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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The complexities of international relations made simple
Dr. Kissinger has written a marvelous book that takes a reader on an enlightening path through history. Beginning with the Peace of Westphalia (the advent of international relations), the author uses his keen sense of perception to analyze the actions of world leaders and explain how those actions shaped the further development of the international system. He...
Published on January 25, 2000 by Matthew D. Carr

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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The power of words.
Henry Kissinger is a highly regarded figure in American history within American circles. In the international realm, he is considered a scheming, amoral con who turned the idealism of JFK New Frontier into Nixon's realpolitik of bombing Cambodia and Vietnam. Lost among all this is the reality that Kissinger had to work in; a world of unequal powers, each with their own...
Published on May 24, 2006 by Newton Ooi


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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The complexities of international relations made simple, January 25, 2000
By 
This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
Dr. Kissinger has written a marvelous book that takes a reader on an enlightening path through history. Beginning with the Peace of Westphalia (the advent of international relations), the author uses his keen sense of perception to analyze the actions of world leaders and explain how those actions shaped the further development of the international system. He masterfully shows how the experiences of previous generations influenced the diplomacy of the current generation.
The most interesting part of the book is when Dr. Kissinger details the international system since the United States entered into global politics. He argues that the unique American political development correlated into a diplomatic style unlike the world had ever seen. American diplomacy was based upon democratic ideals that rejected states acting for individual gain. Instead Americans believed that the expansion of democratic ideals to all people would result in a natural state of harmony among nations. With this basis, Kissinger outlines 20th century history showing how American idealism helped and hindered in different situations.
Dr. Kissinger draws extensively on his personal experience in the field, providing a more complete picture for the reader. The author's style is easy to read and captivating without excessive detail and theory. A must read for any serious student of international politics and history, and an enlightening read for others with an interest in global relations.
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126 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speaking as someone who loathes Kissinger..., December 29, 2002
By 
This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
As much as I despise the policies and actions of Henry Kissinger, I must confess that I found this book to be a very well thought out look at the major historical events of the past century. Kissinger's central premise seems to be that the United States has swung back and forth between Wilsonian Idealism and a more pragmatic/Realpolitik perspective in which a nation is primarily responsible for looking out for its own best interests. While I deplore the lack of conscience or justice that Kissinger stands for, I found the book very helpful in understanding his position and in looking at world events through that particular lense. Certainly, he makes many valid and interesting points in addressing the relative pro's and con's of each approach. Also, the book is very readable - ideas are expressed clearly and it kept my interest throughout.
If you're interested in understanding the Realpolitik logic that has led to so many atrocities around the world, and how one might intellectually justify these actions, this book is an invaluable resource. Ultimately, whether you agree with Kissinger or not, I think it's important to understand him. The man is not simply "evil" or "insane" and the ideas that he represents are central to current U.S. policies around the world.
Important stuff, well articulated.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A keeper !!!, January 12, 2004
This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
"Diplomacy" is a very interesting book, that should be read by all those who are interested in either International Relations, History, or even merely in good books.
It covers the period that goes from the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, to the early 1990's. Somehow, this books manages to give us a very good idea of what happened in that time span, without boring us to death at the same time, and that is not a small merit.
"Diplomacy" was written from the point of view of Henry Kissinger, a controversial man who was secretary of State of USA. Whatever might be said about him, something cannot be dennied: he knows his craft. And in "Diplomacy" he makes that evident, exactly as he had done previously in other books, for example in "The World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh, and the Problems of Peace".
His prose is quite elegant, but at the same time easy to read. Kissinger mixtures historical facts with his personal opinions, dissecting what happened and trying to draw conclusions that allow the reader to discern long term trends in history, thus enabling him/her to really understand what happened.
I bought this book a long time ago, but I still consider it a keeper. It isn't exhaustive, but it doesn't pretend to be so... On the whole, a book worth buying and having. Recommended :)
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Diplomacy behind the History, October 16, 2002
By 
Matthew Gauntt "kumatt" (Geneva, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
Dr. Kissinger takes us on a wonderful ride through modern (last 300 years) history and tells of the workings of diplomats and heads of states behind the scenes. Yes, we know that a war happened, but what were the diplomats saying to each other before the first shots were fired? Why did this country form an alliance with that country? Did they agree with each other (United States and England) or did they need each other to put down an enemy that was worse (England and Russia vs. Germany in WWII)?
This book goes beyond the typical history book and explains the strategy of diplomats when confronted with another power. It also explores the differences between a collective security (United Nations) and Balance of Power arrangements.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thought provoking and insightful. I highly recommend it.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Primer, July 30, 2005
This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
In order to fully appreciate this book, I think you should temporarily suspend your feelings about Kissinger as a Secretary of State and consider him as Kissinger the historian. Once you've finished, you can them bring in all of what you know of his controversial career. I found this book extremely helpful and insightful. Kissinger goes through much of the history of "Western" (i.e. European) diplomacy, from the Peace of Westphalia to the fall of the Soviet Union (it was originally published in 1994, and hence is out of date, though two areas Kissinger predicted as being important have mainfested themselves-fundamentalist Islam and China). His thesis or perspective throughout is that international relations and diplomacy are in equilibrium when all nations strive to address properly their national interest and balance that against the national interest of their adversaries (this intepretation of international relations has often been called realism). Kissinger does not put much stock in the moral prounouncements of men like President Woodrow Wilson, who believe that peace is the norm, and not the exception of IR. He instead admires Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. Despite what you may think of the overarching framework, this is an excellent history covering every conceivable facet of diplomatic history. I was especially impressed with his chapters on World War II and Franklin Roosevelt (who is the President I most admire; I was surprised at the amount of credit Kissinger, who is always deemed a "conservative" gave to FDR, the quintessential liberal). The only downside to the book is its length (over 800 pages paperback) and Kissinger's writing style, which is filled with large words not suitable to every reading level. If, for example, you don't know what inchoate means, I would suggest having a dictionary handy. Overall, a good read for wanna be historians and international relations experts.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My least favorite "statesman" writes one of my favorite books!, October 28, 2006
By 
D. Avery (Colorado Springs, CO USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
I would love to give this book 1 star based on the person who wrote this book, but Kissinger has shown in almost all of his writings an understanding of world politics that goes far beyond almost any other American student of diplomacy in analysis and historical accuracy. This is one of his true Master Works, and is easily the best single volume on diplomacy that I've ever read. He is able to place European diplomacy in a narrative that is exceptionally readable and erudite despite its inherently esoteric topic.

