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After the war to end all wars, men and women from all over the world converged on Paris for the Peace Conference. At its heart were the three great powers—Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau—but thousands of others came too, each with a different agenda. Kings, prime ministers and foreign ministers with their crowds of advisers rubbed shoulders with journalists and lobbyists for a hundred causes, from Armenian independence to women’s rights. Everyone had business that year—T.E. Lawrence, Queen Marie of Romania, Maynard Keynes, Ho Chi Minh. There had never been anything like it before, and there never has been since.
For six extraordinary months the city was effectively the centre of world government as the peacemakers wound up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China and dismissed the Arabs, struggled with the problems of Kosovo,…[more]
In February 1972, Richard Nixon, the first American president ever to visit China, and Mao Tse-tung, the enigmatic Communist dictator, met for an hour in Beijing. Their meeting changed the course of history and ultimately laid the groundwork for the complex relationship between China and the United States that we see today.
That monumental meeting in 1972–during what Nixon called “the week that changed the world”–could have been brought about only by powerful leaders: Nixon himself, a great strategist and a flawed human being, and Mao, willful and ruthless. They were assisted by two brilliant and complex statesmen, Henry Kissinger and Chou En-lai. Surrounding them were fascinating people with unusual roles to play, including the enormously disciplined and unhappy Pat Nixon and a small-time Shanghai actress turned monstrous empress, Jiang Qing. And behind all of them lay the complex history of two countries, two great and equally confident civilizations:…[more]