Review Essay

The World According to Henry: From Metternich to Me

In This Review


By Adam Watson
McGraw-Hill New Press, 1982, 239 pp. $19.95 Purchase

Henry Kissinger has never written anything less than magna opera, but this 1,000-page blockbuster must certainly qualify as his maximum opus. Its title is modestly deceptive. The term "diplomacy" is normally applied to the techniques and tactics employed in the conduct of international relations, and about these Kissinger is well qualified to write. He is dealing here, however, with a great deal more than techniques and tactics. His topic is the grand strategy, indeed the philosophy, of great power relationships, from the days of Richelieu until our own times.

The proper title of this book would be something like Power Politics, but that is a term that Kissinger seldom allows to pass his pen. Instead he refers frequently, and bewilderingly, to "geopolitics." He does not use this term as did its European inventors, Rudolph Kjellen, Halford Mackinder and Albrecht Haushofer, to mean the influence of spatial environment on political imperatives.

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