In terms of a general discussion of diplomacy, the next best is a *three* volume series, *The Great Powers*, by Longman Press. Without judging the person who wrote this book, *Diplomacy* ranks with the great histories of our day.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of course 5 stars!, August 16, 2006
By 
Paulo A. Pires Filho (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
It's impressive that most of the bad ratings of this book comes from people that haven't read it and are opposite to Kissinger political views and acts. Sad thing, they are missing an excelent book.

Of course, Mr. Kissinger's actuation, especially during Nixon Administration, was very debatable, but this book has to be read in spite of that and without prejudices.

Kissinger views on Diplomacy is lucid and focuses in the main characters that shaped the world History and how it influences the politics of their times. Also interesting is the comparision between Leaders of different periods, like Wilson in the end of the World War I and the leaders at the end of Napoleonic Wars. His style is easy to follow even for a long book as this one. Kissinger's contribution to the Historiography of the subject is fantastic and totally recommendable.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute 'must read', December 18, 2000
By 
"dponech" (Toronto, ON, CANADA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
Described variously as a "masterpiece" and a "profound" _Diplomacy_ is a 'must read'.
Regardless of your opinion regarding his politics, there is no escaping the profound impact Henry Kissinger has had on late twentieth century strategic relations. Similarly, whether they vex or inspire you, the insights he outlines in _Diplomacy_ are consistently enlightening and regularly brilliant. A thoroughly researched and expertly presented text, _Diplomacy_ offers novices a solid introduction to the history of strategic relations and experts a challenging set of theories and interpretations. Furthermore, despite the dense and often dry nature of the history of diplomacy, Kissinger's presentation of his subject matter is accessible and compelling.
Admittedly, however, there is a flaw to the text not altogether uncommon to Kissinger's writing. He has been criticised in the past, and rightly so, for not attending adequately to economic factors in international relations. _Diplomacy_, while addressing economics to a degree, retains this failing, minimising the importance of economic factors in international relations by omission.
Despite this shortcoming, however, _Diplomacy_ remains a vitally important book and one I cannot recommend too highly.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The power of words., May 24, 2006
By 
Newton Ooi (Phoenix, Arizona United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
Henry Kissinger is a highly regarded figure in American history within American circles. In the international realm, he is considered a scheming, amoral con who turned the idealism of JFK New Frontier into Nixon's realpolitik of bombing Cambodia and Vietnam. Lost among all this is the reality that Kissinger had to work in; a world of unequal powers, each with their own wants and needs. Kissinger, a man of no arms, had to practice diplomacy to achieve conflicting wants and needs. As such, he is probably America's most famous diplomat during the 20th century. This book is his take on the art and history of diplomacy over the last 300 years. Covering the major wars and treaties, agreements and arguments, this book traces the role of diplomacy and diplomats at various times and places and how they have affected history by words. Examples include the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaty of Westphalia, and of course the formation of the UN after WWII. In all these events, Kissinger shows how the words of a few usually determined the fates of the many; regardless of whether the few came from democracies or dictatorships.

All in all, this is a good history book, though it fails in several respects. First, it does not fully account for the power of corporate interests within the realm of international relations. Second, many of the affairs in the modern world were not solely manmade. Instead, nature has played a great role in determining human events. Example, WW1 was surely shortened by the breakout of the influenza epidemic. Third, the book also underestimates the role of non-governmental entities in the role of international relations. Witness the role of the press in getting the British out of India, or Christian missionaries in exposing Leopold's reign over the African Congo. But overall, this is still a good book to read.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history of foreign policy, September 16, 2001
By 
Boris Aleksandrovsky (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) (Paperback)
Dr. Kissinger's "Diplomacy" is a history of the development of foreign policy from early 16 century to present time. He traces the advents of different ways of constructing the world order - from Machiavellian "Raison d'erte" policy of the First Minister of France Cardinal Richelieu, to the first concept of the "balance of power" advocated by Metternich at the Congress of Vienna, through breakup of that balance by Crimean War and Bismarck, from British policy of "Splendid Isolation" to British policy of limited alliances just before the WW1, from the mistakes of Treaty of Versailles, to the Marshall plan, from Kennedy policy of containment during the Berlin and Cuban crises, to Nixon's (and Kissinger) conduct of the Cold War.

This is a brilliant exposition of the academician and the practitioner of the art of diplomacy. Dr. Kissinger has the brilliance of style; and clarity of exposition which will put this book, not necessarily written for the general reader, at its reach.
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Diplomacy (Touchstone Book)
Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) by Henry Kissinger (Paperback - April 4, 1995)
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