Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, The

Gary J. Bass
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General NonfictionWinner of the Lionel Gelber Prize for Best Foreign Affairs BookOne of the Best Books of the Year at * The Economist * Financial Times * The New Republic * The Washington Post * Kirkus Reviews *A New York Times Notable Book This magnificent history provides the first full account of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s secret support for Pakistan in 1971 as it committed shocking atrocities in Bangladesh—which led to war between India and Pakistan, shaped the fate of Asia, and left major strategic consequences for the world today.Drawing on previously unheard White House tapes, recently declassified documents, and his own extensive investigative reporting, Gary Bass uncovers an astonishing unknown story of superpower brinkmanship, war, scandal, and conscience. Revelatory, authoritative, and compulsively readable, The Blood Telegram is a thrilling chronicle of a pivotal chapter in American foreign policy.


Reviewed: 2019-11-21
Impressively researched, diligently argued recounting of the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971, or rather the impact of that genocide on the relationship between India, Pakistan, and the United States. The author makes a strong case that Nixon and Kissinger, despite their professed realism in foreign policy, allowed attachment to Pakistan's leader and quest for personal glory to determine their actions, rather than rational assessment of the impact on the standing of the US. Most of the weakness of this book is in the dry narrative and over-reliance on often awkward or ambiguously-phrased quotation. However, I think a deeper weakness is that the book has very little to say about the impact of the genocide on the Bengalis themselves. While statistical or general descriptions of atrocities are sprinkled throughout the book, very few of the many first-hand accounts come from Bangaladeshi Bengalis.
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