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In this first volume of his memoirs, Dr Kissinger covers his first four years (1969-1973) as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs - and President Nixon's closest adviser on foreign policy. It is undoubtedly the most significant book to come out of the Nixon Administration. Among the countless great and critical moments Dr Kissinger recalls are his first In this first volume of his memoirs, Dr Kissinger covers his first four years (1969-1973) as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs - and President Nixon's closest adviser on foreign policy. It is undoubtedly the most significant book to come out of the Nixon Administration. Among the countless great and critical moments Dr Kissinger recalls are his first meeting with Nixon, his secret trip to China, the first SALT negotiation, the Jordan crisis of 1970, the India-Pakistan war of 1971, and the historic summit meetings in Peking and Moscow. He covers the major controversies over Indochina policy during that period, including events in Laos, the overthrow of Cambodia's Prince Sihanouk, his secret talks with the North Vietnamese in Paris, his 'Peace is at hand' press conference, and the breakdown of the talks that led to the 'Christmas bombing' of 1972. He offers his insight s into the Middle East conflicts, Sadat's break with the Soviets, the election of Salvador Allende in Chile, issues of defense strategy, and relations with Europe and Japan.Other highlights are his relationship with Nixon, brilliant portraits of major foreign leaders, and his views as to the handling of crises and the art of diplomacy. Few men have wielded as much influence in the arena of American foreign policy as Henry Kissinger. This record makes an invaluable and lasting contribution to the history of this crucial time.


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In this first volume of his memoirs, Dr Kissinger covers his first four years (1969-1973) as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs - and President Nixon's closest adviser on foreign policy. It is undoubtedly the most significant book to come out of the Nixon Administration. Among the countless great and critical moments Dr Kissinger recalls are his first In this first volume of his memoirs, Dr Kissinger covers his first four years (1969-1973) as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs - and President Nixon's closest adviser on foreign policy. It is undoubtedly the most significant book to come out of the Nixon Administration. Among the countless great and critical moments Dr Kissinger recalls are his first meeting with Nixon, his secret trip to China, the first SALT negotiation, the Jordan crisis of 1970, the India-Pakistan war of 1971, and the historic summit meetings in Peking and Moscow. He covers the major controversies over Indochina policy during that period, including events in Laos, the overthrow of Cambodia's Prince Sihanouk, his secret talks with the North Vietnamese in Paris, his 'Peace is at hand' press conference, and the breakdown of the talks that led to the 'Christmas bombing' of 1972. He offers his insight s into the Middle East conflicts, Sadat's break with the Soviets, the election of Salvador Allende in Chile, issues of defense strategy, and relations with Europe and Japan.Other highlights are his relationship with Nixon, brilliant portraits of major foreign leaders, and his views as to the handling of crises and the art of diplomacy. Few men have wielded as much influence in the arena of American foreign policy as Henry Kissinger. This record makes an invaluable and lasting contribution to the history of this crucial time.

30 review for The White House Years

  1. 5 out of 5

    Yazeed AlMogren

    كتاب سياسي وليس شخصي يحكي عن الحوادث السياسية في الحرب الباردة وكيف كان وزير الخارجية الأمريكي هنري كيسنجر يتعامل مع تلك الأحداث، أعتقد مفيد لمن يريد إجراء بحوث أو لمن يشغر وظيفة دبلوماسية

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Huff

    At 1,476 pages, I'm pretty certain its the longest book I've ever read --- and I was quite careful to not drop it on my foot (or my face, while reading in bed). It was a very impressive, and exhaustively detailed account of Kissinger's first 4 years in the Nixon administration, 1968-1972. So much went on in that time frame, and I see it with different eyes now than I did as a high school student during that same period. You'll learn as much about Nixon, and many other world leaders of the era, a At 1,476 pages, I'm pretty certain its the longest book I've ever read --- and I was quite careful to not drop it on my foot (or my face, while reading in bed). It was a very impressive, and exhaustively detailed account of Kissinger's first 4 years in the Nixon administration, 1968-1972. So much went on in that time frame, and I see it with different eyes now than I did as a high school student during that same period. You'll learn as much about Nixon, and many other world leaders of the era, as you do about Kissinger, and as an historical account this book is a treasure trove for future generations. I know that for many, Nixon and Kissinger were polarizing figures, but there is still much insight to be gained from such a well-written, well-detailed first hand account from one who was at the center of the storm. And, yes, it is exhaustively detailed!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meihan Liu

