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Amazing or Shit

Mattathias Schwartz: Steve Jobs, 15 December 2011

Steve Jobs 
by Walter Isaacson.
Little, Brown, 630 pp., £25, October 2011, 978 1 4087 0374 8
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... and most would quickly yield to his will. One of the few who did not is his authorised biographer, Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor of Time. Isaacson’s book is packaged as a eulogy, with lots of family photos and a plain white cover whose Helvetican simplicity is characteristic of Apple’s own designers in ...

Touch of Evil

Christopher Hitchens, 22 October 1992

Kissinger: A Biography 
by Walter Isaacson.
Faber, 893 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 571 16858 2
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... undergone an exponential rise since Lord Macaulay so crisply profiled Frederick ‘the Great’. Walter Isaacson’s new study of Kissinger shows beyond doubt that he rose to power by intriguing for and against an ally, the South Vietnamese military junta, whom he had sworn to defend, and that in the process of covering his tracks, consolidating and ...


Alan Brinkley, 7 January 1988

Armed Truce 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 667 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 241 11843 3
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The Wise Men 
by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas.
Faber, 853 pp., £15.95, January 1987, 0 571 14606 6
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by Piers Brendon.
Secker, 478 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 436 06813 3
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by Michael Beschloss.
Faber, 494 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 571 14593 0
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... nature of the Establishment – led the United States into a series of international fiascos. Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, until recently colleagues at Time magazine, are relatively young men, educated (at Harvard) in the late Sixties and early Seventies during the heyday of revisionism, and more likely than Hugh Thomas, one would suppose, to ...

Stupid Questions

Laleh Khalili: Battlefield to Boardroom, 24 February 2022

Risk: A User’s Guide 
by Stanley McChrystal and Anna Butrico.
Penguin, 343 pp., £20, October 2021, 978 0 241 48192 9
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... SEAL and a special assistant for national security at the Obama White House. It had a foreword by Walter Isaacson, then head of the Aspen Institute, which receives substantial funding from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and has been described by the Economist as ‘a cross between a think tank, a celebrity summer camp and a liberal arts ...

Sucking up to P

Greg Grandin: Henry Kissinger’s Vanity, 29 November 2007

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners 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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... on geopolitical reality or as an example of Kissinger’s famous ‘courtier’s instincts’, as Walter Isaacson once described his willingness to say what those in power want to hear in order to gain not so much influence as the illusion of influence, the old man’s ‘advice’ serving as cover for decisions already made. There is some truth to both ...

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