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Years of Renewal (1957)

de Henry Kissinger

Séries: Kissinger's Memoirs (Volume 3)

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289268,553 (3.33)17
Perhaps the best-known American diplomatist of the twentieth century, Henry Kissinger is a major figure in world history, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and arguably one of the most brilliant minds ever placed at the service of American foreign policy, as well as one of the shrewdest, best-informed, and most articulate men ever to occupy a position of power in Washington.The eagerly awaited third and final volume of his memoirs completes a major work of contemporary history. It is at once an important historical document and a brilliantly told narrative of almost Shakespearean intensity, full of startling insights, unusual (and often unsparing) candor, and a sweeping sense of history.Years of Renewalis the triumphant conclusion of a major achievement and a book that will stand the test of time as a historical document of the first rank.… (mais)
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I have to admit, the bastard can write. It's frankly a gift that we have such a clear-sighted and readable account of what went on in the mind of one of the most consequential (for good and for very bad) statesmen of the 20th century. While it didn't make me come out on Kissinger's side, it did bring home that he was very often the voice of reason in a truly scary White House. That the roots of Reagan/Bush-style neoconservatism were already present in the Nixon and Ford administrations is very clear in this volume, even if Kissinger doesn't quite address it. ( )
  Roeghmann | Dec 8, 2019 |
Henry Kissinger wrote his final volume of memoirs, Years of Renewal, in 1999, at the cusp of the new millennium and in the final years of the Clinton Administration. Why did he wait nearly two decades to publish this volume? White House Years came out in 1979 amidst the foreign policy disasters of President Jimmy Carter. The book’s tone, coupled with its colossal size, exudes an Ivy League public intellectual’s not-so-veiled justification for his service in the Nixon Administration and its foreign policy successes. It is a classic example of using the genre of the political memoir to explain why Kissinger was on the right side of history. In the late Seventies, with the Gas Crisis, the Hostage Crisis, and an earnest, honest, utterly inept Georgia peanut farmer in the Oval Office, it seemed Kissinger made a compelling case.

The second volume, Years of Upheaval, arrived in 1981, ready for the bookshelves of Reagan Revolution apparatchiks. With the Gipper residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue playing the greatest role of his career (not counting the movie he did with the chimp), America was ready for a change, including deregulating the banking industry and a little missiles-for-hostages do-se-do. The Nixon Crew was never well liked among the Movement Republicans, with Watergate as the Five O’clock Shadow of Executive Privilege Run Amok. Richard Nixon, the Grand Poobah of Red-baiters, poor Quaker son from Whittier, California, entered the White House on a strong platform of Law and Order, ended up dragging nearly his entire administration to the slammer in a political apocalypse of criminality, corruption, and paranoia. Kissinger gives an insider view of the slow-motion train wreck of Watergate and how the Nixon White House under siege undermined its foreign policy goals. The best bits are the conversations with the various dictators, despots, and deranged authoritarians, all comforting Henry K. by saying, “In our country, Watergate would never happen.” They should know, since they have the disappearances, mass graves, and Black Marias to prove it. But hey, at least those murderous psychopaths with absolute power weren’t Communists.

The first and second volumes each topped out with at one thousand pages (White House Years is a ludicrous 1400 pages long). Years of Renewal, by contrast, has only 1079 pages (not counting the Notes and Index). Besides the short length, Kissinger spends ninety pages summarizing Nixon’s foreign policy legacy, Nixon’s personal background, and justifying the crimes of Watergate. By all accounts, Years of Renewal comes off as rather slight.

Kissinger’s final volume recounts his years in the Ford Administration and the array of foreign policy challenges ranging from apartheid to ethnic wars and even a little piracy. The post-Nixon White House is a chronicle of a foredoomed presidency, the end of shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East, the unraveling of détente, and the rise of the neoconservatives in the Republican Party. Kissinger regales the reader with his trademark style, an admixture of academic pedantry, sly wit, and diplomatic genius.

For a much longer critique of Kissinger's shenanigans in the Ford Years, see the link below:

http://driftlessareareview.com/2012/06/25/years-of-renewal-1999-by-henry-kissing... ( )
  kswolff | Jun 24, 2012 |
Exibindo 2 de 2
Working from archives not yet open to historians, Kissinger has produced the memoirist's equivalent of a battleship, intimidating in appearance, heavy with armor and bristling with armaments, equipped to fire salvos at past critics while launching pre-emptive strikes against histories as yet unwritten. It is, by any standard, a remarkable achievement.
 

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Perhaps the best-known American diplomatist of the twentieth century, Henry Kissinger is a major figure in world history, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and arguably one of the most brilliant minds ever placed at the service of American foreign policy, as well as one of the shrewdest, best-informed, and most articulate men ever to occupy a position of power in Washington.The eagerly awaited third and final volume of his memoirs completes a major work of contemporary history. It is at once an important historical document and a brilliantly told narrative of almost Shakespearean intensity, full of startling insights, unusual (and often unsparing) candor, and a sweeping sense of history.Years of Renewalis the triumphant conclusion of a major achievement and a book that will stand the test of time as a historical document of the first rank.

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