Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao

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9780719565229: Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao
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In February 1972, Nixon amazed the world with a trip to China. He was the first US President to go there - in fact officially the first American since the Communist takeover. It was like a visit to the far side of the moon, but also a brilliant stroke of policy. With China on side Nixon could get out of Vietnam; US technology could help Mao recover from his disastrous Cultural Revolution; most of all, both needed a buttress against Soviet Russia in aggressive mood. Yet the visit set a tone that still lingers. Did the Chinese see Nixon, coming to them, as a supplicant, and has the US been at a disadvantage ever since? Will the two countries cooperate, or will China challenge American dominance? Not just a great historical event, the visit is a great story too, filled with extraordinary people: Nixon himself, red-baiter, crook and shrewd statesman; Mao, frail, erratic, ruthless; the twin machiavellis Chou En-lai and Henry Kissinger; brittle Pat Nixon with her designer coat of 'prostitute's red'; and Mao's wife Jiang Qing, a small-time Shanghai actress now scourge of Chinese civilization. The clash of cultures was almost deafening too: China ancient and contemptuous, with nothing to learn from barbarians beyond the Middle Kingdom, the USA so different but also in its own eyes exceptional - the beacon for the world.

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Review:

'Seize the Hour is an admirable example of the storyteller's power.... I'm sure Margaret MacMillan... won't repine if I say she is neither Homer nor Melville, but she does what they do: she tells a good story... she pulls us along with her vigorous narrative and telling details' (Jonathan Mirsky, Spectator)

'She writes vividly and in detail ... This is diplomatic history at its most lively and accessible' (Sir Percy Cradock, Sunday Telegraph)

'The deep background to a clash of cultures, politics and national interests is narrated with operatic pace and sound scholarship' (The Times)

'[MacMillan's] narrative grips ... a worthy successor to Peacemakers' (Max Hastings, The Sunday Times)

'Margaret MacMillan ... has now done fitting justice to another great diplomatic episode. With a sharp eye for the ironic and the bizarre, she describes the intrigues, the insults and the betrayals of her characters. ... This is a great story, entertainingly told' (The Economist)

'Macmillan covers the geopolitical ramifications clearly and concisely but also adds great anecdotal titbits about the characters involved and the problems thrown up by the clash of two such vastly different cultures, making this an absorbing account' (Siobhan Murphy, Metro)

'A superbly researched and immensely detailed account' (Paul Johnson, Literary Review)

'The slyness of Kissinger comes across on every page ... For a great moment in history, it was a remarkably shabby human tale. Macmillan tells that side of it well' (David Rennie, Daily Telegraph)

'A detailed and readable survey of the visit' (Jon Halliday, Guardian)

'Macmillan provides a highly readable narrative which combines detail and approachability, stuffed with acute observations and wonderful vignettes' (Jonathan Fenby, Observer)

Book Description:

From the prize-winning author of Peacemakers, comes the remarkable story of Nixon, Mao and the week that changed the world

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780719565236: Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0719565235 ISBN 13:  9780719565236
Publisher: John Murray, 2007
Softcover

9780143015581: Seize the Hour

Pengui..., 2005
Hardcover

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