On China by Henry Kissinger - review by Jonathan Mirsky

Jonathan Mirsky

What Henry Saw

On China


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 586pp £30 order from our bookshop

Henry Kissinger, sometime Harvard professor, President Nixon’s Secretary of State, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner, says he has been to China ‘more than fifty times’. Of these visits, the most famous was his secret trip to Beijing in 1971, paving the way for Nixon’s journey the year after when Mao Zedong, feeble but still firing on most mental cylinders, laid out his ‘thought’ while Nixon and Kissinger sycophantically praised him. Thereafter, Kissinger went to China a few more times on official business, including by invitation from Deng Xiaoping in 1989 after the Tiananmen killings, when China–US relations were sagging badly.

But more than fifty trips! Journalists apart, no one goes to China that often unless they are doing business there. What Kissinger doesn’t say, although it is mentioned on the inside flap of the book jacket, is that he is the chairman of Kissinger Associates, a firm of

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