Kissinger: The Idealist review – an admiring, flawed study

This post is by Ian Thomson from Books | The Guardian

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In this riposte to the great American cold warrior’s left-leaning critics, Niall Ferguson, seeks to rehabilitate the image of a man as much reviled as he is revered

In the winter of 1948 Graham Greene arrived in the “smashed, dreary city” of Vienna to oversee work on his screenplay for The Third Man. The city was divided into four, mutually antagonistic cold war zones controlled by Russia, the US, France and Britain. Everywhere Greene went he saw evidence of the moral and material ruins of Hitler’s collapsed Reich. East-west tensions intensified later that year when Stalin began to blockade access to western Berlin. The allied forces in the city, fearing a Red takeover, improvised an airlift for Berliners. A sense of insecurity now infected every level of the White House: at Harvard, meanwhile, a young German-Jewish political scientist called Henry Kissinger contemplated Moscow’s atomic capabilities: how long before a Red ...