    Noticed that someone rated it two stars saying that "it's a five star book as far as historic record but for regular folk a 2-star endeavor. " Well, that's the very reason why that there are extraordinary people like the author of this book living the most exciting life one can ever imagine and making history of the human race during one of the most exciting periods of human history, and there are regular folks writing reviews that make no sense and yet still questioning the wisdom or legacy of Noticed that someone rated it two stars saying that "it's a five star book as far as historic record but for regular folk a 2-star endeavor. " Well, that's the very reason why that there are extraordinary people like the author of this book living the most exciting life one can ever imagine and making history of the human race during one of the most exciting periods of human history, and there are regular folks writing reviews that make no sense and yet still questioning the wisdom or legacy of the former kind.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Locklear

    This is the other book that I closed-out last night (the first was Jon Meacham's "American Lion"). I was hoping, though lengthy, that Henry Kissinger's "White House Years" would be worth the time and effort. But I decided last night to call it an end. I do believe that Dr. Kissinger enjoys writing about his career more that I could enjoy reading about it. The farthest that I could drag myself was around page 150. (In Meacham's book I only read the first hundred or so pages; not nearly the 150 This is the other book that I closed-out last night (the first was Jon Meacham's "American Lion"). I was hoping, though lengthy, that Henry Kissinger's "White House Years" would be worth the time and effort. But I decided last night to call it an end. I do believe that Dr. Kissinger enjoys writing about his career more that I could enjoy reading about it. The farthest that I could drag myself was around page 150. (In Meacham's book I only read the first hundred or so pages; not nearly the 150 that I mentioned in my review).

  5. 4 out of 5

    muaad alqaydy

    "الساسة الغرب لا يعنون ما يقولون في تصريحاتهم، وحين يعنونه ، يطبقونه بطريقة تجعل ما قالوه لا علاقة له بما طبقوه" هذا ما أوحت به مذكرات هذا الثعب بارد القلب الكثير من التفكير السياسي والكثير من الصراحة والكثير من المعلومات عن كيف يُتخذ القرار الأمريكي ، وشخصية هذا الرجل الطموح المغرور ، خريج هارفارد والباحث عن السلطة بقلبه وعقله .. ولعب توازنات القوى .. والسياسات الخلفية التي لا يعرف حقيقتها إلا بعد زمن.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Ok so this is how you write a 1400 page book without wasting people's time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bill Manzi

    This book, due to length and level of detail, will not be for everyone. But it is a vitally important work for those who want to understand some of the critical foreign policy events in American history. This book deals with Kissinger's tenure as Richard Nixon's National Security Advisor from 1969-1972, and is the first volume of his memoirs. An astounding amount of history is compressed into that time period, including the Nixon opening to China, the intractable problems of the Middle East, wit This book, due to length and level of detail, will not be for everyone. But it is a vitally important work for those who want to understand some of the critical foreign policy events in American history. This book deals with Kissinger's tenure as Richard Nixon's National Security Advisor from 1969-1972, and is the first volume of his memoirs. An astounding amount of history is compressed into that time period, including the Nixon opening to China, the intractable problems of the Middle East, with special focus on the triangular diplomacy involving the Soviet Union, Egypt, and the United States, the war in Vietnam, and the exceedingly tortured negotiations to end that war, (with a good look at the Nixon decisions on the excursion into Cambodia, the "Christmas Bombing", and the self described "brutal" treatment of the recalcitrant South Vietnamese as agreement neared), and the Indo-Pakistan war, and the "tilt" towards Pakistan. Any one of those items would be a book in itself, and the fact that Kissinger not only kept all of those balls in the air but manages, through this volume, to show how they were all "connected" is a testament to his brilliance. Dr. Kissinger has many detractors, and Nixon Administration policies, especially with regard to Vietnam, have drawn severe criticism over the years. Kissinger takes those critics on directly, and makes some strong and compelling arguments to justify his policy recommendations. Vietnam was a tragic error for the United States, but Kissinger brings an up close perspective to why many of the important players acted the way they did. Kissinger's devotion to the "realist" school of diplomacy is evident through his actions and policy prescriptions described in this volume. His hard headed and "realistic" approach to bargaining are laid out clearly in his approach to the negotiations with North Vietnam, where he recognized that an unfavorable "balance of forces" on the ground would lead to an unsatisfactory outcome from the perspective of the U.S. His devotion to "equilibrium" govern his negotiations on SALT, and advise his relationship and policy recommendations with the Soviets. For the historian this book is essential. Kissinger dealt with some of the very true giants of this (or any other era), including Chou En-Lai, Indira Ghandi, Le Duc Tho, Leonid Breznhev, Andrei Gromyko, Mao Tse Tung, Moshe Dayan, Anwar Sadat, Golda Meir, and so many others. He seems to me to be exceedingly honest about his relationship with Richard Nixon, who he described as brooding, lonely, and filled with resentment towards so many. He, in my opinion, fairly describes some of the dysfunction of the foreign policy methodology of the first term Nixon Administration, and takes some of the blame onto himself. (The relationship with Secretary of State William Rodgers is a big part of this dysfunction) Kissinger is writing to make sure history records his perspective, but he does so in a way that brings valuable insight to a critical time in U.S. foreign policy, when change and bold steps produced much disruption in this arena. Love them or hate them the Nixon-Kissinger team shook US foreign policy and produced real change that impacts us to this very day. A must read for those who love history or foreign policy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Million

