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On China [Format Kindle]

Henry Kissinger
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Praise for Henry Kissinger's On China

Fascinating, shrewd… [The book’s] portrait of China is informed by Mr. Kissinger’s intimate firsthand knowledge of several generations of Chinese leaders. The book deftly traces the rhythms and patterns in Chinese history…even as it explicates the philosophical differences that separate it from the United States.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Nobody living can claim greater credit than Mr. Kissinger for America's 1971 opening to Beijing, after more than two decades of estrangement, and for China's subsequent opening to the world. So it's fitting that Mr. Kissinger has now written On China, a fluent, fascinating…book that is part history, part memoir and above all an examination of the premises, methods and aims of Chinese foreign policy.”The Wall Street Journal

Fascinating… In On China, statesman Henry Kissinger draws on historical records and 40 years of direct interaction with four generations of Chinese leaders to analyze the link between China’s ancient past and its present day trajectory. In doing so, the man who helped shape modern East-West relations presents an often unsettling, occasionally hopeful and always compelling accounting of what we’re up against.The Chicago Sun-Times

Fascinating… No living American has played a more important role than Henry Kissinger, the former national security adviser and secretary of state, in bringing about the historic rapprochement between the United States and China. … [Kissinger] draw[s] deep insights into China's traumatic encounter with much stronger Western powers.”The San Francisco Chronicle

On China, Kissinger's 13th book, blends an incisive strategic analysis of the moves and countermoves of China, the United States and the former Soviet Union with telling vignettes about his meetings with Chinese Communist Party leaders… entertaining.The Los Angeles Times

No one can lay claim to so much influence on the shaping of foreign policy over the past 50 years as Henry Kissinger.”The Financial Times

“From the eminent elder statesman, an astute appraisal on Chinese diplomacy from ancient times to the fraught present “strategic trust” with the United States. Former Secretary of State Kissinger brings his considerable scholarly knowledge and professional expertise to this chronicle of the complicated evolution and precarious future of Chinese diplomacy with the West. … Sage words and critical perspective lent by a significant participant in historical events.”Kirkus Reviews

Présentation de l'éditeur

"Fascinating, shrewd . . . The book deftly traces the rhythms and patterns of Chinese history." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book length to a country he has known intimately for decades and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. On China illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such pivotal events as the initial encounters between China and tight line modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, and Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing. With a new final chapter on the emerging superpower’s twenty-first-century role in global politics and economics, On China provides historical perspective on Chinese foreign affairs from one of the premier statesmen of our time.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2114 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 623 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0143121316
  • Editeur : Penguin Books; Édition : Reprint (17 mai 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0046ECJBY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
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2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Kissinger on China 24 juillet 2011
Par Davout
Henri Kissinger a une expérience de plus de 40ans de la Chine et nous donne une très bonne analyse de la façon de penser de la classe dirigeante Chinoise.
Un livre à lire pour ceux qui veulent sortir des clichés faciles.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful 21 juillet 2012
Par me_lady
Format:Format Kindle
Very interesting! Wonderful book! I adore Henry Kissinger's way if writing. If you want to learn things about China this book is a good choice.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  235 commentaires
274 internautes sur 328 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 at times very interesting, at times pretentious, often naïve 26 octobre 2011
Par Mariusz Ozminkowski - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
The book is worth reading. And yet, a novice to the subject of China, its history, and especially China's foreign relations, should be advised to take Dr. Kissinger's analysis with great caution and skepticism. Kissinger analysis is at times very interesting, at times pretentious, and, unfortunately, very often naïve. Of course he "was there," he experienced a great deal of what he describes, and certainly he had studied the subject. But instead of helping his analysis, his own experience stands on the way of objectivity. First, Kissinger is in awe of Mao Zedong. Mao can do no wrong for Kissinger. All Mao's decisions are based on meticulous planning; informed by the millenia of China's culture; and with long term considerations. In Kissinger's view, when Stalin maneuvers in some negotiations, he is conniving and conspiring, but when Mao is doing the same, he is planning, he is thinking, and following ancient Chinese strategy. Historical facts do not sustain that picture. Although Mao clearly was very skillful revolutionary, his behavior was also very erratic and often reckless. Kissinger rarely, if ever, admits that. For example The Great Leap Forward that led to famine and estimated 30-40 million deaths and set China back decades in economic development is barely mentioned by the author. The destructive and humiliating Cultural Revolution is actually presented in a positive light by Kissinger. Maybe he didn't intend the portrayal to be that way, but Kissinger writes about Cultural Revolution as it would be a political and philosophical campaign that simply didn't fulfill Mao's expectations. It was a "titanic struggle." The fact that China's society and culture was almost destroyed doesn't seem to be bothering Kissinger that much. For him Mao is still the "philosopher king," and no, there is no sarcasm in Kissinger's words. Kissinger seems to be impressed by Mao's skillful use of poetry and ancient proverbs, but doesn't see the ignorant, paranoid, and delusional side of the man who was responsible for destructive policies throughout the 50 and 60s. That's why I would argue that Kissinger's portrayal of Mao is naïve.

