- MP3 CD
- Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (10 July 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1482911760
- ISBN-13: 978-1482911763
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 19 cm
- Customer Reviews: 105 customer ratings
Kissinger: A Biography MP3 CD – 10 July 2013
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''The fullest account of Kissinger's life and career to date, other than for his memoirs . . . A spooky, engrossing portrait of the only European-style realist ever to guide US foreign policy.'' --Publishers Weekly
''Confirms Kissinger's place as one of the great international players and takes him down a peg as well . . . Kissinger will rave about the parts he likes and rage about the rest . . . This makes for compulsive reading.'' --Peter Jennings
''[A] wonderful, entertaining, definitive biography.'' --Los Angeles Times Book Review
''Meticulously researched, intelligent, and fair . . . A book full of insights.'' --Washington Post
''A solidly researched, richly textured, and extremely readable account of a man in dramatic times who seemed bigger than life.'' --Boston Sunday Globe
''Isaacson . . . has produced much more than another unauthorized biography . . . While there are other excellent Kissinger biographies, this work is the best to date on Henry K. Superstar.'' --Library Journal
''A critical but resolutely objective and utterly fascinating biography of the guileful, egocentric geopolitical scientist who became America's most celebrated secretary of state . . . An authoritative and comprehensive account . . . An evenhanded, warts-and-all portrait of a larger-than-life individual who has left his mark behind.'' --Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the editor of Time magazine. He is the chairman of the board of Teach for America, an organization that recruits recent college graduates to teach in underprivileged communities; he was also appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States. He is the author of Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, and Kissinger: A Biography. Isaacson currently lives with his wife and daughter in Washington, DC.
Malcolm Hillgartner is an actor, author, playwright, and professional narrator. Under the name Jahnna N. Malcolm, he and his wife, Jahnna Beecham, have written over one hundred books for young readers; their musicals have played in theaters across America. His audiobook credits include works by Dean Koontz, Nelson Algren, and William F. Buckley Jr.
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Kissinger primarily suffered from the memories of his childhood and never recovered from the insecurity he faced in German occupation.He never helped the state of Israel even though he is a Jew.He remains one of the most controversial diplomats of the twentieth century who ultimately failed to do justice to the trust reposed upon him by America.
Top international reviews
Unlike Kissinger's memoirs, it covers his whole life, though most of the focus is on his years in power with Nixon.
The chapters on the early life are well written and evocative. Kissinger's parents were strong and courageous, living as respected citizens in a part of Germany with many Jewish people. As Kissinger grew up his family watched all their rights being taken away and at the last minute (in 1938) left for the USA.
Kissinger's regard for the values of the USA is in contrast to the suffering of his family in Germany, but according to Isaacson bitterness was not a part of his life.
To me one of the most interesting parts of the book is the picture of Nixon. Nixon and Kissinger were a match for each other. Each was emotional, given to tantrums, though in different styles, and each played their colleagues like a Wurlitzer.
Kissinger was brilliant and devious and famously capable of steaming into any situation and maintaining his concentration on half a dozen different aspects of a crisis simultaneously. Nixon largely gave him his head but quite unlike President Ford later, called the shots when it mattered to him to do so.
Interestingly, in some ways, at least in comparison to the Republican leaders who came after him, Nixon comes over like a liberal. He is of course associated with the Vietnam War, but when Nixon came to power there were nearly 600,000 US troops in Vietnam. He immediately began regular withdrawals, and at no point during his presidency were these regular troop reductions halted for more than a brief period. According to Isaacson, the aggressive moves made by the US after 1968 were to protect `American credibility' and their bargaining position at the peace table.
Given the situation they were in, and depending on what your view of what constitutes credibility is, they probably did a fair job. Kissinger is of course blamed for the invasion of Cambodia, but the way Isaacson tells it, it was the US invasion of Vietnam in the first place, and the subsequent use of Cambodia as a base by the Viet Cong which really led to the development of the Khmer Rouge, rather than the much later US bombing and invasion of Cambodia.
Isaacson's own views are clear and not clear. He frequently rebukes Kissinger for what he presumably sees as non-liberal actions, eg the conspiracy against Allende and the supplying of arms to the Indonesians to suppress the rebels in East Timor, but then lets him off the hook, by for instance pointing out that Allende was no democrat and an economic disaster.
Isaacson's viewpoint, like Kissinger's, appears to be that if it's American it's great, and anything Soviet, or anything which could be construed as pro-Soviet, is the enemy. Remember this book was written in 1992). It is this viewpoint, however `liberal', which let in the fundamentalists we are all suffering with today, I mean the `Let the market rule' and democracy or death guys.
The biggest lesson of this book for me though is the utter contrast between the world of the sixties and seventies and what came after. The closing chapters of the book are the least interesting, you feel Isaacson has to push himself to sustain the narrative in a period where the values are all different and Kissinger himself struggles to obtain any leverage.
Despite its limitations, a great read, and incidentally, frequently hilarious.
Ich lese zur Zeit Einstein nebenbei im Original und finde es trotz AE leichter zu lesen.
Fazit: Buch wahrscheinlich i.O., Übersetzung eher misslungen, hier wurde eine bessere Übersetzung vielleicht dem Werke gut tun.
Interesting and credible character descriptions of the characters involved: Kissinger of course, but also Nixon, Ford, Haldeman, and all the other players involved in Watergate, Vietnam, Cold War, and the thawing of relations with China as a counter balance to Soviet antagonism.
US-Iraeli relations are also discussed at length in the broader setting of perceived US interest in the Middle East.
Funny to get the hindsight of good policy decisions for the wrong reasons.
How brilliant minds get influenced by twisted personality and personal ambition and paranoia.
This biography of Kissinger is good until it reaches the election of Nixon and Kissinger's work in the Nixon administration. At that point Walter Isaacson goes postal and the book turns into a kangaroo court of Nixon and his administration and the topic of the book, Kissinger, becomes just an afterthought. I stopped reading at around the time of the invasion of Cambodia ... the book just became too irrational and devoid of objectivity.
I will try the other Walter Isaacson book I bought (Einstein). Hopefully the distance from, and lack of personal interactions with, the subject will make for a more balanced biography
Kissinger's staggering intellect and powerful charm/ability to manipulate - (take your pick) - are made very clear. His great triumphs - especially the Middle East - and dire misjudgments - especially Vietnam - are laid out objectively, with the author's opinions clearly separated from the facts.
Equally clear are Kissinger's character flaws - ego, volcanic temper and obsession with grabbing both turf and credit.
My only complaint is that the narrative is much less interesting when the author gets into the micro-detail of how x was excluded from a flight on a plane, y was given a less prestigious hotel room location and z was kept out of the loop on a certain topic etc. That Kissinger was just as keen to use his manipulative abilities to advance his personal turf wars as to serve (in his own opinion) the credibility (a word which crops up frequently in the book) of the USA is spelt out clearly. The minutiae of how he did this slows down the narrative.