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Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power Paperback – October 30, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This abridged version of Dallek's study of the relationship between a president and his powerful secretary of state is read with precision by Conger. Dallek approved the audiobook's abridgment, which hits the high points of his 750-page doorstopper. Conger hints at imitating the deeply familiar voices of Dallek's twin protagonists without sliding into all-out parody. He drops his voice to a semigrowl for Nixon and adds a muted Central European flavor for Kissinger. For the most part, Conger hits the expected notes, emphasizing and underlining Dallek's narrative with understated flair. Those expecting spine-tingling excitement from the meeting and collision of these two powerful, ultimately destructive political forces may be disappointed by Conger's staid reading, but its allure lies in its solid, unobtrusive nature. Conger pulls listeners into Nixon and Kissinger's struggle by ceding center stage to them.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Armed with voluminous new source material, presidential historian Robert Dallek delivers a comprehensive view of a profoundly influential political duo. Because of their importance, very little in Nixon and Kissinger is new. But that doesn't deter reviewers from praising Dallek for this intelligent, wide-ranging synthesis. The author of the best-selling An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917?1963 (***1/2 Sept/Oct 2003) and a two-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, Dallek details the personal motivations behind Nixon's and Kissinger's public and private machinations, a technique that fascinates most reviewers. A few critics want more political context, but most seem satisfied with this riveting, fleshed-out story of a fascinating time in American history.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060722312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060722319
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.4 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are several excellent books already in print by or about Richard M. Nixon and/or Henry A. Kissinger, notably Memoirs of Richard Nixon and Richard Reeves' President Nixon: Alone in the White House as well as Walter Isaacson's biography of Kissinger and The Kissinger Transcripts: The Top-Secret Talks With Beijing and Moscow. However, with access to a wealth of sources previously unavailable, Robert Dallek has written what will probably remain for quite some time the definitive study of one of U.S. history's most fascinating political partnerships.

I defer to other reviewers to suggest parallels between the wars in Viet Nam and Iraq, especially when citing this passage in Dallek's Preface: "Arguments about the wisdom of the war in Iraq and how to end the U.S. involvement there, relations with China and Russia, what to do about enduring Mideast trensions between Israelis and Arabs, and the advantages and disadvantages of an imperial presidency can, I believe, be usefully considered in the context of a fresh look ast Nixon and Kissinger and the power they wielded for good and ill."

Until reading Dallek's book, I was unaware of the nature and extent of what Nixon and Kissinger shared in common. Of greatest interest to me was the almost total absence of trust in others (including each other) as, separately and together, they sought to increase their power, influence, and especially, their prestige. In countless ways, they were especially petty men and, when perceiving a threat, could be vindictive. They seemed to bring out the worst qualities in each other, as during their self-serving collaboration on policies "good and ill" in relationships with other countries such as China, Russia, Viet Nam, Pakistan, and Chile.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Dallek is a presidential biographer withour peer. He has written about LBJ, JFK, and Ronald Reagan. This could be his best yet.

Dallek examines the partnership of two men who had much in common as well as incredible differences. Both Nixon and Kissinger had difficult childhoods. Nixon grew up poor in California. Kissinger fled the Nazis. Both men dreamed of better days. Each man possessed an outsized ego.

Dallek was able to obtain some incredible new insights into their relationship. Transcripts of phone conversations that Kissinger had had with thousands of people have recently become available to scholars. They shed light on what he really was thinking during those moments in history. Kissinger tried to suppress the release of these records until after his death. Like the Nixon tapes, these transcripts have come back to haunt Kissinger. Dallek interviewed Kissinger but he didn't get much out of it. Kissinger obviously wants to suppress knowledge of his role in the Nixon fiasco.

The Viet Nam War, diplomacy with China and the USSR, Watergate; it's all here. Neither man comes out looking too good. Dallek makes the case that Kissinger knew Nixon was incapacitated so badly as the Watergate scandal unfolded that Kissinger should have considered having Nixon removed from power under the aegis of the 25th Amendment. Kissinger failed to inform Congress that Nixon was incapable of running the country at that point. Kissinger had selfish reasons. If Nixon lost power then so did Kissinger. Power was the most important thing to both men. The imperial presidency of Richard Nixon has eerie parallels to our current administration. Today we also have an unpopular war, surveillance of those who oppose it, deep secrecy and paranoia.
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Format: Hardcover
As with many other reviewers I suspect, we lived through each and every day these two were calling the shots at the national level. They were on the TV screen and in the newsmagazines, neither could filter all the truth from getting through, but they tried. While at the same time being pretty much wary of the other, even having insulting names for the other: 'drunken friend', 'meatball mind', 'madman' in oval office, and worst of all, 'Jew boy'. While treating those who reported to them with little to no respect. What a combo these guys were.

This book brings back many memories, and as one who remembers RN as Vice President, the book also helps to make sense of some of the idiotic things he got himself into then, to such extent that Eisenhower was thinking of dropping RN from his second term ticket. I can vividly recall the mock election we ran in high school prior to the election between Nixon and Kennedy, and Nixon won.

Nixon is of course dead, but Kissinger is very much alive: would be interesting to know what Henry really thinks of this book. Has it indeed caused another kicking and ranting tantrum from him. Or does it mirror fact so accurately that he smiles and says, 'yes, that was exactly the way it was'. Only Henry knows about that, but for certain this book rings true for me, who lived each and every day these two were in office, joined at the waist, locked in a personal power struggle. The real tragedy for HK was due to his birth in Germany he could never be elected president, and you know that that was what he desired more than almost anything.
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