Leadership by Henry Kissinger review – lessons in diplomacy from a master of the dark arts

In this analysis of six national leaders, the grand old man of US politics offers a broad-brush history of international statecraft but ignores the death and destruction that sometimes resulted

Christopher Hitchens once called Henry Kissinger a “stupendous liar with a remarkable memory”. Leaving judgment aside on the first part of that description, at 99 Kissinger seems set on proving Hitchens right on the second.

While many people who make it to that age struggle to recall their own name, the grand old man of realpolitik has produced a study of six national leaders – Konrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan Yew and Margaret Thatcher – entitled Leadership. As is evident from the subtitle, Six Studies in World Strategy, Kissinger, the geopolitical guru, is most interested in how leaders act on the world stage rather than, say, if they lie to their parliaments or transgress their own laws.

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In this slim, elegant book, the author of The End of History outlines with crystalline precision why...

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