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roddy

Kissinger, On China

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roddy

Anyone else read this? I'm working my way through it at the moment - everyone's favourite Nobel Peace Prize laureate, best known to forum members as Wushijiao's role model, recounts the China parts of his career.

I'm finding it an interesting read - starts off with a fairly standard recounting of China and the world, but once he's actually involved you get to read about the meetings with Mao and Zhou Enlai and Deng and so on, which is quite fun. I'm not finished it yet - got up to about what he refers to as the Third Vietnamese War, which is put in a Cold War context which was new to me, although probably not to anyone who knows much about 1970s international relations.

He does kind of gloss over a lot of stuff - the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution get mentioned only in respect to how they affected the progress of China-US relations. But that's the kind of book this is, and this is Kissinger after all.

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c_redman

To what extent was the US even aware of the Cultural Revolution at the time? I assume China kept a tight lid on every aspect of it.

I'm interested in diplomatic history, and the Amazon preview was a great read. I just bought the Kindle edition.

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roddy

Darn, I should have affiliated the link.

I don't think China kept a close lid on it at all, I suspect they told anyone who would listen what they were up to. And there's a limit to what even China can keep quiet.

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skylee

It seems interesting. I might read it. Thanks for the thread.

When you read a book like this, you will have a better understanding of China than 98% of the people living in China

I am not sure how true this reader's comment is, though. :)

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bhchao

I read parts of it. The book is a disappointing read if you expect it to be a critique of current China-US relations. However it offers a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of Chinese leaders and their approach toward foreign relations relative to the Western approach, notably America's. Kissinger does a good job in assessing the impact China's long history has in shaping these differences with the West.

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Lu
I don't think China kept a close lid on it at all, I suspect they told anyone who would listen what they were up to.
I think they told everyone about this great project they were carrying out and how good it would be for the country, but kept a pretty close lid on the negative side-effects. Didn't De Beauvoir and Sartre travel through China during the CR, only to be so very impressed with all the progress they saw?

Didn't read the book, but if reading about those meetings is 'quite fun', perhaps I should reconsider.

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skylee

I've found a copy on the internet and will try to read a few pages. I have reserved the book at the libraries but will have to wait a few months for it I am afraid.

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bhchao

During Kissinger's visit to China, Zhou Enlai reiterated to him the importance of the Cultural Revolution to the outside world. Kissinger replied that the CR is strictly China's domestic internal affair, an answer Zhou rejected.

Zhou was playing the double game, a role he played very well to ensure his political survival, and to moderate the Chairman's excesses simultaneously. Deng later said that Zhou's deference to Mao prolonged the Cultural Revolution, but Zhou's intervention to protect people in harm's way prevented the worst excesses from occurring.

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roddy

Finished it - good stuff, nice mix of personal anecdotes and actual analysis. I suspect the bibliography would be a rich vein of further reading for anyone interested - I had to stop myself going off to look stuff up several times or I'd never have finished it. C_redman, Skylee, got anywhere with it?

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skylee

no, sorry, I've totally forgotten it. will try.

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roddy

Oops, sorry for reminding you.

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gato

I haven't bothered due to the poor reviews. Too much of sycophant, supposedly. Not surprising since it's Kissinger.

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bobbyd

Christopher Hitchens wrote a little book about Kissinger that you might want to read when your done with that. My understanding is that Kissinger had a "ghost writer" write On China for him. Geithner had that job when he worked for Kissinger. That's how "Diplomacy" was written

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skylee

Hi I am reading it (still at Chapter 1). It seems to be interesting enough. I might go on. Sadly I have to return it to the libraries on Saturday. I may continue reading the e-version.

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