Book Review:World Order by Henry Kissenger

  • ISIN: 9781594206146
  • Genre: Nonfiction/ Global Economy/ International affairs
  • Publishers: PenguinRandom House
  • Price: Rs. 2050/- [I got this book from the publisher for a review]
Henry Kissinger offers in World Order a deep meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era—advising presidents, traveling the world, observing and shaping the central foreign policy events of recent decades—Kissinger now reveals his analysis of the ultimate challenge for the twenty-first century: how to build a shared international order in a world of divergent historical perspectives, violent conflict, proliferating technology, and ideological extremism.

There has never been a true “world order,” Kissinger observes. For most of history, civilizations defined their own concepts of order. Each considered itself the center of the world and envisioned its distinct principles as universally relevant. China conceived of a global cultural hierarchy with the Emperor at its pinnacle. In Europe, Rome imagined itself surrounded by barbarians; when Rome fragmented, European peoples refined a concept of an equilibrium of sovereign states and sought to export it across the world. Islam, in its early centuries, considered itself the world’s sole legitimate political unit, destined to expand indefinitely until the world was brought into harmony by religious principles. The United States was born of a conviction about the universal applicability of democracy—a conviction that has guided its policies ever since.

Now international affairs take place on a global basis, and these historical concepts of world order are meeting. Every region participates in questions of high policy in every other, often instantaneously. Yet there is no consensus among the major actors about the rules and limits guiding this process, or its ultimate destination. The result is mounting tension.

Grounded in Kissinger’s deep study of history and his experience as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, World Order guides readers through crucial episodes in recent world history. Kissinger offers a unique glimpse into the inner deliberations of the Nixon administration’s negotiations with Hanoi over the end of the Vietnam War, as well as Ronald Reagan’s tense debates with Soviet Premier Gorbachev in Reykjavík. He offers compelling insights into the future of U.S.–China relations and the evolution of the European Union, and examines lessons of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Taking readers from his analysis of nuclear negotiations with Iran through the West’s response to the Arab Spring and tensions with Russia over Ukraine, World Order anchors Kissinger’s historical analysis in the decisive events of our time.

Provocative and articulate, blending historical insight with geopolitical prognostication, World Order is a unique work that could come only from a lifelong policymaker and diplomat.

Behind The book

About the author

Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger) is a German-born American bureaucrat, diplomat, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the Richard Nixon administration. Kissinger emerged unscathed from the Watergate scandal, and maintained his powerful position when Gerald Ford became President.

A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente.

During his time in the Nixon and Ford administrations he cut a flamboyant figure, appearing at social occasions with many celebrities. His foreign policy record made him a nemesis to the anti-war left and the anti-communist right alike.

Me thinks

Having specialised in Strategic Finance during my masters economics was always my favourite sujbect, esp. International Economics. I have admired Henry Kissenger since my student days having been reading his work on and off. This book is my most prized possession till date for it combines two of my loves - Henry Kissenger and International Economics. 

Before I begin my review let me be very specific that it is not something to be read, this book is a study in itself. It needs extensive hours put it behind analyzing all his research and understanding all that has been shared with us. The knowledge he imparts in this makes you feel he is an institution in himself.

He not only refers to the past data and numbers but also to the future forecasts he can predict basis that. And the authenticity in his calculations and the very basis of it makes you believe in them. For me this book is a masterpiece, one that I would refer to time and again just to witness the bygone era and see where we have reached as a world. So to speak this book is an example on the art of getting along with each other diplomatically as countries and grow together for mutual benefit.

There are few places where he does sound biased when he tries to justify the various wards by US like the Vietnam war etc but apart from those few passages I have found his views to be very balanced throughout the book. A very interesting read that kept me awake for days together as I kept pondering about he points he had made. I even referred to Google on some aspects to understand the connection in a better fashion.

Overall, a mind blowing read, recommended for people who enjoy such subjects.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Mango Delight - Delicious, gooey, sweet and the king of all fruits!