The secret to Henry Kissinger’s success

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Many think the retired diplomat’s closeness to one man — Richard Nixon — was the source of his power.

That gets Kissinger dangerously wrong.

About halfway through writing my biography of Henry Kissinger, an interesting hypothesis occurred to me: Did the former secretary of state owe his success, fame and notoriety not just to his powerful intellect and formidable will but also to his exceptional ability to build an eclectic network of relationships, not only to colleagues in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but also to people outside government: journalists, newspaper proprietors, foreign ambassadors and heads of state — even Hollywood producers?

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee January 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the topic of global challenges and U.S. national security strategy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 29: Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee January 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the topic of global challenges and U.S. national security strategy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

If Volume I had surprised readers with its subtitle — “The Idealist” — should Volume II…

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