Dominic Sandbrook

Little Boy From Germany

The Kissinger Saga: Walter and Henry Kissinger – Two Brothers from Germany

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 240pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

When Henry Kissinger took office as National Security Advisor to Richard Nixon in 1969, he was told to avoid live press conferences like the plague because ordinary Americans would be horrified by his thick Germanic accent. Even two years into Nixon’s first term, most people had never heard Kissinger speak. Only gradually was the rule relaxed, with the result that his voice quickly became the stuff of international parody. In the Inspector Clouseau comedy The Pink Panther Strikes Again, for instance (released in 1976, by which time Nixon had given way to Gerald Ford), a character credited only as ‘Secretary of State’ speaks with an accent so guttural it is hard to make out a word he is saying. Ever since, a comedian has only to don a pair of glasses and affect a heavy Germanic accent, and everyone of a certain generation will know whom he is lampooning.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,