cover image Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy

Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy

Henry Kissinger. Penguin Press, $36 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-48944-4

One of America’s most legendary diplomats finds the soul in statecraft in these enlightening sketches of world leaders. Former secretary of state Kissinger (World Order) profiles 20th-century potentates, toasting German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer for resurrecting democratic legitimacy from Nazism’s ashes; Charles de Gaulle for his chutzpah in declaring himself the leader of Free France during WWII; Egyptian president Anwar Sadat for his visionary quest for peace with Israel; Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew for creating a modern, multicultural city-state; British prime minister Margaret Thatcher for her stubborn conviction in reviving Britain’s economy and military reach; and Richard Nixon for his finesse in balancing geopolitical rivalries amid endless crises. Kissinger infuses his lucid policy analyses with colorful firsthand observations, quoting, for example, Thatcher’s response to his broaching of possible compromises with Argentina during the Falkland Islands war: “How can you, my old friend? How can you say these things?” Finding moral uplift in these narratives of intricate realpolitik, Kissinger claims that Nixon’s bloody, yearslong exit from the Vietnam War avoided the “spiritual and geopolitical abdication” of a quick withdrawal. Many readers will disagree with that interpretation and others, but Kissinger’s portraits of politicians spinning weakness and defeat into renewed strength are captivating. This is a vital study of power in action. Photos. (July)