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Diplomacy First Edition Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 181 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0671659912
ISBN-10: 067165991X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kissinger maintains that the United States cannot dominate the emerging new world order but should rely instead on a balance of power built on security pacts and economic alliances. In this magisterial political history, the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State draws lessons from the statecraft of Richelieu, Napoleon, Bismarck and Metternich, then shrewdly reappraises the foreign policy blunders and the failures of moral nerve and vision that led in our century to the mass carnage of two world wars, genocide, Cold War and a nuclear arms race. He limns striking portraits of Hitler craving war to fulfill his global ambitions, of Stalin, a "supreme realist" in international affairs, and of Franklin D. Roosevelt courageously steering an isolationist people into war. Kissinger defines Nixon's achievement as a refusal to abdicate America's global role, and he gives Reagan a large measure of credit for the collapse of the Soviet empire. While urging support for Russian liberalism, he stresses that the U.S. should simultaneously bolster obstacles to Russian expansionism, which neither Bush nor Clinton has done. Photos. BOMC and History Book Club main selections.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

After nearly a dozen books and service as secretary of state for presidents Nixon and Ford, Kissinger has established himself as a major thinker, writer, and actor on the world's diplomatic stage. His newest work is a remarkable survey of the craft of international relations from the early 17th century to the present era. Beginning with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, Kissinger summarizes three centuries of Western diplomacy, giving special attenton to the influence of Wilsonian idealism on 20th-century American foreign policy. He is not shy about describing his own contributions to Nixon's foreign gambits, nor is he reticient about offering his own advice to the current administration on how to handle Russia, China, or the rest of the world. From Kissinger we learn that there is really little new about the New World Order. This is an important contribution to the theoretical literature on foreign affairs and will also serve quite ably as a one-volume synthesis of modern diplomatic history. All libraries should have this impressive book. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.
- Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 18, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067165991X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671659912
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew D. Carr on January 25, 2000
Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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