In This Review

Years of Upheaval

Years of Upheaval
By Henry A. Kissinger
1283 pp, Little, Brown, 1982

Here is the second installment (one more to come) of Henry Kissinger's gigantic memo of conversations with himself and others in the conduct of American foreign policy from 1969 through 1976. The book sustains the old cliché that no author of a memo ever depicts himself as losing an argument. The first volume, White House Years, was a tale of triumphs culminating in the opening to China, SALT I, Nixon's reelection, and the end of American combat in Vietnam in January 1973. This volume is about damage control in the midst of the Watergate debacle. The substantive core of the book concerns the Middle East War of 1973 and its consequences. Once again we are treated to an excess of homilies ("If peace is equated simply with the absence of war . . . it can become an abject pacificism that turns the world over to the most ruthless") and praise of those able to use force swiftly and brutally if necessary. But disciples and critics alike must applaud the quick appearance of such a detailed account.