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Diplomacy (1994)

by Henry Kissinger

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,149166,354 (4.07)22
In this controversial and monumental book - arguably his most important - Henry Kissinger illuminates just what diplomacy is. Moving from a sweeping overview of his own interpretation of history to personal accounts of his negotiations with world leaders, Kissinger describes the ways in which the art of diplomacy and the balance of power have created the world we live in, and shows how Americans, protected by the size and isolation of their country, as well as by their own idealism and mistrust of the Old World, have sought to conduct a unique kind of foreign policy based on the way they wanted the world to be, as opposed to the way it really is. Spanning more than three centuries of history, from Cardinal Richelieu, the father of the modern state system, to the "New World Order" in which we live, Kissinger demonstrates how modern diplomacy emerged from the trials and experiences of the balance of power of warfare and peacemaking, and why America, sometimes to its peril, refused to learn its lessons. His intimate portraits of world leaders, including de Gaulle, Nixon, Chou En-lai, Mao Tse-tung, Reagan, and Gorbachev, based on personal experience and knowledge, provide the reader with a rare window on diplomacy at the summit, together with a wealth of detailed and original observations on the secret negotiations, great events, and the art of statesmanship that have shaped our lives in the decades before, during and since Henry Kissinger was himself at the center of things. Analyzing the differences in the national styles of diplomacy, Kissinger shows how various societies produce special ways of conducting foreign policy, and how Americans, from the very beginning, sought a distinctive foreign policy based on idealism. He illustrates his points with his own insights and with examples from his own experience, as well as with candid accounts of his breakthrough diplomatic initiatives as Nixon's foreign policy partner. Informed by deep historical knowledge, wit, a gift for irony, and a unique understanding of the forces that bind and sunder nations, Kissinger's Diplomacy is must reading for anyone who cares about America's position in the world.… (more)
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Good general overview of state to state relations. The author speaks with authority and is easy to read. ( )
  Pattern8 | Mar 4, 2016 |
This book unfortunately has a misleading title, as it is much more about history than about diplomacy itself. But that is not necessarily a problem, as it still has a lot to offer.

Henry Kissinger, with his background in foreign affairs going back to almost the end of World War II and his academic origins has a lot to offer, both in detailed knowledge, engaging narrative and an interesting way of weaving historic trends together not necessarily in chronological order.

The only thing that I did not find quite so excellent was a trend to impose his own position on his description of event that he participated in. This has led to a definitely POV narrative where a bit of academic distance would have better served, and a certain disregard of contemporary event not involving the author, in particular the Carter administration, which certainly has diplomatic content that he could have expanded on.

It might have been better to make this a true history book, keeping to past events. But it is certainly a worthwhile if quite voluminous read. ( )
2 vote ernst.schnell | Mar 26, 2015 |
Do not take seriously any economist, historian, diplomat speaking on the 20th century or the current state of the nations who has not read this book! Of course, many may not agree with some of Kissinger's conclusions, but I doubt there are many who could rival his insight and analysis of the conflicts and leaders who shaped the world we have now.

I also think this would be an excellent foundation for any negotiator. Seeing the detailed styles, techniques and mistakes of those we depended on in international negotiations would replace years of experience (mistakes), even for individual or minor negotiations. ( )
1 vote mdubois | Aug 15, 2013 |
With all of the controversy that still surrounds Kissinger's policies, that book makes me think he should have been a fine historian. Lucid and invigorating analysis of complex international relations issues. ( )
1 vote HadriantheBlind | Mar 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Kissingerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Evangelist, BernadetteCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karl, AnitaMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kemp, JamesMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the men and women of the Foreign Service of the United States of America, whose professionalism and dedication sustain American diplomacy
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Almost as if according to some natural law, in every century there seems to emerge a country with the power, the will, and the intellectual and moral impetus to shape the entire international system in accordance with its own values.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In this controversial and monumental book - arguably his most important - Henry Kissinger illuminates just what diplomacy is. Moving from a sweeping overview of his own interpretation of history to personal accounts of his negotiations with world leaders, Kissinger describes the ways in which the art of diplomacy and the balance of power have created the world we live in, and shows how Americans, protected by the size and isolation of their country, as well as by their own idealism and mistrust of the Old World, have sought to conduct a unique kind of foreign policy based on the way they wanted the world to be, as opposed to the way it really is. Spanning more than three centuries of history, from Cardinal Richelieu, the father of the modern state system, to the "New World Order" in which we live, Kissinger demonstrates how modern diplomacy emerged from the trials and experiences of the balance of power of warfare and peacemaking, and why America, sometimes to its peril, refused to learn its lessons. His intimate portraits of world leaders, including de Gaulle, Nixon, Chou En-lai, Mao Tse-tung, Reagan, and Gorbachev, based on personal experience and knowledge, provide the reader with a rare window on diplomacy at the summit, together with a wealth of detailed and original observations on the secret negotiations, great events, and the art of statesmanship that have shaped our lives in the decades before, during and since Henry Kissinger was himself at the center of things. Analyzing the differences in the national styles of diplomacy, Kissinger shows how various societies produce special ways of conducting foreign policy, and how Americans, from the very beginning, sought a distinctive foreign policy based on idealism. He illustrates his points with his own insights and with examples from his own experience, as well as with candid accounts of his breakthrough diplomatic initiatives as Nixon's foreign policy partner. Informed by deep historical knowledge, wit, a gift for irony, and a unique understanding of the forces that bind and sunder nations, Kissinger's Diplomacy is must reading for anyone who cares about America's position in the world.

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