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World Order Paperback – September 1, 2015
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“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.”
"An astute analysis that illuminates many of today's critical international issues."
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0143127713
- ISBN-13 : 978-0143127710
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 1 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #26,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Kissinger is no historian, yet he skips happily through major historical events while missing all the nuances and subtleties, apparently to prove his thesis. Cherry-picking a few facts here and there might be ok for political rhetoric, but it is unacceptable as real scholarship. I would NEVER assign this book to my students.
it is imperative to a knowledge of the dynamics of Islam to understand the Sunni-Shia division. One could read a detailed work on that division, there are many solid works, but one can understand the basics in about one chapter of this book. if one is still interested, there are many other sources, deeper in content. In the same vein, the author's writings of the emergence of many Islamic players without a history of involvement in world order(s) is also enlightening and, unfortunately, disconcerting. Especially if these new actors become players, and some already are, in the arena of nuclear weapons.
There is a very good compare and contrast of styles of leadership and views of world order by resort to detailed analysis of how three U.S. Presidents viewed these issues: Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR. Also, not surprisingly, the author is very complimentary of Nixon's role in world history and formation of order. There can be room for discussion of Nixon's presidency and persona, but only the most rabid disparaged of Nixon can deny his foreign policy acumen, and then hardly legitimately.
Finally, coming from one who readily admits his technology shortcomings, the author does an excellent job of posing the benefits and burdens of the internet age. It can well be argued, and between the lines he does argue, that the internet and tech explosion posits issues, problems and questions not thought through and for many new players in the world order issues, problems and questions they are not equipped to handle, at least for now.
Overall, a solid work by one with the "cred" to be able to demand being heeded about his thoughts on the issues on which he writes.
Top reviews from other countries
The orientation of the book is centred at the US. All the materials included are to understand the context of the US role in the world scene and its dilemma. Therefore the book does give a good introduction to as well as summary of the political situations in different regions. The author’s knowledge is broad, no doubt from the vintage of the position he served at the US government.
Historical events may be objective but the politics perhaps is not. As I closed the book, I was left with a strong sense that this is the US perspective. Viewing from countries of totally different background and position, the reading of the same events would be very different. The US participation in the world order in the 20th century has been portrayed as selfless based on principles and idealism. The glimpse of the Federalist Papers that it provides is refreshing. The political rhetoric coming out of the Trump administration seems to have departed from the US idealism and turned to national interests as the basis of foreign policy? The chapter on modern technology in changing politics surely stretches our minds and heightens our alertness of its potential sway on our politics. Sadly the direction of its influence is not encouraging and it is likely that we end up with much poorer leadership and statesmanship to our shared loss.
One must write from a perspective, so I guess the US-centric perspective is not a fault. Accepting that, the book lands us in a good grip of the evolution of the US foreign policy and the challenges it faces. As the US is a dominant player in the world scene, it is still a significant part of the story, even though at the back of our minds we may doubt if the actions really matched the motives they proclaimed.
It is very current as well, including the situations unfolding in the middle east up until the time of publication, with prescient comments and analysis.
The main negative, especially if trying to use the book as a reference work, is the unusual configuration of the notes; they are all at the back of the book, with no indication in the text that there is a note relevant to it. Most odd, and surely a failing of Penguin to let it out like this?
America begins to flex its muscles on the world stage in the 20th century and, at least in Kissinger's view, attempts to bias world affairs in the direction of disinterested human rights, freedom from tyranny etc. The US world vision set itself above the pragmatic power politics which had disastrously characterised recent European history.
After WWII, world domination fell to the USA and Russia. The book relates how the modern American presidents, super-statesmen to a man in the text, managed to bring the nuclear arms race to a halt with the SALT treaty and also succeeded in ruining the Russian economy by devising ever more expensive defence projects.
The growth of China, Israel's problems and the lack of stability in the Middle East all get in-depth analysis while Islam also gets a whole chapter, tracing its opportunist and expansionist history back to its sixth century origin. The effects of computer and internet technology and cyber-warfare on world stability form the final chapters of the book. Kissinger thinks that international treaties are needed to curb their, as yet barely understood, influences.
Not a particularly easy read due to the amount of factual information but consistently fluent and an attempt to bring some transparency and even predictability to an otherwise rather random catalogue of world events.(such as lesser historians sometimes churn out). It worked for me anyway.
For seasoned scholars of International Relations, World Order offers little new, however, it does synergise all the contemporary issues of today's world into one very readable volume.
Dr Kissinger begins with an explanation of the Peace of Westphalia, which forms the backbone of the book. Also examined are the Islamist challenge to the Westphalian world order, an examination of the current issues regarding Iran, contemporary perspectives from China, and the impact of technology.
Overall, a very readable work, and a decent introduction to international relations for the uninitiated, and a decent refresher for those already familiar with the field.