Reading Round-Up: Henry Kissinger’s On China

Earlier this month, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger published On China. Kissinger’s work has received, understandably, a significant amount of attention: not only does On China cover the inside story of Richard Nixon’s landmark 1972 visit to the People’s Republic, it’s also full of Kissinger’s musings on the past, present, and future of Chinese foreign policy. Here, in a special On China reading round-up, we’ve compiled a list of the reviews so far, as well as some links for further reading and listening:

• If you haven’t yet had a chance to dive into Kissinger’s work itself, get a taste of On China from this excerpt at the Wall Street Journal. Also at the WSJ’s website, read this interview between Kissinger and Bret Stephens.

• As we posted the other day, Oxford professor Rana Mitter had an extended conversation with Kissinger on BBC Radio (link active until June 1); read Mitter’s review of On China at the Guardian’s website (and check out the book’s slightly more exciting UK cover art).

• Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace also spoke with Kissinger; listen to the interview and read a sample chapter, on “First Encounters with Mao and Zhou,” here.

• Historian Jonathan Spence reviews On China in a lengthy piece at the New York Review of Books.

• CNN’s Fareed Zakaria named On China his book of the week.

• The New York Times ran two reviews of the book: the first by Michiko Kakutani, the second by Max Frankel.

• A “virtual book tour” around the web featured reviews at many sites familiar to China Beat readers, including Mark’s China Blog and Inside-Out China. For a complete list of tour stops and links to reviews (some still yet to come), see here.

• For readers wondering if On China has gotten any attention in China, Jeremy Goldkorn of Danwei notes that while the book has not been published on the mainland, it has been commented on. A sample of articles: Netease, People’s Daily, and, which ran a translation of Kakutani’s New York Times review.

• Elizabeth Economy reviews On China at the Council on Foreign Relations website.

The Economist has a review that spins off Kissinger’s work to question how long the U.S. and China can sustain a relationship based on economic interdependence but marked by an absence of mutual trust.

• Finally, a contrarian view: at the Huffington Post, Michael Levy offers this advice to readers seeking to understand China: “skip Henry Kissinger’s new tome and pick up books by writers (whether journalists or novelists) who are in touch with the average Zhou.”

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