REVIEWS OF WORLD ORDER BY HENRY KISSINGER: PART 2

by Larry Peery


Introduction

Within days of its publication three months ago Henry Kissingerís latest book, World Order, became the number one seller on Amazon.comís International Relations list and #618 in sales at B&N. Interestingly, Amazon.com shows 176 reviews for the book; while B&N only has 6.

The Over-View

In Part 1 of this ďreview of reviewsĒ story I wrote about some of the early reviews of World Order that appeared in the major media, mostly written by celebrity (Hillary Rodham Clinton) or well- known professionals in the field or book review writers. Many of those reviews were biased, as to be expected with such a controversial author and subject matter, but controversy rarely hurts book sales.

So whatís happened to WORLD ORDER in the last two months? Sales continue to do well, although perhaps not as well as either Kissinger or Penguin, his publisher, would have hoped. However, the reviews continue to appear at a steady pace, but the sources and natures of the reviews have changed considerably since the first flurry appeared when the book was published. Iíve used a Google search to keep track of media announcements on WORLD ORDER for the last couple of months; and in going over the results (I actually saved them in a Word file.) all at once gives you a better peerispective of whatís going on than reading them haphazardly as they appear.

Here are some of the things Iíve noticed:

  1. More of the reviews are appearing in the international media; and in many of those reviews the discussion of the book is less important than the political agenda of the newspaper or writer.

  2. More of the reviews have taken a definitely biased position on the book and the Conservative press has used it as an excuse to bash Hillary Clinton for her generally favorable review.

  3. Many of the reviews appear in publications or on sites that claim to be ďindependent, unbiased, etc.Ē but when you look at who is behind them are actually mouthpieces for various highly partisan groups. What Iíve noticed is that the more a site claims to be ďindependent, objective, thought-provoking, etc.Ē the less it is likely to be any of those.

  4. Henry is still the master of working the crowd as he showed in the media build-up to his appearance at his local library in Kent, CT where he signed several hundred copies, posed for pictures, received a caricature by a local fan, and did a few sound bites for the local media. Heís also done several interviews on the mainstream and internet news programs plugging his book. All in a dayís work for an author, even one 91 years old.

  5. Some reviewers have shopped variations on the same basic review to several regional newspapers; a well-known technique that Iíve used myself on occasion.

Cases In Point

Mini-review by Paul Johnson in The Spectator

World Order by Henry Kissinger (Penguin, £25). Kissinger is unique. I recall reading his first book, A World Restored, on my honeymoon because my wife had compiled the index. Though the fruits of his Harvard PhD. thesis, it is still the best account of the post-Napoleonic settlement. Now, 60 years later, he surveys the world we live in today with the same mixture of wisdom, profound knowledge, terse analysis, and contempt for fashionable humbug. Of all the statesmen I have met, with the possible exception of Lee Kuan Yew, he is the most impressive, and this book is his summa diplomatica. (brief, to the point and well-written)

Conclusion

Iíve been writing reviews of one kind or another for well over a half-century and Iíve enjoyed doing it Most of the time I just said what I felt in my review, whether it was good or bad, and let the arrows fly afterwards. Iíve also made it a point over the years not to accept freebies, especially as a travel writer. That cost me some money but it also earned me a lot of respect from my peers and my clients. It also opened doors and access to sources that would never have been available to a ďfor profitĒ reviewer. I looked for those kinds of writers as I read these various reviews and I have to admit I didnít find many. On the other hand, when you consider the source and subject of the book perhaps that is understandable.



Larry Peery
(peery@ix.netcom.com)

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