Synopses & Reviews
With the publication of his magisterial biography of John F. Kennedy, An Unfinished Life
, Robert Dallek cemented his reputation as one of the greatest historians of our time. Now, in this epic joint biography, he offers a provocative, groundbreaking portrait of a pair of outsize leaders whose unlikely partnership dominated the world stage and changed the course of history.
More than thirty years after working side-by-side in the White House, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger remain two of the most compelling, contradictory, and powerful men in America in the second half of the twentieth century. While their personalities could hardly have seemed more different, they were drawn together by the same magnetic force. Both were largely self-made men, brimming with ambition, driven by their own inner demons, and often ruthless in pursuit of their goals. At the height of their power, the collaboration and rivalry between them led to a sweeping series of policies that would leave a defining mark on the Nixon presidency.
Tapping into a wealth of recently declassified archives, Robert Dallek uncovers fascinating details about Nixon and Kissinger's tumultuous personal relationship and the extent to which they struggled to outdo each other in the reach for achievements in foreign affairs. Dallek also brilliantly analyzes their dealings with power brokers at home and abroad—including the nightmare of Vietnam, the unprecedented opening to China, détente with the Soviet Union, the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East, the disastrous overthrow of Allende in Chile, and growing tensions between India and Pakistan—while recognizing how both men were continually plotting to distract the American public's attention from the growing scandal of Watergate. With unprecedented detail, Dallek reveals Nixon's erratic behavior during Watergate and the extent to which Kissinger was complicit in trying to help Nixon use national security to prevent his impeachment or resignation.
Illuminating, authoritative, revelatory, and utterly engrossing, Nixon and Kissinger provides a startling new picture of the immense power and sway these two men held in changing world history.
"Dallek is the first historian to mine thousands of pages of recently declassified transcripts and tapes, and pair them with Inside-the-Beltway memoirs and scholarly assessments of these 'partners in power.' In doing so, he uncovers what made this odd couple tick." San Antonio Express-News
"Dallek's account is long on description and short on analysis. It is, in addition, too monodimensional in its treatment of figures as complex as Nixon and Kissinger." Chicago Tribune
"[A]n encyclopedic and revealing inside look at the two men who essentially if not always effectively ran the world in the early 1970s." Christian Science Monitor
"Drawing upon a wealth of new sources, such as 20,000 pages of transcripts of Kissinger's telephone conversations, Dallek's biography takes us well beyond any previous book on the subject." Oregonian
"[Dallek] has succeeded in drawing a compelling portrait of the two men while analyzing the momentous consequences their foreign policy decisions had on America and the world." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Some of the detail will be daunting for all but the most dedicated policy wonks....But it all adds to the often alarming and always intriguing relationship between these two political titans who shared so much of the world stage at a particularly tumultuous time." Denver Post
"[A]dmirable and important." Boston Globe
"The more than 700 pages of Nixon and Kissinger are crammed not only with scandal but also with insightful descriptions of the most significant foreign policy issues of the period." Dallas Morning News
"Dallek's is an important analysis, based on recently available declassified records and includes important caveats for current policy makers." Library Journal
In this epic and revelatory biography, a distinguished historian probes the lives and times of two unlikely leaders whose partnership dominated the world stage and changed the course of history. 16-page b&w photo insert.
About the Author
Robert Dallek is the author of the number one bestseller
, among other books. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times
, and The Washington Post
. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society of American Historians, for which he served as president in 2004-2005. He lives in Washington, D.C.