Niall Ferguson on the Life of Henry Kissinger

Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University

Niall Ferguson on the Life of Henry Kissinger by The Chicago Council

Henry Kissinger is one of the most important strategic thinkers America has ever produced, according to Harvard historian Niall Ferguson. But while Kissinger’s position at the heart of twentieth century US foreign policymaking, and as advisor to every president from Kennedy to Obama is legendary, less well known are the life experiences that molded his character. The surprising trajectory of his early career and the idealism that underpinned his youthful worldview, Ferguson claims, challenge assumptions of Kissinger as the ruthless arch-realist. Has history misrepresented Kissinger? And as we reinterpret the story of this titan of US diplomacy, what lessons can today’s leaders learn from Kissinger the idealist?

Niall Ferguson’s new book, Kissinger: Volume I: The Idealist, 1923-1968 will be available for purchase and signing after the program.

Not a member? Join The Chicago Council or upgrade your membership at the event and receive a complimentary copy of Kissinger: Volume I: The Idealist, 1923-1968.

Speaker Bio


In Defense of Henry Kissinger,”  Robert Kaplan, The Atlantic, May 2013

Niall Ferguson’s ‘Kissinger. Volume 1. 1923-1968: The Idealist,” Andrew Roberts, The New York Times, 9/30/2015

The Meaning of Kissinger,” Niall Ferguson, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2015

The Kissinger Diaries: What He Really Thought About Vietnam,” Niall Ferguson, POLITICO, 10/10/2015

"A Path Out of the Middle East Collapse," Henry A. Kissinger, The Wall Street Journal, 10/16/2015


5:30 p.m.            
Registration and cash bar reception

6:00 p.m.            
Presentation and discussion

7:15 p.m.            
Adjournment and book signing