Saturday, July 14, 2007

Jeremi Suri's "Henry Kissinger and the American Century"

Jeremi Suri is a history professor at the University of Wisconsin. His publications include The Global Revolutions of 1968 and Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of D├ętente.

He applied the "Page 99 Test" to his new book, Henry Kissinger and the American Century, and reported the following:
I will begin by quoting the first sentences on page 99 of Henry Kissinger and the American Century:

"If he were not a German Jew, Kissinger would have lived a very different life. His experiences reflected the intersection of the Cold War and Jewish mobility in the post-1945 world."

Everyone has an opinion about Kissinger's policies, but few people have examined how he made his career. My book shows that Kissinger was not a strategic genius or an amoral elitist, but instead a product of his times. Kissinger's policies reflected his pessimism about democracy, born of his experiences as a German-Jew in Nazi Germany. As an immigrant to the United States, he believed that only strong state power could assure security, mobility, and comfort for "ordinary" citizens. He became an influential policy adviser by drawing on his European intellectual networks and crafting practical policy alternatives for leaders -- like John Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and now George W. Bush -- who sought to assure American international power without full-scale war. Kissinger's career reflected the dominant trends in politics, society, and culture from the 1930s to the present. He is not exceptional. He is one of us.
Learn more about Henry Kissinger and the American Century, and read an excerpt, at the Harvard University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue