Within days of its publication three months ago Henry Kissingerís latest book, World Order, became the number one seller on Amazon.comís International Relations list and #618 in sales at B&N. Interestingly, Amazon.com shows 176 reviews for the book; while B&N only has 6.
In Part 1 of this ďreview of reviewsĒ story I wrote about some of the early reviews of World Order that appeared in the major media, mostly written by celebrity (Hillary Rodham Clinton) or well- known professionals in the field or book review writers. Many of those reviews were biased, as to be expected with such a controversial author and subject matter, but controversy rarely hurts book sales.
So whatís happened to WORLD ORDER in the last two months? Sales continue to do well, although perhaps not as well as either Kissinger or Penguin, his publisher, would have hoped. However, the reviews continue to appear at a steady pace, but the sources and natures of the reviews have changed considerably since the first flurry appeared when the book was published. Iíve used a Google search to keep track of media announcements on WORLD ORDER for the last couple of months; and in going over the results (I actually saved them in a Word file.) all at once gives you a better peerispective of whatís going on than reading them haphazardly as they appear.
Here are some of the things Iíve noticed:
Cases In Point
Mini-review by Paul Johnson in The Spectator
World Order by Henry Kissinger (Penguin, £25). Kissinger is unique. I recall reading his first book, A World Restored, on my honeymoon because my wife had compiled the index. Though the fruits of his Harvard PhD. thesis, it is still the best account of the post-Napoleonic settlement. Now, 60 years later, he surveys the world we live in today with the same mixture of wisdom, profound knowledge, terse analysis, and contempt for fashionable humbug. Of all the statesmen I have met, with the possible exception of Lee Kuan Yew, he is the most impressive, and this book is his summa diplomatica. (brief, to the point and well-written)
Iíve been writing reviews of one kind or another for well over a half-century and Iíve enjoyed doing it Most of the time I just said what I felt in my review, whether it was good or bad, and let the arrows fly afterwards. Iíve also made it a point over the years not to accept freebies, especially as a travel writer. That cost me some money but it also earned me a lot of respect from my peers and my clients. It also opened doors and access to sources that would never have been available to a ďfor profitĒ reviewer. I looked for those kinds of writers as I read these various reviews and I have to admit I didnít find many. On the other hand, when you consider the source and subject of the book perhaps that is understandable.
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