Second, Kissinger has an annoying habit of explaining all in terms of Chinese culture. Obviously, the culture does play an important role, but when all is explained by culture, nothing is. There is a "cultural explanation" for the Chinese being assertive in politics, and there is a "cultural explanation" when they are diffident. When they wait patiently when they are overrun by others, well, that's their culture, they know from thousands of years of history that the tide will turn one day. When they fight and resist, well, there is also some cultural explanation.

Kissinger's analysis gets better the closer he gets to the present times. Although he never abandons his respect for Mao, his description of the reforms under Den Xiaoping beginning in 1978 is fascinating, not so much the fact that China finally began economic expansion, but how difficult and even uncertain the reforms were in the early years. Of course, Kissinger cannot avoid a constant reminder of his own importance throughout all these years. His grandiosity is somewhat annoying (and that's why I said the book is at times pretentious).

Finally, I would argue that the epilogue is the best part of the book: a look into the future of China and U.S.-China relations. In short, I am rather disappointed with the description and analysis of Mao's Years, but satisfied with the later parts of the book. And overall, knowing Henry Kissinger's work and writing, I expected a greater mind.
333 internautes sur 407 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Kissinger's On China becomes the GO-TO Book for our Generation - Just Extraordinary - FIVE STARS !!!!!! 17 mai 2011
Par Richard of Connecticut - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Prior to the publication of this book the definitive resource on China was Jonathan Spence's "In Search of Modern China". Spence the Yale Professor, is still indispensible to a modern understanding of this remarkable country. Now there is a second more up to date source and that is Henry Kissinger. The former Secretary of State who is now 88 years fortunately has taken the time to put together this incredible piece of work that only he could have created.

The book demonstrates the necessity of having lived a very long productive life and generating wisdom capable of distilling his understanding of a country down to a 530 page volume of work. It is as good as any of his previous works (13 with this one) and for my money I now put this book in Kissinger's top three, along with WHITE HOUSE YEARS and DIPLOMACY.

First the MECHANICS of the Book

If you are going to read the hard copy as opposed to digital, you are in for a treat. The font is beautiful, and the paper used to print the volume is delicious. I say this because if you are a heavy reader; you really appreciate turning the pages of beautifully textured pages. I annotate all of my books, writing in margins, in the back on blank pages and just about everywhere, and I love writing on beautiful page that take the ink nicely. This book was crafted professionally as good as it gets.


The Secretary has made 40 trips to China in his lifetime, enough that he should be the Honorary Ambassador to the country. He is thoroughly infused in the history of China, and he certainly does give you the history. There are 18 chapters plus an epilogue spread over 531 pages. There are 36 pages of footnotes and it is obvious that the Secretary had considerable organizational help with the footnotes which is to be expected.
The first three chapters or 91 pages are devoted to the nation's history and Kissinger gets it right. I have made many trips to China, but I still have problems with the language. When you read any book on China, you will have problems with pronunciation. What I do is quickly scan the book writing down 50 or a 100 names or terms I can't pronounce, and then head for the first Chinese restaurant in town, and ask for help with the words. People love to help, especially when you are taking an interest in their culture and language.

The guts of the book begins on page 91 or Chapter 4 which is Mao's Continuous Revolution. This chapter is superb and superbly written. If you study American China relations, the question that is always stipulated is whether or not America lost China in 1949. Kissinger correctly reminds us that China might never have been ours to lose, so we asking the wrong question.

Mao always believed that the Confucian order had for thousands of years kept China a weak China. Confucius preached HARMONY, and Mao believed that progress could only come from brutal confrontations both in China and with outside adversaries for China to advance. Mao also believed that these confrontations would happen naturally, but if they did not, he was not beyond creating confrontations even if they had to be within the Communist party to kept progress going, as he understood progress.

Chapter 6 which deals with China Confronts Both Superpowers is another section that only Kissinger could have written. It is here that China confronts the Soviet Union creating the Sino-Soviet split, and the United States with the Taiwan Strait Crisis. The chapter is riveting, and will affect and change your understanding of history.


The book is indispensible. You cannot understand China and modern Asia without having this book under your belt. One would have to be foolish to visit China and not read this book first to truly benefit from such a trip. Mao was famous for the Long March, and this book is a long journey for the reader but it is very rewarding. The Secretary takes us through the Road to Reconciliation in Chapter 8, and then the first encounters with Nixon, himself and the Chinese leadership in Chapter 9.

