The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide (Paperback)

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Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction
Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Book Award

Winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize for Best Foreign Affairs Book
Winner of the Asia Society's Bernard Schwartz Book Award

Winner of the Cundill Prize for Historical Literature
Winner of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations' Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize
Winner of the Ramnath Goenka Award

One of the Best Books of the Year at - The Economist - Financial Times - The New Republic - The Washington Post - Kirkus Reviews -
A New York Times Notable Book

This magnificent history provides the first full account of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger's secret support for Pakistan in 1971 as it committed shocking atrocities in Bangladesh--which led to war between India and Pakistan, shaped the fate of Asia, and left major strategic consequences for the world today.

Drawing on previously unheard White House tapes, recently declassified documents, and his own extensive investigative reporting, Gary Bass uncovers an astonishing unknown story of superpower brinkmanship, war, scandal, and conscience. Revelatory, authoritative, and compulsively readable, The Blood Telegram is a thrilling chronicle of a pivotal chapter in American foreign policy.

About the Author

Gary J. Bass is the author of Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention and Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals. He is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. A former reporter for The Economist, he often writes for The New York Times and has also written for The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Slate, and other publications.

Praise For…

“Devastating. . . . Shocking. . . . This is a dark and amazing tale, an essential reminder. . . . Nixon and Kissinger spent the decades after leaving office burnishing their images as great statesmen. This book goes a long way in showing just how undeserved those reputations are.” —Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Book Review

“A profoundly disturbing account of the hitherto hidden role of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands. . . . Bass has defeated the attempted coverup through laborious culling of relevant sections of the Nixon White House tapes, declassified State Department documents and interviews with former officials. . . . After reading Bass’s account of this shameful episode, one has to . . . conclude that where the Bengalis were concerned, Kissinger and Nixon simply did not give a damn.” Neil Sheehan, The Washington Post
“Gripping and well-researched. . . . Sheds fresh light on a shameful moment in American foreign policy. . . . Admirable clarity.” —The Economist
“A riveting read with direct relevance to many of the most acute foreign-policy debates of today.” —Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
“Devastating. . . . Excellent . . . . Learned, riveting, and eviscerating. . . . Steeped in the forensic skills of a professional academic historian, [Bass] possesses the imaginative energies of a classical moralist, and he tells the story of the choices and the decisions that led to the slaughter in Bengal . . . appropriately as a moral saga. . . . Indispensable.” —Sunil Khilnani, The New Republic
“Bass takes us inside the Oval Office to reveal the scandalous role America played in the 1971 slaughter in what is now Bangladesh. Largely unknown here, the story combines the human tragedy of Darfur, the superpower geopolitics of the Cuban missile crisis and the illegal shenanigans of Iran-contra. . . . [A] harrowing tale.” Peter Baker, The New York Times, Favorite Book of the Year

“Absorbing. . . . Bass draws up a severe indictment of Nixon and Kissinger.” —The New Yorker

“Bass has provided us with a helpful reminder of Nixon’s true character. In The Blood Telegram, Bass expertly recounts the stunning indifference of Nixon and . . . Henry Kissinger to the reports from US diplomats of Pakistani genocide. . . . Vivid, often disquieting detail from Oval Office tapes unearthed by Bass. . . . Bass has performed an essential function.” —The Guardian

“Excellent. . . . The best book I read this year was Gary Bass’s The Blood Telegram . . . superb reporting and excellent analysis.” —Isaac Chotiner, The New Republic, Best Books of the Year

“Stellar. . . . Astonishing. . . . A meticulously researched and searing indictment of the shameful role the United States played.” —Foreign Policy

“[A] superb book. . . . Bass deploys White House recordings, including several new transcripts, to excellent effect. . . . Astonishing. . . . A morally serious book that nevertheless reads like a first-rate novel.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“It was a non-subject for scholars, a no man's land for knowledge . . . until the arrival of a memorable book by Princeton professor Gary Bass. . . . While doing justice to the victims, also, for the first time, draws out for us its lessons. . . . The book is also a tribute to politics in its true sense. . . . I do want readers to be aware of the appearance of Gary Bass’ book, which I hope will be widely read (and translated into French!). . . . Required reading.” —Bernard-Henri Lévy, Le Point

“The definitive account. . . . Nuanced yet unflinching. . . . Bass shines a much-needed spotlight.” —The Daily Beast

