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Niall Ferguson

Kissinger: The Idealist, 1923-1968

Hay Festival 2016, 

No American statesman has been as revered and as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Hailed by some as the ‘indispensable man’, whose advice has been sought by every president from John F Kennedy to George W Bush, he has also attracted immense hostility from critics who have cast him as an amoral Machiavellian – the ultimate, cold-blooded ‘realist’. In his first volume of biography, the historian examines Kissinger’s early life (as a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, a poor immigrant in New York, a GI at the Battle of the Bulge, an interrogator of Nazis, and a student of history at Harvard) to understand his debt to the philosophy of idealism. By tracing his rise, fall and revival as an adviser to Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, Ferguson assesses Kissinger’s contribution to the theory of diplomacy, grand strategy and nuclear deterrence.

Niall Ferguson