The Kennan Diaries and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $39.95
  • Save: $12.19 (31%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Kennan Diaries has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Ships direct from Amazon! Qualifies for Prime Shipping and FREE standard shipping for orders over $25. Overnight and 2 day shipping available!
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.42
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Kennan Diaries Hardcover – February 16, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0393073270 ISBN-10: 0393073270 Edition: 1st

Buy New
Price: $27.76
56 New from $19.95 42 Used from $11.21
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$27.76
$19.95 $11.21
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of January
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Frequently Bought Together

The Kennan Diaries + George F. Kennan: An American Life
Price for both: $44.03

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (February 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393073270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393073270
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 0.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Few American diplomats and historians were as prominent and as honored as George Kennan, whose posthumous profile remains high due to the 2011 biography by John Lewis Gaddis and now this edition of diaries Kennan kept during his longlifetime. They reveal, among other things, that he was anything but satisfied by the outward-appearing success of his life and career(s); a querulous tone about the courses of both permeates his private writing. If complaint is one characteristic of the entries, melancholy is another as Kennan confesses unhappiness with many things, from sexuality to American society and democracy to the U.S. Department of State. Perhaps psychic candor motivated his diary-keeping (though Kennan writes quite guardedly about his probable infidelities), but as important an impulse was his desire that his ideas, philosophical and political, be published. Kennan, of course, did this in a best-selling book (Around the Cragged Hill, 1993), but in this format his ideas appear in unrefined though typically trenchant form. Readers familiar with Kennan’s place in the hardheaded arena of international relations may be surprised to meet the fragile and often despairing personality in these diaries but will respect the searching honesty with which he examined his experiences of witnessing the turbulent twentieth century. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

“George Kennan’s diaries are arguably the most remarkable work of sustained self-analysis—and certainly self-criticism—since The Education of Henry Adams. Frank Costigliola has assembled them with great skill and sensitivity.” (John Lewis Gaddis, author of George F. Kennan: An American Life)

The Kennan Diaries are a vivid journey into the private thoughts and often contrary opinions of the diplomat whose influence permeated U.S. Cold War foreign policy. Eloquent and perceptive, Kennan left a moving personal record of the historic events he experienced and helped shape.” (Henry A. Kissinger, former Secretary of State)

“An informed mind, a clarity of expression, candor in a private diary—all are present in George Kennan’s fascinating commentary on a period when the tectonic plates of the world changed. Read, enjoy, agree or disagree, and be stimulated to think.”” (George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State)

“Frank Costigliola’s superb edition of George Kennan’s diaries is a major addition to the literature on America’s role in the twentieth-century world. It reminds us of why Kennan should be remembered as one of America’s most astute commentators on the limits of our power and influence abroad.” (Robert Dallek, historian and author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963)

“The diaries provide a window onto the intellectual and emotional life of the great American diplomat and thinker who had a more profound influence on American foreign policy than he recognized. [They] make fascinating reading.” (Jack F. Matlock Jr., former ambassador to the Soviet Union and author of Autopsy on an Empire)

“[T]he publication of The Kennan Diaries is a major event. University of Connecticut historian Frank Costigliola has ably culled Kennan’s herculean, 20,000-page private diary (which he kept for 88 years and which is now housed at Princeton University’s Mudd Library) into an erudite, reader-friendly volume.” (Douglas Brinkley - The Washington Post)

The Kennan Diaries is an illuminating, fascinating and sometimes disturbing book.” (Fareed Zakaria - New York Times Book Review)

“Valuable insight… Intellectually and literarily compelling.” (Edward A. Turzanski - Philadelphia Inquirer)

“Irresistibly readable… Mr. Kennan has come through one last time with a book that illuminates in intricate and imaginative ways not only his times, but himself.” (James A. Warren - The Daily Beast)

“Fascinating.” (David Greenberg - The New Republic)

Customer Reviews

Enjoy this book, it was very insightful.
Foothill Ranch 14
George F. Kennan is on the very short list of those famous as diplomats and equally well-known as historians.
Michael Holzman
That said, his diaries make fascinating reading because he participated in so much history.
Philip Seib

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Holzman on March 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
George F. Kennan is on the very short list of those famous as diplomats and equally well-known as historians. His name is permanently linked to the Cold War strategy of “containment.” And yet, he saw himself as a failure as a diplomat, his writing as a poor alternative to the public influence he sought, and the renown of the containment doctrine itself as based on a disastrous misunderstanding.

