Kissinger was someone that buzzed on my TV set as a kid. I paid little attention and learned about him in my college years. He changed global foreign policy. Generation have and will be affected by his choices.
Earlier, during more critical times, he had been accused of many bad things. Now that he’s gone, his critics will get a chance to rehearse the charges. Christopher Hitchens, who made the case that the former secretary of state should be tried as a war criminal, is himself dead. But there’s a long list of witnesses for the prosecution: reporters, historians, and lawyers eager to provide background on any of Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, East Timor, Bangladesh, against the Kurds, in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Cyprus, among other places.
There have been scores of books published on the man over the years, but it is still Seymour Hersh’s 1983 The Price of Power that future biographers will have to top. Hersh gave us the defining portrait of Kissinger as a preening paranoid, tacking between ruthlessness and sycophancy to advance his career. Small in his vanities and shabby in his motives, Kissinger, in Hersh’s hands, is nonetheless Shakespearean because the pettiness gets played out on a world stage, with epic consequences.
Anthony Bourdain wrote of Kissinger in his 2002 Autobiography, "A Cooks Tour":
People across the world are still picking up the pieces by his decisions. Kissinger is gone-- soon they all will be gone.