tv After Words CSPAN November 23, 2015 12:00am-1:01am EST
this implies that he had some control over it. when he suggested suggested it to me which was more than ten years ago i said, yes i will be willing to do this but one condition on a completely free hand you have to accept that if you ask me to do this and give me ask access to your private papers i will write what i think is the truth. which is incidentally the basis of what i had written the previous book. he agreed to that.
i think i would not have taken it on under any other basis. >> so how did this happen did you know him before hand? how did he find you? >> i met him. >> he read my stuffs. we're talking about one of the books i had written about the first world war. we had a conversation about that , so we met on that basis, i forget forget exactly when but sometime after that the subject came up, i think he was attracted to the idea of a scholarly biography being written. i was was at first person being considered for this job. but when he put the questions in me and initially said no, he then brought me a very henry kissinger letter. >> what is the wasn't a letter or e-mail? >> it was a letter. it said what a great shame, just
when i decided you were the ideal man to do this and just as i signed on as a 15050 books of my private papers i thought were lost. a week or two later i was looking at those. i decided i should do this. it was a bit daunting before him. it is an extremely difficult right to life. for a range of reasons that are controversial, it's a difficult thing to do. but particularly the early correspondence, within a few hours i thought i had to take this on. >> so this is not a man who has been undocumented. he has has written his own memoirs. even longer than your book.
so why do you think he wanted -- he also shared some information, he spoke with walter isaacson for his biography, why do you think he wanted this book written question marks. >> one of the points i make in the book is he is by training, a historian. a historian knows that memoirs are from the histories, the biographies, his three volumes cover mostly time and government and he speaks not about the. before that. so it is half of his life that he had not written about. with isaacson's book which is very good it is essentially a journalist book based on interviews. i think the idea was, somebody should write a scholarly biography based on the documents, the archives because that simply did not exist. although there were a bunch of books you can find in libraries, they ought to be biographies of kissinger's.
most are not based on much more than what he is saying. so the argument for a scholarly biography was a compelling one. it turns out the material was very good, very rich. i was lucky because that hole. from his earliest days growing up in germany right down to the moment richard nixon offered him a job of national security advisor, it was by previous writer. >> you are described as a historian, do you think he chose you in part do you think because you are a conservative historian? >> yes, i think he was. i think. i think it is more important because i am british though. i think there's some advantage to be in an outsider in writing american history. one characteristic feature of henry kissinger's life has been the extraordinary political
controversy that could be dated back to the early 1970s and hayes raged on sense. in some way they are of the generation of 1968. of the generation that came of age during the vietnam war. >> my generation. >> your generation and americans. i am someone who can, at this, i don't have memorabilia from woodstock in my attic. that is important. for conservatism i think it is worth adding a footnote, conservative mean something different if you have grown up in the u.k. it is not republicanism. the u.s. version. and i am not by any means a republican and my politics now
that i live in the united states. i am a conservative in in the way that henry kissinger was. i am a european conservative. you often feel like a liberal european conservative in the united states. things of the american conservative say may be shocking to you. so in the same kind of way that kissinger conservativism is really european variant, so is mine. that may be one reason that he thought it would work. >> when you say you are european conservative and thinks he find shocking, are they in the national security realm or social issues? >> social issues. those things that i regard as not being the main policies are main politics in the us. national security issue seems to me, it is often the case that people get confused into thinking there is some kind of straight punch and duty show
argument going on about national security. i've been critical in recent years of obama, but i have also have also been critical of his predecessor. in the book colossal i was extremely critical of the invasion of iraq in the way the occupation was handled. the part of the reason of doing this i suppose was because i had been drawn into the debate about u.s. foreign policy from the moment that i set foot into the u.s. i probably approached it rather naïvely thinking i could convince republicans and democrats. it is hard to be in that position. you inevitably are expected to be a one side side or the other. on national security issues i am more independent. >> there's nose question there is better convergence since the end of the cold war. if you look at issues like bosnia or iraq itself, there are people in the
left to of humanitarian challenges and people on the right who were isolationists, that is certainly true. i'm not sure what an independent is rather than perhaps some one who does it case-by-case. >> right, or at least someone who recognizes there can't be a simple partyline on these national security issues. someone who who does not want to be banned by party lines on social and cultural issues. interestingly at found kissinger as a young man was in rather the same position. he saw himself as a small conservative, he certainly and self identify as a liberal in the 1950s or 1960s. the real american conservatives, republican convention in 1964 he was appalled, he had none easy relationship with the right and the republican party. indeed with the conservatives as well. that is the interesting thing about kissinger's predicament.
