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Publisher's Summary

In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book length to a country he has known intimately for decades and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. On China illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such pivotal events as the initial encounters between China and tight line modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, and Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing. With a new final chapter on the emerging superpower’s 21st-century role in global politics and economics, On China provides historical perspective on Chinese foreign affairs from one of the premier statesmen of our time.

©2011 Henry Kissinger (P)2011 Penguin
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“Fascinating, shrewd...The book deftly traces the rhythms and patterns of Chinese history.” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

“No one can lay claim to so much influence on the shaping of foreign policy over the past 50 years as Henry Kissinger.” (The Financial Times)

"Fascinating.... In On China, statesman Henry Kissinger draws on historical records and 40 years of direct interaction with four generations of Chinese leaders to analyze the link between China’s ancient past and its present day trajectory. In doing so, the man who helped shape modern East-West relations presents an often unsettling, occasionally hopeful and always compelling accounting of what we’re up against." (The Chicago Sun-Times)

What listeners say about On China

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    5 out of 5 stars

understanding of Chinese singularity

I have been doing business in China for a number of years. I continue to read and learn what I can in a futile attempt to understand the Chinese and their business practices. Each book I read makes me feel a little smarter and better armed but none have ever given me an “AH HAA” moment, that is until I read “Henry Kissinger on China.” This book is an autobiography of Dr. Kissinger’s work over the years in China. He starts with a history lesson that is complete and comprehensive. Importantly, this history lesson helps to set the stage for a much more complete understanding of the Chinese values and mindset that so often loses me. After Dr. Kissinger sets the stage he has left the reader with a complete understanding of Chinese singularity, and the historical path to modern China.

The reader is then treated to a rare insider’s look at the how the Chinese and the American’s approached each other, worked through many difficulties and misunderstandings to become economic bedmates. Dr. Kissinger’s insight helps to outline the how and why of Chinese policy. The reader can formulate an understanding of the Chinese approach through this lens provided in the book. For me, historically significant events are now understandable. I would never say that I could understand Chinese politics, or would never presume to attempt to predict Chinese political response to an event, I will say that I can now understand the Chinese point of view and I can now formulate better analysis of tact I wish to take in business and I am better equipped to understand Chinese reactions to those events.

The book is logically broken down, chronologically, into neat blocks that stack on one another. Dr. Kissinger closes the book with two thought provoking chapters, “The New Millennium” and “Does History Repeat Itself?” In these two chapters Dr. Kissinger lays out a myriad of possible events and typifies American responses. Then we are asked if we learned anything from the book. I found the book to be extremely interesting and highly educational. I thank my friend for giving this to me as a gift.

20 people found this helpful

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Long, academic, bland - AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Put this book on double speed playback. It's long. It's very dry and somewhat repetitive at points. It's clearly the bias opinion of one person who has been criticized for his role in world affairs. Nonetheless, the historical perspective on China and the specific insights into the Chinese/American dynamic should not be foregone by anyone interested in political policy or business relationships with China. I came away with a more empathetic understanding of China than I had before, and while I do not think I am qualified to set American policy on China just from reading one book, I no longer view the issue of Taiwan or the Communist party in the same way. America must learn to engage China in a positive way, and informed American voters should read this book.

13 people found this helpful

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Communist Propaganda

Seems like he (Kissinger) spent a little too much time in China. Was hoping for a little more subjectivity around the fall to communism. Kissinger seems to be at a minimum neutral to communism.

5 people found this helpful

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The best book on understanding China

The way the book was laid out to explin the world as the Chinese see it from a historical and a modern view point goes a long way to understand the Korean war and other flash points. It also explain how they will tend to react in the future.

If you are going to do business in China read this book first.

5 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Great book, great read for understanding the history and culture of the Chinese people written in a way that Westerners can understand.

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Another History of China

I wrote my MA thesis on China's politics, economics, and history, so I was expecting more of an in depth look at the US China relationship with this book. I was quite surprised and disappointed with this offering. Unfortunately Jonathan Spence's Making of Modern China covers the historical aspects of China exponentially better than Kissinger.
Where I looked for this book to excel and really pay for itself was in the political mindset of China from the opening of Sino-U.S. relations on. This did not begin to take form until the later half of the book and I could have read the NYTs to get the perspective Mr. Kissinger provides. There are a lot of histories on China that are better than this book and Kissinger just does not provide enough meat for me to recommend this volume.

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Fantastic

Well written and researched. Very enlightening. The book has magnificent flow and transition. Narration is also fantastic.

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The World Is Confronted with The Rise of China



世界正面临一个更加自信的中国的崛起。 中国一直在争取时间,但现在已经明显表明,其扩大国际角色的努力正在向前推进。 现状已经改变。

Covid-19大流行似乎将加速中国不断变化的角色。 在更短的时期内,它引发了一系列事件,以中国在世界秩序之首结束。

在接下来的25年中,世界秩序将以驾驶座席中的中国以及俄罗斯和伊朗结束。


The world is confronted with the rise of a more assertive China. China has been biding its time, but it has now become evident that its push for an expanded international role is barreling forward. The status quo has changed.

The Covid-19 pandemic looks set to accelerate China’s changing role. It sets in motion a series of events, over a much briefer period, that ends with China atop the World order.

In the next 25 years, the World order will end with China, along with Russia and Iran, in the driver’s seat.

2 people found this helpful

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Best book on China

This book tops all other books that I have ever read about China, whether it was a non-fiction or a fiction, whether it was written by Chinese, American, or Chinese-American. My view on this, though not authoritative, has some validities. For after all, I have lived 45% of my life in China and the other 55% here in the West.

The book provided no earth-shaking views of any kind, rather it showed Kissinger’s deep understanding of China. What is an understanding? It is knowing, the knowledge of something that transcends the barriers of language. Kissinger articulated complex, subtle and delicate topics at such an ease, that one was made to feel as if s/he was visiting an old friend. Every word was something one already knew, but only now being spoken out aloud. It was ingenious.

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent - Provides a truly broad scope of China

Would you listen to On China again? Why?

Provides a truly broad scope of China and how it perceives itself and it's place in the world. (And why ! )

I will listen to the book again because all of it is worthy of total understanding.

What did you like best about this story?

The broad scope and the first person detail that is not apparent to the media "entertainers".

Which scene was your favorite?

Insight into meetings, conferences, understandings, misunderstandings, and ambiguities.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

How diplomacy is really conducted out of the public view and how it can be made to work for the mutual benefit of the various parties at different times, place and geopolitical balancing.

Any additional comments?

An excellent presentation of China / US / and world geopolitics.

2 people found this helpful