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World Order Hardcover – September 9, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post:
“It is vintage Kissinger, with his singular combination of breadth and acuity along with his knack for connecting headlines to trend lines — very long trend lines in this case. He ranges from the Peace of Westphalia to the pace of microprocessing, from Sun Tzu to Talleyrand to Twitter... A real national dialogue is the only way we’re going to rebuild a political consensus to take on the perils and the promise of the 21st century. Henry Kissinger’s book makes a compelling case for why we have to do it and how we can succeed.”

Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Henry Kissinger’s new book, World Order, could not be more timely...  the book puts the problems of today’s world and America’s role in that increasingly interconnected and increasingly riven world into useful — and often illuminating — context... Mr. Kissinger, now 91, strides briskly from century to century, continent to continent, examining the alliances and divisions that have defined Europe over the centuries, the fallout from the disintegration of nation-states like Syria and Iraq, and China’s developing relationship with the rest of Asia and the West. At its best, his writing functions like a powerful zoom lens, opening out to give us a panoramic appreciation of larger historical trends and patterns, then zeroing in on small details and anecdotes that vividly illustrate his theories."

The Financial Times
“Kissinger’s conclusion deserves to be read and understood by all candidates ahead of the 2016 presidential election. World order depends on it.”

John Micklethwait, The New York Times Book Review

“If you think America is doing just fine, then skip ahead to the poetry reviews.  If, however, you worry about a globe spinning out of control, then World Order is for you.  It brings together history, geography, modern politics and no small amount of passion.  Yes, passion, for this is a cri de Coeur, from a famous skeptic, a warning to future generations from an old man steeped in the past... it is a book that every member of Congress should be locked in a room with--and forced to read before taking the oath of office."

James Traub, The Wall Street Journal
Recent years have not been kind to those who believe in America's missionary role abroad. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001 upended our sense of the world, the United States has been governed by a conservative idealist who tried to impose American values on the Middle East, and failed calamitously, and a liberal idealist who invited America's adversaries to re-engage with us on the basis of a new humility and mutual respect, and found his hopes dashed. It is, in short, a moment for Henry Kissinger... The fact that he has written yet another book, the succinctly titled World Order, is impressive in itself. What is more remarkable is that it effectively carries on his campaign to undermine the romantic pieties of left and right that have shaped so much of American foreign policy over the past century. Mr. Kissinger bids fair to outlast many of the people who hate him and make others forget why they hated him in the first place."

Walter Isaacson, Time
“Kissinger’s book takes us on a dazzling and instructive global tour of the quest for order….The key to Kissinger’s foreign policy realism, and the theme at the heart of his magisterial new book, is that such humility is important not just for people but also for nations, even the U.S. Making progress toward a world order based on “individual dignity and participatory governance” is a lofty ideal, he notes. “But progress toward it will need to be sustained through a series of intermediate stages.”

The Los Angeles Times
"Kissinger's geopolitical analysis of our global challenges is compelling... Mark Twain, who was known more for his sense of humor than his diplomatic skills, once said, "History does not repeat itself. But it rhymes." Kissinger's advice is not nearly as glib, but much more valuable to a country that right now seems to want the rest of the world to just go away."

Jacob Heilbrunn, The National Interest:
"Kissinger… demonstrates why he remains such a courted adviser to American presidents and foreign leaders alike…. [World Order is] a guide for the perplexed, a manifesto for reordering America’s approach to the rest of the globe. Kissinger’s vision could help to shape a more tranquil era than the one that has emerged so far.”

Kirkus Reviews:
"An astute analysis that illuminates many of today's critical international issues." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

HENRY KISSINGER served as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and has advised many other American presidents on foreign policy. He received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Medal of Liberty, among other awards. He is the author of numerous books on foreign policy and diplomacy and is currently the chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; First Edition edition (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594206147
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594206146
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (406 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

190 of 217 people found the following review helpful By Publius on September 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Throughout history, various civilizations have considered themselves to be the epicenter of the world and have defined various concepts of `order', extrapolating their principles to be globally relevant.

Mr. Kissinger takes us on a tour of various civilizations of the past including China, the Roman Empire, the spread of Islam, the formation of European states, and the post-WWII growing hegemony of the USA. He argues that there has never been a true world order because even the U.S. at the height of its power in the 50's did not want to, nor could, dominate the globe in a world of vastly different cultures and ideologies.

Kissinger views the disintegration of Arab nations into tribal units as ominous and compares this to the religious wars in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. And he observes that although the U.S. has often had an idealistic vision of world order, the U.S. wavers between post-WWII global extension and post-WWI withdrawal from foreign affairs. He analyzes and makes recommendations on how to build a new global order in a world filled with increasing ideological extremism and rapidly advancing technology.

Although this is an interesting and valuable work, I think Mr. Kissinger may be too optimistic that we will ever grow toward a unified order on our planet. It appears to me we only become `unified' when robotic alien civilizations attack us on movie screens.

Just as our U.S. Congress has become increasingly bipolar with opposing ideologies, I fear the world may become increasingly multi-polar as more and more nations undergo technological and economic growth.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
I have read most of Henry Kissinger's previously published books and reviewed several of them. In my opinion, his latest -- World Power -- is the most valuable thus far because it addresses a challenge that the human race faces in months and years to come, one that it has never faced before: the possibility of total global chaos.

Consider these observations by Kissinger in the Introduction: "No truly global 'world power' has ever existed. What passes for order in our time was devised in Western Europe nearly four centuries ago, at a peace conference in the German region of Westphalia, conducted without the involvement or even the awareness of most other continents or civilizations." Without a global world power, obviously, there can be no world order.

The title of my review refers to a number of compelling questions and the first one posed in the Introduction is a whopper: "Are we facing a period in which forces beyond the constraints of any order determine the future?" Here are some others to which Kissinger also responds:

o What is the relevance of the Westphalian System to world order? So what?
o To what extent has Islamism threatened world order throughout the last 1,000 years?
o To what extent does Islamism (or at least radical Islamism) threaten world order today?
o What can be learned from the relationship between the U.S. and Iran during the last 50 years?
o What is the relevance of Asian multiplicity to world order?
0 What are the various stages of development of the U.S. foreign policies with regard to world order since Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901?
o Insofar as world order is concerned, what valuable lessons can be learned from the Cold War?
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104 of 126 people found the following review helpful By Mike Grant on September 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
At age 91, Henry Kissinger has had ample time in his career to ruminate, to write, and to create both ardent followers and enemies. In a way, he seems to transcend time as his influence for better or worse influences sequential generations of political folly. One thing is certain about Mr. Kissinger, however, it is hard to deny that the vantage of his perspective has earned him the ear of both politicians and the public in a way that has rarely been paralleled throughout history. And so he carries on in World Order, trying to bring light to the patterns and organizations that propel recent events, much in the ways we have seen in comparable historical forms. (What was it that Mark Twain wrote? That history does not repeat, but it rhymes?)

In World Order, Kissinger revisits themes that were explored in Diplomacy, and in his lesser known (but well recommended) A World Restored. In retrospect, it is that youthful ode to Prince Klemens von Metternich, the nineteenth century expert ambassador, which serves as an excellent opening chapter to Kissinger's life work (of which presumably World Order may well be his last major undertaking). For Kissinger, the Peace of Westphalia was such a key point in history, and the creation of such a Westphalian sovereignty as being integral to our current world order, that our path from this point in time hinges upon the forging of similar power-balancing agreements today.
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