Henry Kissinger Part 1: Meteoric Rise

Professor Philip Nash joins us for Part 1 of our examination of the life and loves of Henry Kissinger, perhaps the most influential American foreign policy figure of the later Cold War. We look at his origins, his education, his move into governing circles, and his meteoric rise to power in the 1970s. An amazing story that takes us from his escape from Nazi Germany, his World War II service, his education at Harvard, and his subsequent work in the early Nixon administration. Episode 545.

And here are the lyrics from Monty’s Python’s Song, “Henry Kissinger”:

Henry Kissinger

How I’m missing yer

You’re the Doctor of my dreams

With your crinkly hair and your glassy stare

And your machiavellian schemes

All right so people say that you don’t care

But you’ve got nicer legs than Hitler

And bigger tits than Cher

Henry Kissinger

How I’m missing yer

And wishing you were here!

Buzzkill Bookshelf

Greg Grandin, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman

A new account of America’s most controversial diplomat that moves beyond praise or condemnation to reveal Kissinger as the architect of America’s current imperial stance

In this fascinating book Kissinger’s Shadow, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin argues that to understand the crisis of contemporary America―its never-ending wars abroad and political polarization at home―we have to understand Henry Kissinger.

Examining Kissinger’s own writings, as well as a wealth of secret recordings and government documents, many of them recently declassified, Grandin reveals how Nixon’s top foreign-policy adviser helped to revive a militarized version of American exceptionalism centered on an imperial presidency―even as he was presiding over defeat in Vietnam and a disastrous, secret, and illegal war in Cambodia. Believing that reality could be bent to his will, insisting that intuition is more important in determining policy than hard facts, and vowing that past mistakes should never hinder bold action in the future, Kissinger anticipated, even enabled, the ascendance of the neoconservative idealists who took America into crippling wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Going beyond accounts focusing on either Kissinger’s crimes or accomplishments, Kissinger’s Shadow by Greg Grandin offers a compelling new interpretation of the diplomat’s continuing influence on how the United States views its role in the world.

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