he has enemies on the left and he also has enemies on the right particularly in the base of the 1970s whether it was a sellout. >> so the book is called the idealists. it is a rather contrarian take on who in the most timely description is the ultimate realized as an direct descendent. so your choice of the word idealists which explain in the book is really not a smithsonian notion of idealism. can you explain for the audience at home what you mean by idealists when it comes to it kissinger and why our notion is traditionally -- but that's not the description you're using. >> it is true most people think of kissinger as the arc realist
and the names they are around. he wrote about it i may be it not surprising that people fall into that path. i had tried to show in the book that it is a trap. he really wasn't was in a realist, there were realists argue that the united states should amply follow its narrow self-interest, but he was not one of them. those others were more critical of him. when when i started to read his writings thoroughly which i begin to think that many people had done, i was really struck by something. they were in fact critical of realism. if you look at congress, it was very critical. they issue and the essay on right revolution was highly critical. so i'm starting to think
something is funny here. then i delve deeper into kissinger's intellectual's intellectual development. three things are striking. one, his experience growing up in the 20s and 30s and driven him to flee germany 1938, made him not surprisingly highly critical of the appeasement but what he appears as a realist and an essay. they thought they are pursuing narrow self-interest approach on form policy and disregard the human rights abuses. number one, his own experience in the 1930s makes makes him suspicious of what he thought the realist. number two, he comes to harvard and to try to get rid of this rather pushy undergraduates they
say go away and read the manual and come back when you're finished. expecting expecting never to see him again. underestimating his writing. and ultimately he put that into his thesis. he was deeply influenced by his reading. the problem on the one hand cancel if there was such thing as freedom, free will, free choice, the choice, the experience of freedom is real, on the other hand you cannot argue that there some kind of plan for the world, for humanity leading to perpetual peace. the sr. thesis is whether you can reconcile these two things. he thinks there is and ultimately the experience of choice is a real one. freedom of kissinger defines him. it is in the experience and intellectual experience. the third .. is a crucial one given the cold war concept of the
early academic career was that kissinger would get to materialism. he injected materialistic views of history. he also rejected capitalist materialistic theories and said if our growth rate is higher than their growth rate will win the cold war. so think of those three counts kissinger emerges as idealists. i think it is what made his contribution fundamentally distinguished a man who can stand up from the pack of people that thought you could solve the cold war was systems of analysis. >> although you have many quotes in the book that make him sound as if he is an idealist, and certainly someone who is
horrified that the u.s. is more likely to win on ideals that are materialist issues. at the same time, his writing, other buyer auger fees are filled with brutal quotes from him as well. i noticed in walter isaacson's he quotes kissinger is pushing back against the idea pakistan being less oppressive asking -wise that are business that a government fail. he defense cutting off aid. that doesn't sound to me like an idealist. someone who doesn't feel the u.s. has to be defending human rights or pressing allies because of their repressive nature. >> will two answers. one we're talking about volume two which i haven't written yet and there's no telling what the subtitle will be.
i'm a little cautious about talking about that. because i am still doing the research. i tend to not really make up my mind until i path path through a lot of documents. so the early days could be talking about the 1970s for me. i think the most i can risk saying secondly and responses that we can't really understand what kissinger, and for that matter nixon, ford, and the presidency served were trying to achieve if we just look at isolated cases and throw her hands and say how shockingly callous. these isolated countries, these incidences have to be seen as part of a grand strategy. most books are highly critical of kissinger tend to focus on a particular issue and disregard the strategic framers.
the strategic framework as kissinger says in his early writing is something that opposes a hierarchy. if your primary goal is to avoid world war iii and seek some kind of accommodation with the soviet union then maybe other things that upon some a chessboard that you have to sacrifice to that end. if your second goal is to use an opening to china to put pressure on the soviets, and for the sake of that you may have to make compromises with say the pakistani government, if you have no other concerns you might not make. i think any judgment you make about form policy has to be done, not on a case-by-case basis but in a strategic framework. in his his early writing and i do talk about in the book he says it is in the nature of statesmanship that you have to make choices and you are free to make these choices.
their choices between evil and the challenges to decide what the lesser of two evils is. kissinger says this is their right from the very earliest writing. that is the problem, that is the choice that there is sometimes no good options. there there are just evils that you have to choose between. >> all that is persuasive but i would put that in a real policy camp in the sense of seeking stability for the sake of peace, or not annihilation. having to look the other way on the repression on pakistan or his decision and joint decision on the bombing of cambodia. or something you do engage some of this in the book, his role in chile. he himself suggested that before certainly support ported the idea, these are quick transcendent that as that sounds
like policy to me and they are reasons why he is so controversial himself. >> one of the things i do is in january 1969 is to imply that there is questions of avoidance. the question is does he remain an idealist, does he adhere to the principles that he sent out as an intellectual and critic of u.s. foreign policy or did the experience of government change him into a realist? that question question i have yet to answer. it is very central to volume two of this biography. this biography, the first time covers the first half of his life. in that. although he was engulfed in governments and advisers to kennedy, he was mostly a writer books and articles. i think it is fascinating to study him as an intellectual. imagine if he was hit by a bus in january 1969, this book would
still be possible. i'm not sure about that because it seems like intellectual contribution was extension one. at at a time when international race was becoming more in the industry. kissinger argued you have to have a historical framework. history is the nation what characters to individual. if you don't know this -- i think that is an important insider. think about central problem a problem that he defines, the problem of conjecture. i think it gets to the questions you're raising if you have to choose between evils but when you make the choice you may take it difficult preemptive action and avert disaster, but if you are successful and you never
world war ii would you be grateful? no because it did not happen. so there's a symmetry, successful costly early decision make it you know payoffs because in preempting disaster you basically prevent it from happening and prevent people from suffering it. if you get lucky then people think that you you win and if you're not liking things turn up out badly you cannot say why did my best. the temptation is as we say to kick the can down the road. when you come to assess any of the decisions after 1968, he was in a position to advise the decision making, the decision-making, you have to ask yourself how does this fit into the grand strategy? also the the question at the time the decision was taken was this
right decision. at the time, could you say with certainty or with confidence, now a certainty this is the lesser evil of the two course of action. that is the challenge i set myself and trying to assess his work. >> so as you said the book begins with his childhood in germany. you note several times that kissinger plays down his impact on the worldview of that childhood and the fact that he lost many friends and many members of his family to the holocaust. you quote in a 2007 interview with him when he says that my first political experience was a member of the persecuted jewish minority. many members of my family in 70 family and 70% of the people i went to school with that in constant concentration camps. that is not something i can forget. i don't agree with everything that's analyzed for mileage jewish origin. i have not thought to myself and
those turns. what is going on there?, jewish-american and, jewish-american and a lot of my attitude toward my horror of what goes on in the world, repression, extremism, as well as my notion of american responsibility to try to fix thing comes i really and how does that pass? what is going on there? i would say this alleged jewish origin is rather disturbing one. what what is happening with him question work. >> i tried in the book to tell the story as accurately as i can. it is a remarkable but not unique one by any means. he grew up up in a part of germany where nazi was prevailed. as he grew up here and became a teenager, the nazi regime came to power and his rights were whittled away just as his parents were until the point that they have to flee. when he came back six years after leaving in a u.s. army
uniform he witnessed the liberation of a concentration camp outside hanover. then he discovered after the war was over that nearly all of the family members who had not left germany had died, including his grandmother. so clearly, these were searing experiences. i think the reason he subsequently thought to downplay them was the tendency of maybe earlier writers to describe so much importance to those events that his subsequent development was a kind of response to trauma. he is very clear and the letters he writes home to his parents in the late 1940s and the things he writes about. the war experience that he is not traumatized. it is something he explicitly says. i think we need to understand that the war experience was not quite as we might imagine it.
those were too young to experience this, for example is very striking that he writes a short essay, the eternal jew, really i think for his own use. to record the experience after seeing the liberation of the concentration camp. it is a dress to one of the polished inmates. it is a remarkable document which i reproduce in fall because it captures how searing the experience, the witness of the holocaust to bend. at. at the same time, the war changed him in a very important way. it had destroyed his religious faith. he and his younger brother had to confront their parents in particular in their orthodox father with this change. kissinger wrote openly, i am different, i this has changed
me. it has made me fundamentally different. i no longer can really believe in what you brought me up to believe. so. so, that moment is a profoundly important one. and i think it explains some of the on that will his identity as a jew. the he is not a believer or an observer of a true. that by any means is unusual. what i tried to do in the book to show how he arrives at that decision and that orthodox upbringing inside of germany. these experiences he had during the war. >> being a believer is different than being orthodox. for any religion are you suggesting he is no longer believe that god existed because of the experience in germany
question work. >> will that is not entirely explicit in anything he has said. >> doesn't that go to the core of idealism? >> he was out writing to say i'm a reform jew, i'm changing synagogues. he did not subsequently -- in that sense i think it was a complete loss of religious state. but not something that led him to deny his jewishness. it was not as if he was looking to convert to christianity. on the contrary he is a jew but he is not a believer. the image is a consequence of the war experience. it is unusual that it is so well documented, he he wrote very frankly to his parents about what this meant for the rest of his life.
>> soap believer in idealism, don't those two things relate to each other and somewhat question work. >> what's clear is that if you asked to enlightened philosophy as kissinger was you don't necessarily subscribe to traditional -- although you may. kissinger is much more interested in the experience of freedom of choice, individual experience that plays a very little role. so, to move that notion of one horse to another, one of the things that i had not realized is that he really made his name and became something of a rock star at a young age by writing about nuclear weapons.
been a strong advocate of this concept of limited war, the limited use of nuclear weapon, you go out of your way to say he was not the model, that was instead herman con, but there is something strange about the idea that he could have limited use of nuclear weapons without it spiraling out of control. what drove him to think that and why do you think it made him so popular at that point? it seems people would think is pretty crazy? >> first while he could not imagine an encounter in harvard yard, his friend and liberal essentially introduces kissinger to a debate that is going on about the strategy of the eisenhower administration. his concept was that you have to threaten massive retaliation to determine the soviets from expansion. you ought to blow up the world
or you accept their move is tolerable. the debate was whether they could be any middle position or if the u.s. strategy was a funk of all or nothing. it applied risking armageddon every time you wanted to move around the world. on the basis of the conversation harvard yard he thought on this question, they impress other people who have seen them, he was gradually drawn away from the soviet in 1970 and in these contemporary debates about nuclear strategy. he starts to have discussions about far more experienced and strategic thinkers. he would think about the unthinkable question could he use nuclear weapons in a limited way and avoid full-scale armageddon? now when you put it like that it does sound like strangelove.
just the use of the most destructive weapons. >> right and that is how he tries to make the case that you can have limited tactical nuclear exchanges that won't escalate to full-blown armageddon. two things, one he later reversed that position and came to the conclusion that you cannot be sure it would not escalate. so he did an intellectual or you turn on the key question. that was the book that made him phase miss. the book arrives at a critical moment in the cold war history, the sputnik has just been launched, as 1957, and along comes this book by new thinker
who argues as a way of dealing with this problem that we could blow the world to smithereens. but a key point that is often overlooked is the way kissinger pulled back from the idea of nuclear war, the u.s. military did not. nor did that any nato countries. from that point on strategy in the cold war assumed the possibility of a limited nuclear war, it became the basis of the plan to defend western europe from the soviet invasion. that's what all the weapons were for. that's why the superpowers did not just have missiles, so think a key point i tried to make in the book is that although kissinger himself was ambivalent about the intellectual breakthrough, the idea of the ward became doctrine from the
military on both sides of the cold war. just because it did not happen that does not mean that it was science-fiction. the fact to this day it is a perfectly real possibility and is to be resurfaced in the most recent debate about how people respond in eastern europe. it is an idea that has not gone away at all. are you suggesting there is serious in that would advocate for the limited use of tactical nukes if the russians would just decide to roll in? the weapons exists and if they exist there must be a rationale for its. >> will the beginnings of bush 43 in negotiations of the soviets was focused on pulling
out. >> write the missiles are smaller than they were but they have not completely disappeared. >> definitely smaller on the american side. >> because there's proliferation's and kissinger's heyday there is a possibility of a smaller nuclear power and it is more likely now than it was then when essentially there is monopoly son capabilities. i think it was an important contribution and is not surprising that it may because it beat out other strategic thinkers and their use and that the point if they existed they existed for the cold war so the rationale for them cannot be fully observed. so, berlin, he has very strong opinions about berlin and how it is handled, but he does not seem
to be unless i've misread this advocating the use of tactical use on what is an issue far more acute port in cuba everett yother thing going on. >> here's the thing went the u.s. and soviet tanks are facing one another in central erlang, kissinger is arguing for a tougher line than ultimately can be and he ultimately says wars better than the war. he doesn't say we should be ready to use nuclear weapons over this issue, it is quite interesting he is deeply worried that the military may take it
upon themselves to use them if they're not sufficiently clear lines of command from the white house. that becomes the a big issues in the 1964 election. because one who was quite reckless it is talk about nuclear weapons, kissinger was very opposed to that. i think that is another reason why it's not strangelove. having written the book within a very short time he admits there is escalation. >> well in a certain part of in military circles this is by no means ruled out. these weapons are still in existence for a reason. esther putin made it very clear in his interview just the other
night that the nuclear weapons are part of the reason he moved on paris. >> that is certainly true, but will have a tactical conversation at some point. i would suggest perhaps and maybe i am mistreating this that they should with berlin was either he had changed his mind or the other part of his argument is you have to signal to the soviets that we're not looking for your complete surrender and if we were to use tactical nuclear weapons they would have to be a sideshow war not on the direct line. is that the correct reading? >> will certainly in his writings in the 50s and 60s he brought a distinct distinction less populous than the middle east. that is part of it.
it was definitely difficult to imagine how a war over berlin cannot escalate given how densely populated it was. how many weapons there were in the vicinity. i think there's a second issue here and that is how to use of the german problem. here's another part of the idealism that kissinger tends to be attracted to the self-determination argument that we associate with woodrow wilson early on. kissinger thought guess what, it's essential idea and he writes about germany and he sees it and it has to be in terms of democracy. free votes, they cannot break it so it ends up becoming just another great to east germany. i think it is clear about that. so through the debates about berlin i think there is no
appetite for blowing germany up. kissinger's close to adding the german leaders through much of the cold war. he's unsympathetic but he gets a bit nervous and some west german politicians would find this that he wants the americans to be engaged over the whole question of berlin. some politicians were happy for germany to be divided. they like getting rid of germany and east berlin. kissinger's fears he he ultimately sparks the united and pre-germany. >> can we talk about his position with the kennedy administration. he he seems to one point hope that he was being brought into the inner circle then planes monday for shoving them out. how much was that shared ideology and how much was it
that he was just can be brought in? >> well it's an earlier conversation about the conservativism. because national security was above the provisions he thought he could bars rockefeller and then go and joined the kennedy administration if asked. just like later he was talking to humphrey and nixon. there is a sense in his mind that there is an expert that he has that should be available to anybody who happens to become president. kennedy was rounding up harvard professors informing his administration. prior to election he talked to kissinger and others and they rushed down to washington when the administration was formed.
now this is when the plot think it's because it seems as if kissinger is going to be involved but on a part-time basis. at first i was puzzled by this arrangement, why would you agree to be a part-time consultant? is it so dear to you? it turns out bundy suggested that because he quickly saw kissinger was a potential rival. kissinger knew a lot about the key issues of the moment. certainly nuclear berlin a nuclear strategy. he discovered that they could stop them having contact with the president if they could put him in a room with files and tell him to write a report. he had a frustrating experience,
normally a consultant but hardly ever in the presence of the president. treated by bundy as an insider but in effect an outsider with limited access to key documents. this is the beginning of what i call the political education. an introduction to the dark arts of washington policy. >> certainly one can see a certain foreshadowing from the way he hands up, basically cutting everybody else off. >> the subclause of the book is that this education leads to a fairly sustained rethink of how the apparatus should work. by the time 1968 comes around his written a series of papers and co-author papers about how the president should be.
