This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

China by Henry A. Kissinger

China (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Henry A. Kissinger (Author), Helmut Dierlamm (Translator), Helmut Ettinger (Translator), Oliver Grasmück (Translator), Norbert Juraschitz (Translator)1 more, Michael Müller (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5101229,629 (4.01)15
Authors:Henry A. Kissinger (Author)
Other authors:Helmut Dierlamm (Translator), Helmut Ettinger (Translator), Oliver Grasmück (Translator), Norbert Juraschitz (Translator), Michael Müller (Translator)
Info:Pantheon (2012)
Collections:Your library
Tags:non fiction, China, South East Asia

Work details

On China by Henry Kissinger (2011)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I got this from Overdrive because have read other books by this author and really enjoyed them. A very detailed and informative history of the State of China. Very insightful and interesting. Learned a lot about China I did not know before and writing style was very clear and easy to read. Really enjoyed this book. Highly recommend this book. ( )
  CrystalToller | Mar 5, 2019 |
Some parts I really liked, some dragged. The old history was the best part. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Some parts I really liked, some dragged. The old history was the best part. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Good overview of international relations with China since 1800's. ( )
  KristinaGiovanni | Apr 4, 2014 |
Henry Kissinger's reputation remains controversial at best today, but many consider one of his most profound achievements in foreign policy to be the opening of China in the 1970s. Few, past or present, could dare to approach the depth of his expertise in this area.

The first few chapters of the book cover a broad outline of Chinese history up to the early 20th century, and ventures an explanation of the nature of their relations with other nations - primarily as tributary states, as all challengers were played off against each other, or were eventually absorbed. One metaphor that stood out was his usage of wei qi, better known in the west by its alternate form, go. The great game of politics is not like a decisive battle, as in chess, where all of the pieces are visisble and strengths can be calculated easily. Rather, it is a constantly shifting array of multiple factors, which can be negotiated only by a skilled professional.

The meat of the book concerns the latter part of the 20th century. The inner machinations and major players of the enigmatic government, from the charming Zhou Enlai to the paradox of Mao, to the reformer Deng Xiaopeng, and outlines of some of the modern day leaders too. The ups and downs of China's relationship with the world, particularly with the US, are explored with good detail and piercing analysis.

One of the main criticisms that can be made about the book - and the author - is his adherence to Realpolitik, at the very real detraction of moral issues. His almost neutral reaction to the events of Tienanmen Square is a bit shocking, but still interesting nonetheless. His criticisms of Mao are far too understated to be considered a form of mere diplomacy.

The end of the book offers a pragmatic but optimistic view of the future of Sino-American relations. These two nations have the power to shape the world for the better, if they both want it.

All things considered, this is an extremely valuable look at the situation, and of paramount interest to anybody interested in international politics. Recommended. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Kissinger chooses to ascribe huge insight to virtually everything Mao says.
added by mercure | editFinancial Times, Chris Patten (May 27, 2011)
Henry Kissinger will always remain a controversial historical figure. But this elegantly written and erudite book reminds us that on one of the biggest questions of the post-World War II world his judgment was right, and showed a long-term vision that few politicians of any country could match today. Unless, of course, Hillary Clinton is even now on a secret mission to Tehran.
added by mercure | editTaipei Times, Rana Mitter (May 22, 2011)
Henry Kissinger in China was always a gratingly and irritatingly smug presence, but Henry Kissinger "on China" is madly baffling.
added by mercure | editThe Guardian, Jasper Becker (May 21, 2011)
An epic and, in some places, surprisingly moving book (...) on China
added by mercure | editFinancial Times, Simon Schama (May 20, 2011)
Mr. Kissinger’s fascinating, shrewd and sometimes perverse new book, “On China,” not only addresses the central role he played in Nixon’s opening to China but also tries to show how the history of China, both ancient and more recent, has shaped its foreign policy and attitudes toward the West.