It is a fascinating portrayal of power meeting power head to head, and the respect that even enemies can hold for each other. It is now generally accepted that only Nixon the hardened right winger could have opened the door to China and brought the American people along with him, because he Nixon was viewed as tough. Perhaps in a decade or two, Harvard will accept what most historians have already accepted.

In Chapter 11 we witness the End of the Mao Era. Zhou Enlai falls and Deng's first return to power begins. Kissinger loves writing about Deng and calls him the indestructible Deng throughout chapter 12. Keep in mind that it was Deng who opened up modern China and began the reforms that were necessary for China to assert itself years later internationally and economically.

For those readers that know very little of China, this book is a whirlwind tour of a country fast gaining hegemony over Asia. You need to read Chapter 13 on the Third Viet Nam to understand how China is capable of dealing with its neighbors. Had we handled Viet Nam this way, the outcome and history would have been different.


Henry Kissinger ON CHINA is destined to become a best seller and in the process will greatly help an America that knows very little about China except for newspapers, to understand not just the history of this vital country, but its future and the nexus of that future with America's future. No one can ignore China, so the sooner we as Americans gain the understanding that we need to make intelligent decisions, the better off we will all be. If you have an interest in China whatsoever, run to read this book, and do not put it down until you are finished with it. Good luck and thank you for reading this review.

Richard C. Stoyeck


I will share something extraordinary with you. When you read a book like this, you will have a better understanding of China than 98% of the people living in China and 95% of the Chinese people living in America. I am still shocked when I meet Chinese people in this country young and old who have next to no understanding of Chinese history prior to Mao. They do not know the name Sun Yat-sen, or even Zhou Enlai, and forget about the Cultural Revolution unless they lived through it. Even the tragedy of Tiananmen Square is fast fading from memory.

It reminds me of German history in the post Hitler period. Anybody in Germany who was educated post 1950 has very little to no understanding of the Hitler period. It is simply glossed over as a dark period in German history; the teachers do not know what to say. Just amazing.
74 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent Material from an Excellent Source 21 mai 2011
Par Loyd E. Eskildson - Publié sur
Dr. Kissinger has had personal experience with four generations of Chinese leaders, as well as building an appreciation of its long history. His "On China" primarily covers China's initial encounters between China and modern European powers, the breakdown of its alliance with Russia, rationale behind and its involvement in the Korean War, and President Nixon's historic trip to Beijing. The book is an attempt to explain differences in how the Chinese both view themselves as an exceptional civilization (cultural; non--applicable to other nations) and think about foreign and military strategy, vs. the U.S. (God-given, with an obligation to spread to others). Most of "On China" consists of a readable, but detailed history of China, along with how those events have shaped its leaders. Kissinger's historical accounting begins with with Confucius, and goes on to also summarize the forced opening of China by Great Britain and other 'barbarians,' Japanese and Russian occupation, Mao's takeover and creation of continual chaos, reclaiming former boundaries (India, Tibet, Inner Mongolia; crises over Taiwan), rationale for Sino-U.S. rapprochement, the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, and China's subsequent healing and economic resurgence initiated and led by Deng Xiaoping.

Early China was plagued by internecine conflict that threatened the empire's sustainability. Confucius (551 B.C.- 479 B.C.), an itinerant philosopher largely ignored in his lifetime, provided the 'glue' that has both kept the empire together since, while uniting its people, and providing much of Asia's 'state religion.' Expertise in Confucian thought became the key to advancement after the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - A.D. 220) adopted Confucius' thinking. In doing so, the State assumed a moral obligation to provide virtue and harmony, and its people took on an obligation to obey the state as well as honor their ancestors and emphasize learning.

Between 1405-1433, China's Admiral Zheng sent out a fleet of large, technically advanced ships to Africa, the Middle East, India, and other closer locales. The fleet's size, number of vessels, and sophistication dwarfed that of the Spanish Armada that was created 150-years later. The purpose of the voyages is unclear to historians, and the next Emperor ordered the fleet destroyed, along with Zheng's records of those voyages. The expeditions were never repeated. More significantly, withdrawal from Western nations limited access to new ideas and led to China being physically and economically dominated by others from the mid-1800s until the 1990s - its 'Century of Humiliation.' (China's share of the world's GDP was about 25% in 1500, grew to approximately 30% in 1820, and fell to about 4% in 1950.) Deng's re-opening China's economy in 1979 brought China back - it is now the world's #2 economy and expected to become #1 in about 15 years, based on purchasing-power parity.

As an aside, Kissinger also notes that China's turbulent history has taught its leaders that not every problem has a solution, and that too great an emphasis on total mastery over specific events could upset world harmony. Important lessons that the U.S. could benefit from.

Keys to understanding China: 1)Confucianism - a single universal standard of conduct and social cohesion. 2)Sun Tzu - outsmarting an opponent = good, conflict = bad. 3)China's recent history of humiliation. 4)Fear of social disorder.

