissinger's conversations with Nixon about Bangladesh--Kissinger, that shonda for the goyim, comes across as even nuttier and more repulsive than Nixon, not at all the wily and brilliant statesman. The contempt for genocide is breathtaking: I guess if you take the thirty thousand foot view you can ignore all those inconvenient peop ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Blood Telegram may possibly be one of the most important and well written books I’ve read on modern Indian history so far, and I'm surprised to see that only under a thousand people have read it on GR.

As someone who is almost always incurious, indifferent and unenthusiastic about politics (national and world) in general, reading this book has been a revelation on international diplomacy as well as a completely new perspective on the maneuverings that take place in the highest offices of the
Peter Mcloughlin
A little remembered crisis in South Asia involving a genocide comparable to Rwanda and the added possibility of Nuclear Conflagration is the subject of this book. In 1971 unrest in East Pakistan lead to a crack down by the Pakistani military dictatorship after a failed election. The crack down caused a resistance movement to grow leading to a civil war. The war lead to a refugee crisis which dragged India already hostile to Pakistan into a conflict with Pakistan. All the Superpowers of the U.S. ...more
“Once again we demonstrated to the world that the Bengalis are a fighting martial race”

The Blood Telegram, was a document I had heard about, but never could I have imagined a book as informative as this could be written in such a fast fluid way on the tragedy of the Bangladeshi genocide by the Pakistani Govt. Wonderfully researched and written, this book digs in deep into the fallacy of the Nixon-Kissinger duo. Their apparent denial of the massacre, their love for Yahya Khan, their secret three
Colleen Browne
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This book tells the full story of the genocide in Bangladesh and the complicity that Nixon and Kissinger had in it. Based on tapes and information only recently released to the public, this book shows the criminality of the Nixon Administration. According to Bass, it is entirely possible that the genocide could have been prevented only for the two criminal clowns making the decisions in the White House. In fact, when weapons from the U.S. were delivered to the Pakistanis, Nixon made it clear to ...more
Ashish Narain
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Must read
Mansoor Azam
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-bought
The first of it's kind. Full marks to the title, it literally caught my eye. Even before I knew the ABC of it I was sort of lured by the book. And honestly it didn't disappoint my appetite for knowledge about 1971 Indo Pak war and the crisis in then East Pakistan.
But for some one with scant knowledge or no base in the history of this affair this book is not recommended as a first read on the subject. Rather than leaving you with balanced view on this, I fear, it ll make u prejudiced.
The book c
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pakistan
This isn’t really a tale of genocide or of the civil war that created Bangladesh from what had been East Pakistan but of how deliberate actions and inaction on the part of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger facilitated the mass slaughter of Bengalis and the forced relocation of millions while the United States destroyed any chance of long term influence in South Asia. The narrative centers on Archer Blood, the last U.S. consul general in Dhaka when it was still the capital of East Pakistan, and t ...more
victor harris
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story behind the independence movement in Bangla Desh which created a chain reaction of diplomatic maneuvers as Pakistan tried to suppress those aspirations. Heavy-handed dealings by the Pakistan government and military when they refused to recognize legitimately elected leaders in East Pakistan served as the catalyst for the aggressive separation advocates. Central to the narrative, hence the Blood Telegram, is the refusal of Kissinger and Nixon to heed the advice of their diplomats in Sout ...more
Julie  Capell
Pick up this book if you are at all interested in the continuing adventures of those hysterical, mad-cap world leaders otherwise known as Tricky Dick and the Kissinger of Death. I don’t know why I can still be surprised by anything I hear about these two, but this book uncovers something I was completely unaware of: their use of the Pakistani dictator Yahya to set up the first meeting between Kissinger and Zhou Enlai. That meeting eventually led to Nixon’s visit to China. The fact that they were ...more
Sainath Sunil
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is a testimony to the efforts of Archer Blood, the consul general of Dacca and his team who were instrumental in keeping up the reporting of the slaughter being committed by the Pakistan Army in east Pakistan. Though this resulted in Archer losing out on a promising career and being sidelined by Kissinger.
This book offers a clear glimpse into the thought processes of Nixon and Kissinger, the combine that helped keep Yahya Khan in power at terrible human costs. Their blatant approach t
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Informative, passionate call for a foreign policy more deeply rooted in human rights/takedown of Nixon/Kissinger's support for (then) West Pakistan's brutal repression of (then) East Pakistan/(now) Bangladesh.

