Cover image for Henry Kissinger and the American approach to foreign policy
Henry Kissinger and the American approach to foreign policy
Cleva, Gregory D., 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lewisburg : Bucknell University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, [1989]

Physical Description:
280 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Spine title: Henry Kissinger.

Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E840.8.K58 C56 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This analysis of Henry Kissinger's historical philosophy, statecraft, and views on international politics reveals Kissinger to be a transitional figure who urged a conversion of American foreign policy from an insular to a continental approach.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Apparently a revised dissertation, Cleva's first book is a carefully considered volume from an author who sees Kissinger as a fascinating and towering figure. Given the heavy literature on Kissinger, Cleva, a Pentagon analyst, candidly asked himself what new insights one more study could offer. His answer is an attempt to explicate the roots and development of Kissinger's intellectual orientations and philosophy of history as revealed in scholarly writings from his pre-statesman 1947-1968 period. He sees a basic central theme in Kissinger's scholarship counterposing "insular" and "Continental" perspectives. Cleva says Kissinger remained very much a European Continentalist who deplored the typical island-nation "national character" of England, the US, and even some Continental countries whose people had historically perceived themselves as isolated. To Kissinger, the insular worldview includes such tendencies as a chronic desire to withdraw and to be left alone, an introspective mentality, and an erratic pattern of absolute values leading to a search for permanent self-maintaining solutions in foreign affairs. Thus, Kissinger has been an anomaly among American statesmen, never totally "at home" within the traditional viewpoints of his adopted country. Readers could agree or disagree, but Cleva generally argues his case well, in a readable style. Future students of American statesmen and statecraft will probably want to take Cleva's contentions into account. A valuable 17-page bibliography listing most of the significant works by and about Kissinger is included. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate collections. -V. Davis, University of Kentucky