Human-rights activists will not be satisfied with Kissinger's lack of umbrage on human rights in China - especially regarding Mao; realists, however, will recognize that the passage of time, China's rapid economic improvement and Confucian history make the topic much less important to the Chinese. Those more sardonic will simply note that Kissinger's firm does extensive business in China and he does not want to risk that. Kissinger also does not cover China's newly acquired economic power vs. the U.S. via its extensive holding of U.S. debt, our recent loss of respect due to the 'Great Recession' and our loss of manufacturing leadership. Regardless, "On China" is essential reading; it also clearly demonstrates why Dr. Kissinger is renowned among foreign policy experts.
19 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Henry Kissinger "On China" (Penguin) 18 mai 2011
Par BlogOnBooks - Publié sur
When it comes to China, it's hard to think of a person or diplomat who has served as long and has as much hands-on, working knowledge of the relations between the red giant and the West as Dr. Henry Kissinger. In fact, it's impossible.

With engagements dating back nearly a half-century and covering administrations on both sides of half a dozen rotating regimes, Kissinger has devoted his life's work to bridging the gaps between the U.S. and foreign entities, with China being at the top of the list. In this voluminous, 586-page work, Kissinger warns of the U.S.'s desire to bring its own democratic morals to a land whose sovereignty is of paramount import. Only by studying the past, Kissinger argues in "On China," can one find the middle ground that will prevent the two superpowers from coming to loggerheads in the future.

At one time, China and the U.S. shared a common enemy in the Soviet Union. This triangulation was the basis for much of the early U.S.-China detente as promulgated by the diplomat's early visits to China under President Nixon. With the fall of the Soviet regime, the relationship evolved into an economic battlefront where U.S. interference (over democracy, human-rights, economic agendas, etc.) was looked down upon by the Chinese though, of course, issues related to these positions continue to remain in force today.
Along the way, Kissinger relates stories of his relationships with Mao Zedong and the post-Mao leaders (Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemen and Hu Jintao) with whom he has continually interfaced. Mao, he states, was an often cryptic and mercurial leader and those in the post Mao world have, at times, adopted some of his confusing attributes in his wake. Much is made of conflicts - from Vietnam to Taiwan to Tiananmen Square - where Chinese and U.S. policies remained at odds, while some form of shuttle diplomacy prevented either side from attempting a massive outbreak. Kissinger details the backroom politics of such moments in ways that seem both perplexing on the surface yet humanistic at the core. By citing details of both the 2,000 year history of the empire as well as the last century of Chinese governmental behaviors, the 87 year-old diplomat allows for a broader window of perspective in viewing what are often seen as isolated incidents.

As far as the future of the Sino-American relationship, Kissinger argues for an understanding that sets aside the urge of U.S. diplomats to try and re-create a new China in the U.S. mold. Expecting China to embrace democracy anytime soon is a fool's errand according to the author. Kissinger cites China's stated goals as eschewing revolution, saying "it does not want war or revenge; it simply wants the Chinese people to `bid farewell to poverty and enjoy a better life.'" Whether, the U.S. or China's own neighbors in the region are ready to accept that remains uncertain, but one thing is for sure, if relations between the two economic superpowers are to remain steady and grow, it will be the efforts of the next Kissingers that will have to help navigate the course.
22 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The only person who could have written this book 17 mai 2011
Par Padman - Publié sur
Unlike excellent histories that focus on broad theoretical origins of politico-economic systems such as Fukuyama's Origins, this book focuses on the modern manifestations and practical lessons of the Asian giant that could only be witnessed first hand by someone with intimate connections to the leaders. Kissinger proves throughout this erudite book that only someone with his experience and diplomatic savvy could have possibly gotten close enough to understand the culture. It just so happens that he is the only one that has such experience and savvy.

Of course, this book does offer a grand history of the culture, from its beginnings nearly 5,000 years ago, and it is a brilliant survey. It shines most, however, in the 20th century, when Kissinger's personal account is employed to convey the rest of the story.

Anyone looking for insight into the rationale for China's isolationism and that of the United States, which wanted badly to open the door, will be enthralled by this account. We learn, as seems obvious in retrospect, that it was not much more than the shrewdest of pragmatic policy decisions in an age when shrewd policy was the only way to survive. Kennedy and Johnson had both tried and failed. With the help of Kissinger, who has a reputation for shrewd pragmatism, Nixon finally succeeded.

Kissinger reflects on the sleeping dragon at perhaps a more interesting time than the 1970s, when he was secretary of state. After 40 years, Nixon and his measures seem vindicated, as China has steadily moved in the direction of freedom and capitalism. And yet, with human rights issues far from being resolved and growing economic friction between China and the U.S., the fate of the relationship is more precarious than ever.

That is why this is such an important book. It is our good fortune that Mr. Kissinger has been able to produce it.
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