Over the past six decades, Henry Kissinger has been America’s most consistently praised—and reviled—public figure. He was hailed as a “miracle worker” for his peacemaking in the Middle East and pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union. He was assailed from both the left and the right for his indifference to human rights, his complicity in the pointless sacrifice of American and Vietnamese lives, and his reliance on deception and intrigue. Was he a brilliant master strategist—the twentieth century’s greatest nineteenth century statesman—or a cold-blooded monster?
In this masterfully researched biography, the renowned diplomatic historian Thomas A. Schwartz offers an authoritative and fair-minded answer to this question. While other biographers have engaged in hagiography or demonology, Schwartz takes a measured view of his subject. Throughout, Schwartz stresses Kissinger’s artful invention of himself as a celebrity diplomat and his domination of the medium of television news. He also notes Kissinger’s sensitivity to domestic and partisan politics, complicating—and undermining—the image of the far-seeing statesman who stands above the squabbles of popular strife.
Rounded and textured, and rich with new insights into key dilemmas, Henry Kissinger and American Power stands as an essential guide to a man whose legacy is as complex as the last sixty years of U.S. history itself.