Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist
'Riveting ...will be his masterpiece' Andrew Roberts, The New York Times No American statesman has been as revered and as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Hailed by some as the "indispensable man", whose advice has been sought by every president from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, Kissinger has also attracted immense hostility from critics who have cast him as an amoral Machiavellian - the ultimate cold-blooded "realist". In this remarkable new book, the first of two volumes, Niall Ferguson has created an extraordinary panorama of Kissinger's world, and a paradigm-shifting reappraisal of the man. Only through knowledge of Kissinger's early life (as a Jew in Hitler's Germany, a poor immigrant in New York, a GI at the Battle of the Bulge, an interrogator of Nazis, and a student of history at Harvard) can we understand his debt to the philosophy of idealism. And only by tracing his rise, fall and revival as an adviser to Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller and, finally, Richard Nixon can we appreciate the magnitude of his contribution to the theory of diplomacy, grand strategy and nuclear deterrence. Drawing not only on Kissinger's hitherto closed private papers but also on documents from more than a hundred archives around the world, this biography is Niall Ferguson's masterpiece. Like his classic two-volume history of the House of Rothschild, Kissinger sheds dazzling new light on an entire era.
This will be his masterpiece -- Andrew Roberts New York Times I acquired valuable knowledge, elegantly conveyed -- Paul Johnson Standpoint Magazine The book illustrates just what an extraordinary human being Kissinger is -- Robert Service Daily Telegraph A work of engrossing scholarship The Economist this is a superb history of the modern world as well as a biography of Kissinger... Ferguson's tour de force shows that because Kissinger was a refugee from horror he understood from the day he first saw the Statue of Liberty that US engagement is vital to the peaceful development of the world -- William Shawcross The Times Ferguson is undoubtedly persuasive in presenting the young Kissinger as a man of ideals as well as ideas. His advantage as the authorised biographer, deployed with full force, has been access to a vast mass of previously unseen private correspondence that reveals his subject as nothing like the calucating cold fish of legend -- Marcus Tanner Independent With his usual meticulous research, Ferguson is master of all his work surveys. At least as important, he writes in an unobtrusive but compelling style that carries the reader along with unforced ease. Even on its own, the first volume of Ferguson's life of Kissinger is a great work about a great man by - it has to be admitted - a great historian. It should be read, and enjoyed, by every serious student of the history of our times -- Sherard Cowper-Coles Spectator For big, bold and compelling, it is impossible to ignore Kissinger - 1923-1968: the idealist (Allen Lane), the first volume of Niall Ferguson's biography of Henry Kissinger, which asks us to reconsider America's best-known "realist" as more Kantian than Machiavellian, more Castlereagh than Meternich, at least up to 1968, when President Nixon first granted the Harvard academic high office. -- John Bew New Statesman Some might question whether Ferguson really needs 1000 pages to tell half of Kissinger's life. Other will revel in the wealth of detail on this most controversial of American statesman -- Bee Wilson Sunday Times a formidably detailed, closely argued study of the making of one of the giants of 20th-century foreign policy -- Gideon Rachman FT
Niall Ferguson is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Research Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is the author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschild, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire, Colossus, The War of the World, The Ascent of Money, High Financier, Civilization and The Great Degeneration. His Kissinger, a feature-length film based on his interviews with Henry Kissinger, won the 2011 New York Film Festival prize for best documentary.