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How would Richelieu and Mazarin have coped?

R.W. Johnson: Henry Kissinger

20 September 2001
The Trial of Henry​ Kissinger 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 159 pp., £15, May 2001, 1 85984 631 9
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... In this short book, Christopher Hitchens sets down the main charges against Kissinger: murder, violation of human rights and complicity in mass atrocities on a scale equalled only by Eichmann, Heydrich and the like. As Hitchens admits, he isn’t the first: Joseph Heller in Good as ...

Rug Time

Jonathan Steinberg

20 October 1983
KissingerThe Price of Power 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 699 pp., £15, October 1983, 0 571 13175 1
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... out more than a thousand interviews and I believe it. In some cases he interviewed the same person four or five times to make sure that he got it right. He went through the memoirs of Nixon and Kissinger with a microscope and compared them with his own findings. He used the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to government documents and had, of course, the huge pile of documents left by the ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Stirrers Up of Strife

17 March 2016
... up the versatility unrebuked? Sanders gave a rough idea of what he means by ‘establishment’ in a debate on 12 February when he took up Hillary Clinton’s laudatory review of the latest book by HenryKissinger. ‘I happen to believe,’ he said, ‘that HenryKissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. I am proud to say that Henry ...

Red Rover

Clare Hollingworth

4 February 1982
At the Barricades: The Memoirs of a Rebel Journalist 
by Wilfred Burchett.
Quartet, 341 pp., £10.95, May 1981, 0 7043 2214 5
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... When HenryKissinger was eating break-fast with Wilfred Burchett in the West Wing of the White House, he little knew that his guest had travelled ‘illegally’ to Washington. As an Australian whose government refused ...


David Gilmour

1 June 1989
Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 357 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 7011 3459 3
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... found some agreeable targets if he had stayed in Britain, but fewer and perhaps less worthy of his envenomed pen. As these essays indicate, he is much better at dealing with the monstrous legacy of HenryKissinger than scoffing at poor Bill Rodgers of the SDP (as he and it then were). And Britain was also constricting, especially if you were a radical left-wing journalist with an upper-class accent ...
21 February 1980
The Palestinians 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Quartet, 256 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 7043 2205 6
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The Rabin Memoirs 
by Yitzhak Rabin.
Weidenfeld, 272 pp., £10, November 1980, 0 297 77546 4
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... was slipping out of our grasp. In the end with the aid of a random shot here, another there, we had our pretext.’ Rabin describes himself as a loner, not given to small talk or easy confidences. To HenryKissinger ‘he possessed few of the attributes commonly associated with diplomacy,’ and he sees in himself a ‘tendency towards withdrawal’. But his natural taciturnity sometimes conceals a ...


Christopher Hitchens: Men (and Women) of the Year

14 December 1995
... time ago. The ‘outstanding achievement’ prize goes to General Colin Powell, and will be presented by Barbara Walters. The ‘humanitarian’ award goes to Diana Spencer and will be presented by HenryKissinger. In other words, a single well-placed grenade could remove the whole beating heart of the international celebrity industry, along with its most servile and deferential interviewer and ...

Sucking up to P

Greg Grandin: Henry Kissinger’s Vanity

29 November 2007
Nixon and KissingerPartners in Power 
by Robert Dallek.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, August 2007, 978 0 7139 9796 5
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Henry Kissinger​ and the American Century 
by Jeremi Suri.
Harvard, 368 pp., £18.95, July 2007, 978 0 674 02579 0
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... HenryKissinger’s realpolitik, with its moral relativism and easy acceptance of American limits, is often contrasted with the neocon evangelism that took off after the attacks of 9/11. Kissinger had long served as a foil for the New Right. The secretary of state ‘sounds like Churchill’ but ‘acts like Chamberlain’, Norman Podhoretz wrote in 1976. And even before conservatives came to ...

Done Deal

Christopher Hitchens: Nixon in China

5 April 2001
A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China 
by Patrick Tyler.
PublicAffairs, 512 pp., £11.99, September 2000, 1 58648 005 7
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... Henry Luce​ – who coined the catchphrase about ‘the American Century’ – once said that the crucial event of that century would be the Christianisation of China. He meant the Protestant ...

Lying abroad

Fred Halliday

21 July 1994
by Henry Kissinger.
Simon and Schuster, 912 pp., £25, May 1994, 9780671659912
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True Brits: Inside the Foreign Office 
by Ruth Dudley Edwards.
BBC, 256 pp., £16.99, April 1994, 0 563 36955 8
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Mandarin: The Diaries of Nicholas Henderson 
by Nicholas Henderson.
Weidenfeld, 517 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 297 81433 8
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... of 1982. Then, he was propelled into a central role in dealing with the White House and the US media. As we now know, much more was offered by way of American support than appeared at the time. HenryKissinger’s Diplomacy is a very different kind of book, a study of two hundred years of international politics and of attempts to manage it. In essence, this is a set of lectures on the history of ...
11 July 1991
Cold Warrior. James Jesus Angleton: The CIA’s Master Spy Hunter 
by Tom Mangold.
Simon and Schuster, 403 pp., £17.99, May 1991, 9780671699307
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... Instead, over the years, his list of suspects in the West became more and more outrageous. They included Harold Wilson, Olaf Palme, Willy Brandt, Armand Hammer, Averell Harriman, Lester Pearson and HenryKissinger. They also included every Soviet defector who had come after him. These men had been sent, Golitsyn said, to discredit him because the KGB knew how dangerous he was to their master plan. By ...
25 February 1993
The Passionate Attachment: America’s Involvement with Israel 
by George Ball and Douglas Ball.
Norton, 382 pp., £17.95, January 1993, 0 393 02933 6
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... injure the nation that is the object of its unrequited affection.’ Even some of Israel’s most devoted friends in America would admit that she is not the most gracious or grateful of partners. HenryKissinger, a leading advocate of the strategic partnership with Israel, had this to say on Israeli negotiating tactics: ‘In the combination of single-minded persistence and convoluted tactics, the ...
16 February 1989
Beauty in History: Society, Politics and Personal Appearance c. 1500 to the Present 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 480 pp., £18.95, September 1988, 0 500 25101 0
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... uncomplicated’ joy in going to bed with a handsome man is a toy boy’s cynical power politics. Or perhaps Ms Dickinson is simply more prepared to acknowledge the complications than, say, HenryKissinger, or any other of the ill-favoured middle-aged men of wealth, status and power who enjoy the company of attractive younger women. But Ms Dickinson, come off it! is far prettier than Henry ...

Kissinger’s Crises

Christopher Serpell

20 December 1979
The White House Years 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1476 pp., £14.95
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... In spite of its length – 1,476 pages of text, concerning only the first four years of Dr Kissinger’s life inside US government – and the immensely detailed coverage of events which that length implies, The White House Years is hard to lay aside. This quality of readability will come as a ...

Strait is the gate

Christopher Hitchens

21 July 1994
Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon 
by Fred Emery.
Cape, 448 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 224 03694 7
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The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House 
by H.R. Haldeman.
Putnam, 698 pp., $27.50, May 1994, 0 399 13962 1
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... Nixon is that he never gave up being part of the action and passion of his times.’ As Dr Johnson correctly and humanely observed, a man is not under oath when delivering a funeral oration. But as Kissinger himself brushed away a tear, this ceremony took on more the aspect of a Central Committee interment, where black limousines and dark-spectacled bodyguards wait to hustle the nomenklatura through the ...

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