“Blistering . . . [A] must-read.” —The New York Post

“Harrowing. . . . A damning portrait. . . . Tremendously lucid. . . . Bass holds these leaders to a much-needed reckoning. A deeply incisive lesson for today’s leaders and electorate.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review), Best Books of the Year
“With urgent, cinematic immediacy, Gary Bass reconstructs a critical—and, to this day, profoundly consequential—chapter of Cold War history defined by appalling American complicity in genocidal atrocity and terrifyingly high-stakes superpower brinkmanship. It is a story of immense scope, vividly populated by figures of enduring fascination, and ripe with implications for the ongoing struggle to strike a more honorable balance between wartime realpolitik and our ideals of common humanity.” —Philip Gourevitch, author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families
“Gary Bass has excavated a great tragedy, one that's been forgotten by Americans but is seared into the memory of South Asians. His talents as a scholar, writer, and foreign-policy analyst are on full display in this brilliant work of narrative history. Nixon and Kissinger come damningly alive on the pages of a book that shows, like nothing else I’ve read, the folly that goes by the name of ‘realism.’” —George Packer, author of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America
“Gary Bass has done it again, uncovering a dark chapter in the historical record and bringing it vividly to light, forcing us to confront who we were then and who we are now. The Blood Telegram is a richly textured story with many fascinating layers. . . . It's also simply hard to put down!” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of A New World Order

“It has been a long time since I have read a book that has spoken as powerfully to me as The Blood Telegram. The relevancy and power of this book stems from the basic moral dilemmas that it addresses on practically every page. Every person planning to join the United States Foreign Service, or already serving should read this book.” —Jon P. Dorschner, American Diplomacy

“Gary Bass is unique: an investigative historian who explores the past in a masterly way that combines the best of journalism and scholarship. His latest book reads like an urgent dispatch from the frontline of genocide, a lucid and poignant description of a moral collapse in American foreign policy. Bass has painstakingly written a vital history—and a story, in the best sense of the word—that we must come to grips with.” —Peter Maass, author of Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War
"A searing indictment. . . . Shocking. . . . A deeply cautionary tale." —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“Fascinating. . . . [A] rich book, constantly shifting between Washington, New Delhi and Islamabad, all corners of the narrative expertly covered by the autho.r . . . Bass’s skill in unravelling the complex strands . . . is admirable.” —The National
“Amazing. . . . Bass exhumes the tragic, relatively unknown story.” —The Japan Times

“The most notable new arrival on most people’s bookshelves is Gary Bass’ Blood Telegram. . . . It is a remarkable achievement, and deserves to be on every shelf.” —Business Standard
“[An] engrossing, droll, and ultimately shocking account. . . . Bass’s meticulously researched book resurrects the reputation of an unsung diplomat.” —Mint (New Delhi)
“An immensely absorbing book for those interested in not just Indo-US relations but the making of foreign policy in democracies as a whole.” —The Indian Express
“The book sets the record straight of a disgraceful period in US foreign policy. . . . Brutal detail. . . . Nixon stands disgraced over Watergate but his wilful role in the genocide in East Pakistan had not till now received the full historical attention it deserved.” —The Times of India
“Vivid . . . never fails to hold the reader’s attention. . . . A thoroughly researched and damning indictment. . . . Bass demolishes Kissinger’s defence. . . . Deeply perceptive.” —Outlook India
“Gripping. His material is so rich and his research so detailed that it is difficult to put down the book once one begins to read it. . . . Bass has accomplished something truly remarkable.” —The Asian Age
“A scathing indictment. . . . [Bass] dismantles the smug aura of success that has generally been attached to the Kissinger-Nixon era. . . . The book combines a racy narrative with meticulous research and excellent academic rigour. . . . Bass offers a fresh perspective.” —The Hindu

“[A] gripping, if sordid, story. . . . A startling revelation.” —Tehelka

“Most admirable and thorough. . . . An accomplished scholar of human rights, Bass draws on a mass of documents and tapes to shed light on the United States of America’s involvement. . . . Bass’s cumulative indictment of Nixon and Kissinger is formidable. . . . A wealth of detail and the range of insights in this fine book.” —The Telegraph of Calcutta

“An absorbing book. . . . A fine portrayal. . . . A damning indictment.” —The Daily Star (Dhaka)
“Gripping. . . . A chilling and bare-knuckle account. . . . A scalding view. . . . The book spares no players.” —The News International (Pakistan)
“Fascinating. . . . Unique. . . . The book is a powerful indictment of Nixon and Kissinger.” —The Friday Times (Lahore)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780307744623
ISBN-10: 0307744620
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: July 15th, 2014
Pages: 499
Language: English
Series: Vintage