in that sense i think it offers not just a biography but a history of the cold war. we see how this institutional revolution progress. from the point of it bureaucratic style of ice and hauser security council but through the kennedy style to the ultimate approach of lyndon johnson. the tuesday lunch lunch sessions that produce semi- disastrous decisions. prior to 68 kissinger is not alone in thinking something is badly broken. he spent 68 thinking about how you can better organize a system and combined the best elements of eisenhower security council and those that worked for the kennedy. >> you argue in the book that
those reviews are a big reason why nixon offers him the job. he also wrote about rebutting the notion that during the 68 campaign kissinger passed through critical information to nixon on the paris peace talks and nixon in turn goes and tells the south vietnamese they will get a better deal. you rebut that and say well, i will let you rebut it. you come up with a series of explanations of why that is not true. >> goes like this, the devious kissinger he gets the power, the wrath of the johnson administration by revealing a
closely guarded secret that johnson's people were about to do a deal with the north vietnamese. this information allows nixon to win the election. falls apart under close inspection of the story for a bunch of reasons. one is i mentioned earlier, kissinger tried to find a way out of vietnam working with the johnson administration trying to find some point of contact with the north vietnamese. as he mentioned already he had been in the practice of offering his counsel and advice to more than one party, more than my candidate. that is nothing to surprise him with the and people approach them as they did. he gives of the usual i can tell you this response, so when you
look at it simply from that vantage point we had seen this movie before. the second critical point was there no secrets to the trade. the paris peace talks -- >> that was johnson's thought that it would bring the north vietnamese back. >> he would help the bombing would the previous year two and kissinger was involved in that process to try to get the bombing paused long enough to get to france from hanoi. this was nothing nothing new nor was it entirely likely that it was going to bring any piece. critical piece.
he did not need to be henry kissinger with inside information to know this was going on. it it was clearly going on. everyone understood what johnson's unscented was. not least, the south vietnamese. the nixon campaign had a number of sources on what was going on. the idea there was some fantastically hot secret that kissinger was able to bring does not stand up completely. kissinger was in paris, he knew the other negotiators. but i can't find any evidence there is something kissinger knew that no one else knew. what is clear that is kissinger communicated his analysis the administration was looking through breaks ahead of the election. nixon already knew that. i find find the idea that this was was a dirty trick i got kissinger the job with national security advisor was just the way that story ends is on substantiated by any documentation.
sense so much that kissinger had gone on the year before when he had been trying to find a way to end the war, it had been documented by him and others. he kept careful paperwork of these initiatives. there's nothing to indicate this was going on. but there were a few interviews by the nixon's national security advisers and now it's full of sour grapes because alan -- i think the story as i see it is a great story. maybe it has but you call
truthfulness. it's not something you can document. it is not something that needs to stand up. >> although nixon writes during the last days of the campaign when kissinger was providing us with information about the bombing halt. i became more aware of his knowledge and influence. this would suggest that at least a, there is information going there about the bombing halt and it did raise his profile with richard nixon. >> he was communicating through allen and other people in the administration. nixon was sinking his counsel, that that is clear. no one has denied that. the notion that the information was classified information and kissinger was leaking could not be substantiated. >> in your book you do say nixon worries at one point that it is a trap. kissinger has been set up to pass information about johnson's thinking and it will be a trap. nixon apparently valued this
even though you target everybody knew. >> one of the things is between the analysis and intelligence. >> he says information though. >> i don't think information like inside baseball information i don't think there was any. >> while you you're the expert on this. i just just find that nixon quote quite interesting. >> but he was offering his as vice and analysis that is clear and documented. what's not there is some kind of smoking gum a secret that he was going to betray. >> translate this for me several years back when is a full-time journalist i was invited to a small dinner. i recall richard holbrook was a key driver behind this. may he rest in peace. he was with a senior iraqi official and kissinger was there.
when it came time for the q&a and be in the journalist i am asked a question about what the plan was by the iraqis to make a deal on oil revenues. before the administer could even answer this? kissinger cut in and said that's a very american question. i don't think he said that in a flattering way. what did he mean? >> well he was there i wasn't. so so you have the advantage of me there. perhaps his best understanding is alluding back to the view of economics. it is not paramount. when we discuss his idealism which is much more commonplace in america, capitalism is going to be problematic, kissinger never believe that the cold war
would ultimately be one by democracy was more attractive system. throughout his career kissinger has tended to be skeptical about economic of any sort. he tends to be dismissive but not always. one of the interesting things to address is the impact of the oil shock in 1973. most previous scholars think he greatly underestimated. i think he could be skeptical of arguments as the dominant force in international affairs. >> is he suggesting as a material girl? is that was hearsay? it was opera man first secretary of state to use the word american.