    Wow - reading this book felt like I was taking a graduate-level college course on American foreign policy and diplomacy. A massive tome by Kissinger, one of the heavyweights of the Nixon and Ford Administrations. Incredibly, the 1,476 pages only takes the reader up the end of the first four years of his tenure as National Security Advisor. I liked how Kissinger divided this book up: by year but - within the year - by subject matter (or, more specifically for this venture, by country). He deftly Wow - reading this book felt like I was taking a graduate-level college course on American foreign policy and diplomacy. A massive tome by Kissinger, one of the heavyweights of the Nixon and Ford Administrations. Incredibly, the 1,476 pages only takes the reader up the end of the first four years of his tenure as National Security Advisor. I liked how Kissinger divided this book up: by year but - within the year - by subject matter (or, more specifically for this venture, by country). He deftly moves between trying to conclude the Vietnam War, establishing relationships with the USSR and China, arranging ground-breaking summits in both of those Communist-controlled countries, relationships with European countries, simmering issues in the Middle East, the India-Pakistan crisis of 1971, and Chile. Interspersed throughout all of the chapters are his assessments of the leaders that he was dealing with: their strengths, flaws, tendencies, and negotiating strategies. This is, obviously, Kissinger's view of history and certainly nobody comes out looking better than he does. He mentions his ego so frequently that I think it almost became a character in the book. He does admit to vanity in several instances, specifically concerning his fight for attention and prominence with Secretary of State William Rogers. He also admits times when he was wrong, and he does give ample credit to other individuals on several occasions (Ellsworth Bunker, Nixon, Chou En-Lai, Dean Acheson, Melvin Laird, John Connally, to name a few). For me, the most interesting parts of the book dealt with the Vietnamese peace negotiations (excruciating to be sure - I am not sure how anyone could have withstood the intense daily pressure that Kissinger and many others were subjected to), and his observations about Richard Nixon. I thought he was surprisingly forthcoming about their relationship, and he paints a well-formed portrait of a tortured, lonely, paranoid man. Reading about Nixon from Kissinger's viewpoint helps to understand why his presidency disintegrated shortly after the period that this book covers. Overall, essential reading for anyone specifically interested in U.S. diplomacy, foreign policy, Cold War history, Vietnam War history, or the Nixon presidency.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Harder

    The White House Years is an excruciatingly detailed memoir of Kissinger’s statecraft from 1969 to 1973. This book is an invaluable resource, recounting our opening of China, the Vietnam peace talks and the Indo-Pakistan war. However if you are not a scholar of diplomacy (I most assuredly am not), I question if one’s time might be better spent than wading through 1,400 pages or relatively dry stuff. This is a 5 star book as far as historical record, but for regular folk it is a 2 star endeavor.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Youssef Mahmoud

    قرأت المذكرات بحثًا عن وجهة النظر الأخرى حول حرب أكتوبر.. لكن الجزء الأول لم يصل إلى وقت الحرب، وآخر ما فيه كان في سنة ١٩٧٠. يبقى أن الكتاب مليء بالتفاصيل، وفيه بعض الأجزاء حول حرب الاستزاف (حرب عصابات كما سماها كيسنجر) وعن الوضع في الدول العربية المحيطة بإسرائيل.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Monette

    Read that book in US history in college. You can read it like a novel!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Hung

