Oh well, another one bites the dust. After listening for more than two hours, I had to give up. I found that by the time the wordy sentences ended, I had no idea where they had originally begun. Although for history scholars, the book may be in a four or five star category, for me, a simple reader, it is a two.
There is so much information being presented, and it is so dry, it feels more like a text book than a book for the general public. To call this book pedagogical would be an understatement. I felt like I was in a lecture hall being force fed all sorts of irrelevant information by the author, instead of getting directly to the point. An outline for study purposes felt more appropriate.
Perhaps in a print book, it would be an easier read. One could skim over the extraneous passages and superfluous words, but with an audio, it is not possible. While the book is detailed and informative, it is way too verbose for the average reader.
Kissinger lays out the early forms of government and, using them, begins explaining the idea of a world order encompassing the globe, using the Westphalian Doctrine as a guide. In some sense, the creation of a global world order, leading to a balance of power, seemed a bit Pollyanna to me since the idea seems, at this time, to be failing. The world is on fire today, with conflicts in so many places, many of which are in the Middle East. If in the global world order there is a balance of power, it doesn’t seem to be developing that way. There are still certain countries that seek to control and dominate the world. Peace fells elusive.
Moving from emperors to religious leaders, caliphates to empires, politicians to philosophers, the mechanics of ruling and the ruling classes are described. The reader will recognize the names of many personages mentioned: the Hapsburgs, Richelieu, Kant and numerous others who have influenced the system of governing from Europe to Asia and to the United States, over several centuries. It reads like a primer, although more sophisticated in subject matter than a primer, as it offers explanations for the progression of various regimes and governments that ruled over time, some through blood lines and some with religious fervor. In the current day, so many of the world leaders are at odds with each other, it is hard to say what world order will develop now. The saying goes, it is so bad, it can’t get worse…one can only hope that is true!