Lurking beneath Mr. Kissinger’s musings on Chinese history is a not-so-subtle subtext. This volume, much like his 1994 book, “Diplomacy,” is also a sly attempt by a controversial figure to burnish his legacy as Nixon’s national security adviser and secretary of state. It is a book that promotes Mr. Kissinger’s own brand of realpolitik thinking, and that in doing so often soft-pedals the human costs of Mao’s ruthless decades-long reign and questions the consequences of more recent American efforts to press human-rights issues with the Chinese.
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Annette and Oscar de la Renta
First words
Societies and nations tend to think of themselves as eternal.
Societies operate by standards of average performance. They sustain themselves by practicing the familiar. But they progress through leaders with a vision of the necessary and the courage to undertake a course whose benefits at first reside largely in their vision.
The basic direction of a society is shaped by its values, which define its ultimate goals.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Henry Kissinger disseca estratégias diplomáticas da China Favoritar
12/11/2011 - 08:50 | O Globo
Sobre a China, de Henry Kissinger. Tradução de Cassio de Arantes Leite. Editora Objetiva, 576 pgs. R$ 54,90
Por Williams Gonçalves
Com despretensioso título que revela a peculiar falsa modéstia do autor, “Sobre a China”, o último livro de Henry Kissinger, poderá ser agora lido em português. Os leitores brasileiros interessados em conhecer mais o país que avança aceleradamente para se tornar a principal potência mundial e os que se interessam também pelas negociações diplomáticas que aproximaram esse país dos Estados Unidos terão a imperdível oportunidade de satisfazer sua curiosidade nesse surpreendente livro de difícil classificação. Misto de História, de memórias, de reflexão estratégica e de análise política, “Sobre a China” traz revelações muito importantes para a compreensão da política mundial contemporânea.

Obras inspiraram aproximação de EUA e China

Dois livros foram fundamentais na carreira acadêmica e política do talentoso professor de Harvard: “Um mundo restaurado: Metternich, Castlereagh e os problemas da paz — 1812-1822” e “Armas nucleares e política externa”, ambos publicados em 1957. No primeiro, Kissinger defende que, em um sistema internacional multipolar, a paz somente pode ser alcançada mediante o equilíbrio de poder; no segundo, ele sustenta que a doutrina estratégica de defesa havia de se adaptar à existência dos arsenais nucleares. 

Teria sido a leitura desses livros que levou o presidente dos Estados Unidos Richard $a convidá-lo a ocupar a função de Conselheiro para Segurança Nacional. Conselheiro até 1972, Kissinger converteu-se em Secretário de Estado em 1973, ocupando esse posto até 1976, nele permanecendo mesmo após a renúncia do presidente em 1974, sob ameaça de impeachment.

Esses dois livros contêm as ideias básicas que inspiraram a audaciosa reviravolta estratégica promovida por Nixon de iniciar um diálogo diplomático com a China em 1969, depois de 20 anos de silêncio profundo. Kissinger, humildemente, atribui ao presidente a excep$sagacidade de perceber que a aproximação à China constituía a chave que abriria a porta para a saída dos Estados Unidos do atoleiro em que estavam metidos no Vietnã. Seu mérito teria sido apenas o de negociar com os chineses, mantendo-se sempre fiel à concepção estratégica de Nixon. 

O êxito da grande manobra teria sido fruto da coincidência do plano de Nixon com as ideias alimentadas pelos estrategistas chineses de sair do isolamento em que a Revolução Cultural havia colocado a China e, ao mesmo tempo, de enfrentar a ameaça de um $ataque soviético. Tanto norte-americanos como chineses, orientados pela lógica da realpolitik, segundo a qual as razões de Estado situam-se acima das diferenças ideológicas, davam-se conta de que, para a realização de seus respectivos objetivos nacionais, convinha deixar de lado as divergências e se concentrar nos pontos comuns e fundamentais de entendimento. 

A capacidade de saber discernir com clareza a contradição principal e o aspecto principal da contradição é, para Kissinger, atributo reservado a poucos. Pertence, por assim $, a inteligências especiais, situadas em patamar elevado. As da planície permanecem enredadas em debates sem fim sobre coisas como a súbita transformação do inimigo comunista em aliado ou com incidentes como o da Praça da Paz Celestial. Homens excepcionais como Metternich, Castlereagh, Nixon, Kissinger, Mao Tsé-Tung e Zhou Enlai têm o talento para promover uma mudança radical na geopolítica mundial e inaugurar uma nova ordem internacional. 