    This memoir was written before Kissinger setting up the consultancy firm that deals with sensitive geopolitical issues, so one is right to expect that this volume shall be free of conflict of interests with his clients, albeit always in a relative sense. Whether or not this memoir is more frank than other more recent publications by Kissinger, it is so common to observe his traits/convictions in foreign policy: 1) He regards human rights as a trivial issue and less important than maintaining bala This memoir was written before Kissinger setting up the consultancy firm that deals with sensitive geopolitical issues, so one is right to expect that this volume shall be free of conflict of interests with his clients, albeit always in a relative sense. Whether or not this memoir is more frank than other more recent publications by Kissinger, it is so common to observe his traits/convictions in foreign policy: 1) He regards human rights as a trivial issue and less important than maintaining balance of power. 2) Public opinion is considered to be an obstacle to successful foreign policy as it somewhat at odds with his secret style of dealing with foreign counterparts. The controversies aside, with myriads of details, I appreciate his concerted effort in defending American interest in the midst of turmoil. His deep reflection in dealing with North Vietnam (as well as South Vietnam) is frank and thoughtful. With the hindsight one can dismiss his effort by the eventual fall of South Vietnam and the so-called "Domino Theory", but given the anti-war atmosphere in Congress and public, I think he already did his best in the formulation of Vietnamization policy at that time. He also justified the bombings while negotiation by pointing out the fact that the stance of North Vietnam Government softened by demonstration of American military power. This is a bold decision and cannot be free of controversy, but I wonder if there are any alternatives (say unilateral withdrawal?) to better serve the American national interest. For opening with China, it is unfortunate that China has filled the vacuum of Soviet Union and becomes the main threat of global liberal order. The opening was also in the timing of Cultural Revolution when the violation of human right was so blatant (so is China now, probably). But one thing very clear is that the foreign policy of PRC, led by Zhou Enlai, was executed in a very pragmatic way and free of obsessions with ideological struggle, whereas the 'fighting spirit' initiated by Xi Jinping in foreign policy is considered to be complacent and threatening. Kissinger, praised to be an 'old friend of Chinese people' by PRC, probably won't criticised PRC in an open manner, but an intelligent scholar and an experienced diplomat like him shall have felt these not so subtle differences in Chinese foreign policy. Apart from some minute technical details that he considered necessary, his narration of events is engrossing and page turning. His descriptions of personalities and interaction with his government colleagues (Nixon, Haldeman, Rogers, and his staff in NSC) and counterparts (Le Duc Tho, Nguyen Van Thieu, Zhou Enlai, Mao Zedong, Brezhnev, Drobynin) are insightful and often humorous. After all, while I agree with some other commenters that it won't be a book for everyone, you will learn a lot of wisdom by what he said (or what he omitted).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    Reading Kissinger's three memoirs was perfect to reflect 45 years. Also it is a great way to evaluate today's paradigms to our paradigms of 45 years ago. Also reading his first memoir (1968-1972) last gives one a real different perspective. Everyone should read this now. You might learn something that our media tells us different today.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liedzeit

    To be honest, I do not remember much about this book, except that I was rather proud of reading about one of our guys who has made it in the US. And I remember that he was a fan of Fürth. - I respect Christopher Hitchens but chose to have some doubts about his view about the man.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amr Elroby

    واحد من اههم الكتب السياسة , لعراب السياسة الخارجية الامريكية فى فترة مهمة من الحرب الباردة , ان صح ان يتم تلخيص الكتباب فى جملة فهى ادارة السياسة باسلوب علمى فصاحب المذكرات كان شغوف بتطبيق كل جديد حتى نظرية game theroy طبقها فى السياسة

  16. 4 out of 5

    عبدالرحمن عيد

    لابد للإنسان من المجازفة في حالة الشدة.

  17. 4 out of 5

    ياسر

    في هذا المجلد اعتراف صريح بالعصيان الفيتنامي وكيف استطاعت الدولة تحطيم هيبة اعظم قوة في العالم وغادرت امريكا تجر خيبتها

  18. 4 out of 5

    SALAH ALMAHMEED

    مفيدة

  19. 4 out of 5

    Badr Aleissa

    بغض النظر عن السياسة الامريكية وعن معتقدات الشخص ...المذكرات مفيدة بدعم بعض الحقاىق المغيبة ..لنقل وجهة نظر اخرى

