by Henry Kissinger
Published in May 2011
Thibault's Score: 5/5
Before reading this book, I assumed that Henry Kissinger was just another statist war criminal. Maybe he is a war criminal, but he is clearly a genius.
Few diplomats have shifted the fate of the United States more than Kissinger. In his masterpiece, On China, Kissinger recollects his negotiations with the Chinese during the Nixon era. His book is very well written, and, despite its length and academic topic, never loses the reader’s attention.
The book can be divided into roughly 3 parts. The first third of the book focuses on pre-communist Chinese history, and the peculiarities of Chinese culture. The second part of the book focuses on the communist era, and the final third covers Kissinger and the American’s negotiations with the Chinese.
This book has helped me understand Chinese politics on a whole new level, and like many good books, has utterly humbled me.
For example, I only vaguely realized that China and the Soviet Union were rivals. Like many other ignorant westerns, I had assumed that the two communist powers were natural allies rather than natural rivals. Before reading this book, I didn’t realize that China went to war in Vietnam roughly ten years after America invaded the country. I feel ignorant.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about China and its political relationship with the United States.
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