The Best Books on Henry Kissinger and the Kissingerian World View

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Henry Kissinger has cast a long shadow on both the office of Secretary of State but also American foreign policy as a whole. In understanding the US’s role in the world, the first person to understand is Henry Kissinger. This selection of five books are the crucial in any study of Henry Kissinger.

  • 1

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    Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography
    by Thomas A. Schwartz

    Schwartz's book is the best single volume biography of Kissinger. By understanding Kissinger through public opinion and political necessity, Schwartz understands Kissinger's career as it really was.

  • 2

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    Kissinger: Portrait of a Mind
    by Stephen R. Graubard

    The US is not a country that stands out for the brilliance of its statesmen. In that sense, Henry Kissinger is an anachronism. And even among the brilliant, Kissinger stands out. To fully grasp his world view and intellectual work, his friend Stephen Graubard's early book is necessary reading.

  • 3

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    Diplomacy (Touchstone Book)
    by Henry Kissinger

    Henry Kissinger has a clear world view. While he has not always lived up to his prescriptions, Diplomacy is the standard text for understanding international relations in a Kissingerian context.

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    Henry Kissinger and the American Century
    by Jeremi Suri

    Kissinger's path to power was anything but guaranteed. A German-Jewish immigrant in a country that disliked both Germans and Jews, it was through only the unique structures and opportunities that the Cold War provided that Henry Kissinger rose to the height he did. To fully understand this unique path, Suri's book is required reading.

  • 5

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    The Inevitability of Tragedy: Henry Kissinger and His World
    by Barry Gewen

    While one's childhood should not necessarily set the destiny of one's life, it is difficult to understand Kissinger without the context of Nazi Germany. By comparing Kissinger's background with other German-Jewish immigrants of that same time period, Gewen deftly situates Kissinger within his idiosyncratic intellectual context.

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