Once hailed as Super-K, the indispensable man whose advice has been sought by every president from Kennedy to Obama, Henry Kissinger has also been hounded by conspiracy theorists, scouring his every telcon for evidence of Machiavellian malfeasance. Yet as Niall Ferguson shows in this magisterial biography, Kissinger: Volume I: The Idealist 1923-1968, the idea of Kissinger as the ruthless arch-realist is based on a profound misunderstanding. Drawing on Kissinger's closed private papers and documents from more than a hundred archives around the world, Ferguson argues that the true foundation of Kissinger's thought is philosophical idealism and history. In the first of two volumes, Ferguson shows that what Kissinger achieved before his appointment as Richard Nixon's national security adviser was astonishing in its own right. Toiling as a teenager in a New York factory, he studied indefatigably at night. He was drafted into the U.S. infantry and saw action at the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of a concentration camp and ended his army career interrogating Nazis. Ferguson shares for the first time the story of the single most important strategic thinker America has ever produced.
Niall Ferguson is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and the bestselling author of Paper and Iron and The House of Rothschild.