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Download Kissinger: 1973, the Crucial Year epub

by Alistair Horne

A portrait of the controversial presidential advisor during a critical year in his career covers topics from the signing of the pact to end the war in Vietnam and his appointment as secretary of state to his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Watergate scandal.
Download Kissinger: 1973, the Crucial Year epub
ISBN: 0743272838
ISBN13: 978-0743272834
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Historical
Author: Alistair Horne
Language: English
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1St Edition edition (June 16, 2009)
Pages: 480 pages
ePUB size: 1703 kb
FB2 size: 1757 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 973
Other Formats: docx lrf rtf lit

Good to read
The author is a famed British historian who has written extensively on French and to a lesser extent, British history. Although I haven't read all of his previous books, the ones I have, including his trilogy on the battles for France in the Franco-Prussian War, World War I and World War II, I found very good. When this book was published I noted the change in topic for this author as well as the minimal fanfare it received. After reading Kissinger, 1973, The Crucial Year, I now understand the minimal splash the book made, suggesting that the author's change of venue may not have been a wise choice.

According to Horne's introduction, he was approached to write a full length biography on Henry Kissinger. After assessing the task, including Kissinger's own memoirs and literally the tons of raw data, i.e. the Kissinger papers, Horne declined the offer. Then after second thoughts Horne approached his publisher and Kissinger and requested this project - "a year in the life" of Kissinger volume - which sounded like a sound plan, providing a focus on the subject's turbulent times.

Unfortunately the plan soon goes awry with the reading. First, for anyone familiar with Kissinger and the Nixon administration, there is very little if anything new here. Second, the author bounces back and forth in chronological time with anecdotes and observations while filling in the back-story of Kissinger's actions, trips, failures and accomplishments, as he dealt with the end of the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, (the best section of the book), and détente. Lurking in the background is Watergate, which is mentioned repeatedly although never fully developed.

What this reader found most disconcerting though was the author's insertion into the narrative of both himself - including dinners, lunches, banquets and private meetings with the subject and others over the last 30+ years - and inexplicably, the titles of just about every book he has written. At times it was unclear if this book was a dry run at an autobiography or at the very least least an attempt by Horne to be "coaxed" into writing one.

Much like Robert Dallek's book of 2007, Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, although for different reasons, I was disappointed after finishing this book. Walter Issacson's 1992 biography is still by far the best on this subject.
Thirty five years after Richard Nixon's August 1974 resignation as president, the well regarded English historian, Alistair Horne, has written an informative and balanced examination of Henry Kissinger's 1973 tenure as Nixon's national security director and secretary of state. Horne travels a long road focusing on Henry Kissinger's first trip to China, followed by Nixon's 1972 trip, the 1973 Paris peace talks, the US's detente with Russia, the failed Year of Europe, the 1973 Yom Kippur War and his famous shuttle diplomacy securing Israel's final Sinai withdrawal; all heavily overlaid with the looming Watergate scandal and its impact leading to Nixon's resignation. Horne's credentials as a judge of history are impressive and he does not fail the reader. The book is convincing with facts and quotes and a thorough synthesis of memoirs, interviews and other source material. He does not skimp with details and provides interesting cameos and asides of the major players. This is true history told from the perspective of time and reflection; his conclusions are dispassionate and sensible. One is fascinated with Kissinger's adroitness in handling negotiations with Brezhnev, Sadat, Zhou En Lai, Golda Meir and the subtle nuances of his diplomacy forcing the withdrawal of the Israelis from the Sinai. Fact checking gaffes however mar the story line; he confuses "John McCord" and "James McCord" of Watergate infamy, there was only one James McCord, a defendant in the first Watergate trial. His claim that the House of Representative had no power over Kissinger ignores the House's power of the purse and the power of subpoena. Horne's claim that Nixon was "incapacitated" for DEFCON 3 and that this was one of "the most critical meetings in US - indeed, world- history since 1945" is an exaggeration. Horne's jumps on George W. Bush contending he fired one of his White House chief of staff but that contention has no basis. Rightly turning on the Watergate media, "the witch doctors of the media," he sees a feeding frenzy on Nixon and Kissinger with adverse historical consequences for American foreign policy. What is notable is that this is a balanced treatment of Richard Nixon foreign policy contributions without the typical slanted American scream.