At the same time, its (close to heedless) passion walks directly into the "it's a tough world in which we must make unpleasant decisions, Mr. Professor" critique that has been predictably launched by Kissinger loyalists. Bass's argument would benefit from (more frequently, he does it on oc
This work is not a comprehensive history of the liberation of Bangladesh. The war and the military aspects of the campaign are covered in the barest minimum, Bass, rather focuses all his energy to expose the extent to which Kissinger and Nixon went to ensure that India was kept at bay and wouldn’t cross the line and dismember Pakistan. The tone of the writing made it clear that the effort was also to showcase Nixon and Kissinger’s hand in a bloody history that is hardly known to people outside t ...more
Tahir Hussain
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
era of darkness in the history of pakistan and such a shame brought by then government.the book encompasses most of the view from US policies by the one eyed nixon and kissinger,who kept supporting the conflict.recent accounts of declassified tapes oozes everything from a minor chummy bussiness to the events of cruelty.a very well researched subject.its dedication should be the defiant Archer Blood (RIP).
Geoffrey Kabaservice
An impressive though depressing book, which draws on previously unrevealed documents as well as interviews with many of the participants. The portrait of Nixon and Kissinger is damning, and the history of US diplomacy that Bass assembles is thorough if not inspiring.
First of all, Mr. Bass deserves a big bow simply for the effort he put in this book. Get this, almost 45% of the length of the ebook I read are just references!! Bass waded through innumerable books and journals to get his facts right and place them in context in addition to transcribing thousands of hours of White House official tapes and extracting relevant stuff out of it then. This book is no minor feat.

Now, about the book. Meticulously written by, it narrates the events during the 1971 cris
Mushda Ali
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was interesting to read through. Foremost, it did bring into play a fresh perspective on the 1971 War. Being used to the history books changing names every 5 years and so, this book brought forth a thorough and meaningful setting for the war and the roles played by contradicting, selfish and selfless sides.
The immense powerplay that went on behind the scenes of the battlefield is something that I was very less informed about. The Blood Telegram ensured enriching the knowledge cornucopia on
Most of my limited reading on Bangladesh's history has been through the lens of Pakistani history. This book approaches it from the US perspective, placing the war in the context of the U.S. Cold War alliance with Pakistan, tensions over India-Soviet rapprochement, and the Nixon administration's efforts to open diplomatic ties to China - factors which ultimately led the White House to actively resist calls (some internal to the government, as in the titular character's dissent from the Dacca con ...more
Its not everyday that I come across a book that denounces a US president (Richard Nixon)and his Nobel peace prize winning Nation security adviser (Henry Kissinger) in favor of a third world country. Book gives riveting details about often ignored role played by American foreign policy in the event known as birth of Bangladesh.

Here in Indian sub continent its taken for granted that it was result of war mongering of than Indian prime Minister Ms India Gandhi. Little is known about the huge role US
David Quinn
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

This book does a tremendous job of explaining the Cold War strategies and alliances of the U.S. in 1971. Why the U.S. was cozy with dictators who trampled on the rights of their people and why the U.S. had such a cool relationship with the largest democracy in the world (India). As the Cold War has slipped into distant memory this book informs us that the events it describes in 1971 are still felt today.

Tricky Dick Nixon and Henry Kissinger come into clear focus through
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Gary Bass, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, is the author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide (Knopf); Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention (Knopf); and Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton).

The Blood Telegram was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in general nonfiction and w
“While Pakistan plunged into civil war, Kissinger looked for massacres committed by Bengalis, to generate a moral equivalence that would exonerate Yahya. It would be convenient for Nixon and Kissinger to be able to say that both sides were equally rotten.” 6 likes
“I shall be perfectly frank with you,” which is how politicians in both Delhi and Washington preface a real whopper of a lie:” 5 likes
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