Christopher Coker

They Deserved Each Other

Nixon: The Invincible Quest

By

Quercus 1152pp £30 order from our bookshop

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power

By

Allen Lane / The Penguin Press 740pp £30 order from our bookshop

On 14 February 1971 André Malraux visited the President of the United States and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, who was already secretly planning the coup de théâtre of the Nixon presidency: the visit to China. Malraux said absolutely nothing that would be of any assistance to Nixon during his own visit, but, in a manner cultivated by the French, spoke mostly in allegory. Mao, he claimed, had had ‘a fantastic destiny … You may think he will be addressing you, but in truth he will be addressing Death … There’s something of the sorcerer in him. He’s a man inhabited by a vision, possessed by it … No one will know if you succeed, Mr President, for at least fifty years. The Chinese are very patient’. After Malraux left, Kissinger flattered the President: ‘I thought your questions were very intelligent.’ Nixon: ‘I tried to keep him going.’ Kissinger: ‘Well, you did it very beautifully.’ In Nixon’s presence, Kissinger was invariably sycophantic.

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

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • 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… ,