>> more how often he is critical of the way americans think. just like lawyers are playing too much about part in policymaking. they do everything on a case-by-case basis. all all the argument that he makes that system analysis this or social science would solve the problem. i think there is a critical distance between him intellectually and what he would regard as the american heritage of skepticism about history. >> i know the book you have communication about how he's being shoved out by bundy and how he wants to quit.
it sounds whiny, i see see a very thin-skinned man? >> well kissinger and volume one is certainly insecure. even in academic politics is given to when he is not be promoted like he hopes he will be. but i hope to do in the book is to show those sides of his personality, not all of which are very flattering. maybe it is a mark of the thinness of the skin today that he did not seem at all comfortable about some of those passages. it is still an unauthorized biography of that sense because i have given the subject a good deal to match his teeth about. i did not know if i should -- is
same to me to help get to the man in the problem of writing about henry kissinger's there's this demonic figure created by hirsch who is an evil genius, doctor evil figure who commits war crimes with glee, relishing every death. this caricature monster figure is something to get past if you're trying to write a biography. the way to do that i thought was to review all of humanity including the teenage angst including the neurotic professor that thinness of skin is part of what drives the man, makes them work harder than his contemporaries. the story is one of relentless
drive to get the books written, to get the articles out. and then a drive to get involved in the policymaking process. i tried to make it clear that apart from being the evil genius he actually frequently blunders. lots of screw ups with the press for example. he makes a whole series of aches mistakes. i thought that was away to demolish these partly demonic doctor evil figure and show somebody who is actually more credible, real human being. >> one final question. you got access to documents, letters, including teenage letters of that sort, you also interviewed kissinger extensively. you don't quote from him in the book. >> i do. there are quite a few quotes
from the interviews but relative to the documents, the interviews account for a small percentage of all of the material. so they were important background to me. so i interviewed him for the first and second volume. i have a lot of material still to use. i think i think the bulk of the interviews i recorded really appeared after 1968 so in that sense they are still in my locker. >> so is he mashing his teeth by what he knows you have written? >> i think everybody who sees their young life rendered with i hope maximum accuracy of the page, can be a little taken aback. one forgets things that then turn up in the hands of a historian. so it is not an easy process.
from that i think is a quite normal. if i had joined book about my first 46 years, i think i'd be lying on the floor cringing between every page. >> maybe that could be my next project. >> very dull. >> so is the title for the next book, the real us? >> you might think that but i have not made up my mind. that is is a question i ask myself. am i going to be telling this tory or is that not yet what the real story is. part of the fun of writing history is you don't start with the tremendously's strong theory. you start with question. i was originally going to call this book american macula eddie. i realized in the body day was
completely wrong. part of the pleasure of writing a life is that you're constantly surprised by what the documents tell you. in that sense i have no clue what the title of volume two will be. >> thank you. >> that was afterwards in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interview. wash afterwards programs online apple tv.org. >> here's a look at some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to usa today. fox news host phil o'reilly along with martin to gardner on the list at the look of the attempted assassination of reagan affected his presidency.
donald trump's latest book, crippled america outlines his plans to improve the u.s. economy, reform the healthcare system, and strengthen the military. ben carson is also an usa today list of best-selling nonfiction with, a more perfect union. he argues for a more perfect union. he argues for a better understanding of the constitution. next up, they applied navy seal combat lessons to business and life in extreme ownership. wrapping up our look at some of the titles on usa today's list of best-selling nonfiction books is an examination of the 1692 salem witch trial by pulitzer prize winning author stacy shea. several of these authors however will be appearing a book to be, you can watch them on our website, book to be.org. [inaudible conversations]
.. >> welcome back to booktv continuing live coverage of the 32nd annual miami their book festival. follow us on twitter ticket scheduled updates at booktv is our twitter handle. also the full schedule is available at our website, booktv.org. the first author event for the day is beginning. to you here from longtime journalist gail sheehy and rabbi kushner discussing their latest books. both of which are memoirs. this is live coverage of the miami book fair on booktv on c-span2. ♪ ♪