The White House Years by Henry A. Kissinger
The White House Years by Henry A. Kissinger
Little Brown&Co | October 1979 | ISBN: 0316496618 | 1521 Pages | siPDF or HTML in RAR | 11,0Mb & 4Mb
Dr. Kissinger's book is a must read for those wishing to gain insight into the politics of the diplomatic process. He takes great pains to be fair in his assessment of a number of personalities from President Nixon, to Indira Gandi. Self-observations are modest to the point of self-deprecation. The chapters in which he chronicles the Nixon Administration's involvement in the Vietnam War is worth the price of the book. Mr. Kissinger's observation of this tumultuous time in our history is candid, sometimes sad, but scholarly without being pedantic. I highly recommend this book.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
"The Longest Journey Begins With The First Step", January 22, 2001
By Harold Y. Grooms (Prattville, AL USA) - See all my reviews
The title of this review stems from an ancient Chinese proverb. Henry A. Kissinger's book, White House Years is the first of a three-volume trilogy that covers his remarkable career. This initial book begins with his appointment as National Security Advisor to Richard M. Nixon January 1969, and ends with the initialing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. Kissinger lets the reader know early on, they were under no illusions their journey would be easy or joyous.
He paints a vivid picture of Lyndon Johnson at Nixon's inauguration. If a political heavyweight like L.B.J. could be humbled by (sic) "Veetnam" no one could expect an easy time. Nixon, who had made a career of exhorting political opponents to, "Get tough with the Communists," now had his turn. He would either succeed where his predecessors had failed, or share L.B.J.s fate.
A series of opportunities to "get tough" with the Communists soon followed. The Soviets continued to harass Berlin; the Strateg!ic Arms Limitation (SALT) Talks provided critics from the right and left; West German leader Willie Brandt's Ostpolitik threatened the cohesion of the Atlantic Alliance and the Soviets' establishment of a submarine base at Cienfuegos, Cuba created a situation reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also, the election of Salvador Allende in Chile threatened to introduce a second, Communist state into the Western Hemisphere. Elsewhere, a crisis was brewing between India and Pakistan, and the powder keg in the Middle East threatened to explode at any time.
All these things occurred while the bulk of our military forces were mired in a seemingly endless stalemate in Vietnam that was tearing our nation apart and steadily draining both our coffers and our national resolve. Any of them had the potential to bring the two nuclear equipped superpowers into direct confrontation at any time. Kissinger calmly states: "Statesmen do not have the right to ask to serve only in simple t!imes." The early '70's were anything but, "simple times."
White House Years is a first-person account from a key player in each of these crises. Kissinger takes us step-for-step through the decision-making process they undertook before each action. These deliberations led to the most spectacular diplomatic initiative of our time: Nixon's historic trip to The Peoples Republic of China! The diplomatic opportunities made possible by this trip still shape our world today. Among other things it made Hanoi serious about negotiating an end to the War in Vietnam.
Dr. Kissinger narrates the maddening, secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho in Paris. The differences between what the Communists were feeding the Western media and what they were saying behind closed doors makes the reader both loathe and admire them for their political skill. Their efforts finally led to the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. Kissinger sincerely believed South Vietnam would surv!ive. Unfortunately, he was wrong.
White House Years reads like a Greek tragedy. The reader gets excited and then remembers how it all ends. The very secretiveness that produced spectacular successes also sowed the seeds that would lead to Nixon's self-destruction.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the War in Vietnam and/or international relations. The conduct of international diplomacy today is still unquestionably influenced by the events narrated here. I am much better informed for having read it. You will be as well!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Architect of a modern foreign poligy, January 23, 2005
By David Fourer (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
I started this book on a whim in a coffee shop and soon decided to read all 1,475 pages (which required buying the book!) Kissinger has an amazing story to tell and writes exceptionally well. He gives vivid descriptions of encounters with world leaders and of Washington politics. His reflections range over history, politics, culture in many countries, war, and US policy.
He is full of surprises, sharp-edged, hilarious, philosophical, and always authoritative. Professor Kissinger doesn't use fancy words. He is never aloof. His purpose is to make the material understandable. Some passages about negotiations have perhaps more detail than one really wants.
The last four years of the Viet Nam war figure prominently in the book. Nixon and Kissinger's insistence on winding down the war slowly over four years is controversial. The whole book is unsentimental, convincing and will appeal to the liberal or conservative reader. It is also a revealing study of the "Cold War", including Nixon's trip to China, the Middle East, the SALT treaty, European relations, war between India and Pakistan, and more.
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