Bestselling author Dallek (An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy) delivers what will quickly become recognized as a classic of modern history: the definitive analysis of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger's complex, often troubled partnership in running American foreign policy from January 1969 through August 1974. Dallek has had unprecedented access to major new resources, including transcriptions (20,000 pages) of Kissinger's telephone conversations as secretary of state, unreleased audio files of key Nixon telephone conversations and Oval Office discussions, and previously unexamined documents from the archives of Nixon, Kissinger (who served first as national security adviser, then as secretary of state) and White House hands Alexander Haig and H.R. Haldeman. Dallek's eloquent portrait of power depicts two men who were remarkably alike in important ways. Both harbored ravenous personal ambitions. Both suffered from (and operated out of) profound insecurities and low self-esteem. Both were deeply resentful (to the point of paranoia) of criticisms and challenges. Digging deep into the various archives, Dallek artfully fills in the back stories behind such debacles as the pair's policies in Vietnam, Cambodia and the Middle East, as well as such triumphs as the opening to China. In what many will consider the book's darkest moment, Dallek reveals for the first time the discussions and strategic thinking that led to the U.S.-orchestrated coup d'etat against Chile's democratically elected president alvador Allende in September of 1973. As he did with his Kennedy biography, Dallek finds important new material that ill revise our thinking about a president and the man the author terms "a kind of co-president." 16 pages of b&w photos. (May 1)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Dallek, the author of such first-rate biographies as An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, now offers an excellent reassessment of one of the most imposing foreign policy duos in U.S. history. Nixon and Kissinger both reveled in power and were driven by the hope of attaining greatness, expectations that were shattered in part by their mutual arrogance, cynicism, and need for constant reassurance. The author maintains that their partnership achieved important victories, notably the opening of China, detente with the Soviet Union, and Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy, which ended the 1973 Yom Kippur War at a time when Nixon was consumed by Watergate. However, such failures as the disastrous policies in Vietnam and Cambodia, which resulted in thousands of American and millions of Asian deaths; the toppling of the legitimately elected Allende government in Chile; and the willingness to use foreign policy as a means to secure Nixon's reelection and to downplay Watergate damaged America's reputation for decades. Both men spent the post-Nixon years writing many popular books--16 between them--in attempts to rehabilitate or enhance their reputations. Dallek's is an important analysis, based on recently available declassified records and includes important caveats for current policy makers. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/07.]--Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.