Mao Tsé-Tung torcia pela eleição do direitista Nixon

A excepcionalidade de Mao Tsé-Tung, Zhou Enlai e Deng Xiaoping se explica pela magnificência da História e da cultura chinesas. Por isso, quase metade de “Sobre a China” é dedicada a apresentar essa História e os aspectos singulares da cultura do antigo Império do Meio. Os líderes chineses são herdeiros de um Estado-civilização que produziu um pensador da estatura de Confúcio e que elaborou uma forma própria de lidar com os homens e com as coisas do mundo. Como Kissinger sublinha no prólogo, em qual outro país o governante pode reunir seus generais antes de iniciar a campanha militar e “invocar princípios estratégicos de um episódio ocorrido mais de um milênio antes”, como Mao o fez antes de as tropas chinesas se lançarem contra os indianos em outubro de 1962? Naturalmente, só um país de cultura rica e requintada, que criou seu próprio jogo de intelecto — o wei qi (jogo de peças circulares). Equivalente ao conhecido jogo de xadrez, que objetiva a vitória final mediante o xeque-mate, o wei qi é, diferentemente, um jogo de campanha prolongada que ensina a arte do cerco estratégico, ou seja, a artimanha de tirar o inimigo do combate sem confrontá-lo, apenas levando-o à posição de isolamento.

O encontro de Nixon com Mao em 1972 foi, portanto, a reunião dos representantes de dois países excepcionais que, tal como aquele de Metternich e Castlereagh em Viena, em 1815, determinou mudanças de amplo alcance na estrutura do poder mundial. A China, que havia sido dominada e submetida a toda espécie de humilhações pelos ingleses e pelos demais ocidentais por todo um século, até recuperar a autonomia e a dignidade sob a liderança de Mao e do Partido Comunista, voltava a ocupar o lugar a que estava habituada desde havia muito, aquele de Estado central nas relações internacionais. Segundo Kissinger, destacado ator e cronista do processo político-diplomático que culminou nesse encontro histórico, o diálogo permanente que os novos líderes políticos de Estados Unidos e China têm sabido manter constitui a chave para a paz mundial. 

Enfim, o autor, que é capaz de reproduzir diálogos espirituosos — como aqueles com Mao, em que Kissinger se surpreende quando seu interlocutor revela que torcera pela eleição de Nixon, por nutrir simpatias pelos direitistas, ou quando se lembra de sua amizade com Chiang Kai-shek —, já não se mostra muito criativo quando o tema é o futuro. Talvez um tanto inebriado pelo que julga sua grande obra, não leva muito em consideração a grave crise por que passam os Estados Unidos, e continua apostando que o país e a China exercerão a liderança no mundo, à frente de uma Comunidade do Pacífico.

*WILLIAMS GONÇALVES é professor do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Relações Internacionais da Uerj
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book-length to a country he has known intimately for decades, and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. Drawing on historical records as well as his conversations with Chinese leaders over the past forty years, Kissinger examines how China has approached diplomacy, strategy, and negotiation throughout its history, and reflects on the consequences for the global balance of power in the 21st century. Since no other country can claim a more powerful link to its ancient past and classical principles, any attempt to understand China's future world role must begin with an appreciation of its long history. For centuries, China rarely encountered other societies of comparable size and sophistication; it was the "Middle Kingdom," treating the peoples on its periphery as vassal states. At the same time, Chinese statesmen-facing threats of invasion from without, and the contests of competing factions within-developed a canon of strategic thought that prized the virtues of subtlety, patience, and indirection over feats of martial prowess. In 'On China', Kissinger examines key episodes in Chinese foreign policy from the classical era to the present day, with a particular emphasis on the decades since the rise of Mao Zedong. He illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such pivotal events as the initial encounters between China and modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, Richard Nixon's historic trip to Beijing, and three crises in the Taiwan Straits. Drawing on his extensive personal experience with four generation of Chinese leaders, he brings to life towering figures such as Mao, Zhou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping, revealing how their different visions have shaped China's modern destiny. With his singular vantage on U.S.-China relations, Kissinger traces the evolution of this fraught but crucial relationship over the past 60 years, following its dramatic course from estrangement to strategic partnership to economic interdependence, and toward an uncertain future. With a final chapter on the emerging superpower's 21st-century world role,'On China' provides an intimate historical perspective on Chinese foreign affairs from one of the premier statesmen of the 20th century"--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.01)
1 1
3 13
3.5 2
4 38
4.5 7
5 14

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 133,358,319 books! | Top bar: Always visible