  20. 4 out of 5

    Martti Kahra

    This book is hands down the best book I have read so far. Granted, its not made for everybody. But I'm a sucker for political memoirs and I'm especially fascinated by Kissinger and the time period he describes. Reading this book you almost feel as if you were Kissinger's close associate; examining documents, preparing for meetings and negotiations, and best of all, listening to Dr. Kissinger's extensively thought out logic and reasoning at every turn. Reading this book you really gain a feel for This book is hands down the best book I have read so far. Granted, its not made for everybody. But I'm a sucker for political memoirs and I'm especially fascinated by Kissinger and the time period he describes. Reading this book you almost feel as if you were Kissinger's close associate; examining documents, preparing for meetings and negotiations, and best of all, listening to Dr. Kissinger's extensively thought out logic and reasoning at every turn. Reading this book you really gain a feel for what it's like to sit at a table across from men like Le Duc Tho, Brezhnev, and Zhou Enlai. Dr. Kissinger's writing is of a level all on its own; it's almost in itself fascinating to read a text where it seems the English language has been stretched to its outer limits in so eloquently, yet understandably, portraying the times, the people, and the concepts he dealt with as National Security Advisor. In that sense this memoir is a work of art. In my opinion, the only negative thing about the book (other that its sheer physical size!), is that after reading this book, every other memoir out there seems severely lacking and inadequate.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hend mostafa

    فى البداية الساسة الاوروبين والامريكيين لا يختلفوا كتيرا عن بعض خصوصا فى الفترة اللى سماها كيسنجر عهد ناصر اذا لم تكن معناوفى ركبنا ستصبح متطرف متعصب راديكالى وبالطبع الثناء سيكون للساسة اكثر قربا من الولايات المتحدة مثل الملك حسين اللى اثنى علية اكثر من مرة ووصفة بالشجاعة وكذلك عند ذكر السادات وصفة بالكبير ,, لا اعلم عنة الشجاعة ما جمع كسينجر وحسين الانتهازية فالشخصيين مطابقين تماما فــ ثناء كسينجر والمواقف التى اتخذها الجانبين للحفاظ على بقائة فى السلطة اثناءاحداث ايلول الاسود واوشك الامر على فى البداية الساسة الاوروبين والامريكيين لا يختلفوا كتيرا عن بعض خصوصا فى الفترة اللى سماها كيسنجر عهد ناصر اذا لم تكن معناوفى ركبنا ستصبح متطرف متعصب راديكالى وبالطبع الثناء سيكون للساسة اكثر قربا من الولايات المتحدة مثل الملك حسين اللى اثنى علية اكثر من مرة ووصفة بالشجاعة وكذلك عند ذكر السادات وصفة بالكبير ,, لا اعلم عنة الشجاعة ما جمع كسينجر وحسين الانتهازية فالشخصيين مطابقين تماما فــ ثناء كسينجر والمواقف التى اتخذها الجانبين للحفاظ على بقائة فى السلطة اثناءاحداث ايلول الاسود واوشك الامر على تدخل اسرائيل لصالح الملك موقف مخزى وليس بثناء على الاطلاق بل ادانة الملك,, من المخزى ان يصف ناصر بانة تابع للاتحاد السوفيتى اذا كانت الولايات المتحدة لم تستطيع ان تجعلة تابع لها فكيف فعلها الروس !! كيسنجر رجل انحاز لاسرائيل ودة واضح جدا فمثلا فى مسألة حرب الاستنزاف ذكر وبالتفاصيل اعداد القتلى المدنيين والعسكريين والجرحى ولم يذكر نهائيا اى تفاصيل عن الوضع المصرى وكانة الاطفال العرب والمصريين اللى قصفت مدارسهم لا شئ يذكر ,,,, الشئ الوحيد اللى اتفق فية مع كيسنجر انة عصر ناصر عصرنا الذهبى وارداتنا الحرة

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arnold

    Like him or loathe him he was still one of the great di0plomatic and strategic thinkers of the 20th century or almost any century. Sometimes struggles with the delicacies of the English language and can perhaps never completely live down his years with Richard Nixon at the White House and some of the most egregious political crimes committed around the world by any administration. But the book is an absolute must for any student of modern politics

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Keehr

    I slogged through this tome because I wanted to know what it was like to live at that level. This man made decisions that affected millions of lives and he did it with amazing discipline and intelligence. I know he is vilified as a war criminal in many circles. And of course he was not going to reveal any malice in his own retelling of his actions. But as pure history it is fascinating.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hans

    Long and not a great read, I abandoned

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mirosław Aleksander

    "Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize." Tom Lehrer

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mohmmed Ameen

    الكتاب بإختصار مفيدا جداً لطلبة العلوم السياسية وخاصة المتخصصين في العلاقات الدولية

  27. 4 out of 5

    يحيى عمر

    كتاب مهم للمهتمين بالسياسة الأمريكية

  28. 4 out of 5

    Burt Schoeppe

    Very in-depth. The longest book I have ever read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jonnie Enloe

    Like all his books, be prepared to get out your dictionary. It is not an objective book. It is a Kissinger Book from his vantage point. Still and excellent read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Richard Lin

    on page 700 something.....

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