The Kennan Diaries, edited by Frank Costigliola, is a belated masterpiece of a Calvinist genre, the examination of actions and intentions for evidence of personal worth. It contains accounts of Kennan’s careers, his diplomatic postings about Europe, most notably in what was then the Soviet Union, his advisory roles, formal and informal, to the high officials and the Presidents of the day, his books and lectures. However, the great bulk of the diaries, and, arguably, their significance, is in the often daily, occasionally hourly, examination of that delicate mechanism, the conscience of George F. Kennan.

The story of Kennan’s outer life can be easily summarized. Born in Milwaukee in 1904 of what he would call “old American stock,” that is, the descendents of eighteenth-century British immigrants, he attended Princeton University, joined the Foreign Service, married the Norwegian Annelise Sorensen, with whom he had four children, retired from the Foreign Service in 1953 after serving as Ambassador to the Soviet Union, took a position at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, wrote and lectured, and died in 2005, still a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Princeton.

Kennan had a life-long love affair with Russia (as distinguished from the Soviet Union), with the Russian people, their language, culture and land.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. lemcke on June 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading this alone may not do the man justice. I suggest the biography "George F Kennan" by Geddis and "The Hawk and the Dove" by Thompson. His diaries hold little back and point to a more troubled person than I had previously understood and may not portray his stronger side. I was surprised by his almost Jeffersonian view of the country and his self doubt. But if the man had been listened to and acted upon by our otherwise militaristic leadership, the so called "Cold War" would probably have been shorter and far less contentious.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Rennie on June 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an unvarnished insight into the thinking and being of a remarkable man, who lived 101 years, and was an expert on Russia, but more importantly, a macroview thinker whose advice was too seldom followed. Many observations of 20th century leaders too.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By rocks on March 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kennan Diaries (Diaries) are well worth reading. But be aware that a couple decades ago, Kennan made his own diary selections and they are in his own Sketches From a Life (Sketches). Hence, my four stars are relative to that five star book. To me, Kennan's own personally selected entries are much more interesting than those selected by a second party (e.g., for Diaries). Moreover, Kennan's own Introduction for Sketches is especially sensitive, revealing, and well written. Sketches, however, is only available in hardcopy right now. If you liked Diaries, you should like Sketches - and maybe even more. There is little overlap between Diaries and Sketches. I've also read his Memoirs, but Sketches contains my favorite Kennan writing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read to give some perspective on the Putin and the Ukrainian crisis.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By john r. kosko on June 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating read. Career diplomat & author of the US. "Cold War strategy" kept a personal diary from the time he was 11 years old till he died at 104. Saw almost all of the 20th Century unfold. Unceasing commentary and criticism of American policies & American society. Kennan was personally acquainted with every President from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The great classic chronicling the life and works of the author of the "containment" doctrine that constituted U.S. policy toward the "Soviet Union".This is especiallty significant today as wtiness the recent events in Ukraine.Kennan was AGHAST at the U.S. policy that led to the war in Vietnam.,We somehow avoided a direct clash with the U.S.S. R.,particularly dangerous after The Soviets exploded their own a bomb in 1949.
Kennan warned against an over militarization of U.S. policy toward the U.S.S. R. because he felt that his words in the long telegram were misconstrued.This is a vitally important book that will help us understand U.S. policy and the cold war and why it remained cold!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on March 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A self-absorbed record written by a brilliant man, one who was better at analyzing high stake foreign policy questions than figuring out his own country or life. While not infrequently wrong on questions of foreign policy, he was sometimes spectacularly right and always seriously thoughtful.

George Kennan, if in charge of domestic policy, would have separated the East and Mid-West from the rest of the country (especially California), restricted the use of automobiles and airplanes, stopped all immigration, and impeded the adoption of new technologies. He often thought of leaving the United States.

He was a WASP academic elitist who was thin-skinned and often despondent when those in power ignored his advice.

Even given all this, these diaries are worth reading for those interested in our country's 20th century diplomatic history, especially as related to Europe and the USSR. (Other areas of the world, except for the Middle East, are pretty much left blank.)

I think if he had been born in ancient China, George Kennan would have become a respected high mandarin at court. He would not have been emperor. And he would not have been happy.

This book is nicely and unobtrusively edited by Professor Frank Costigliola.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?