The Meaning of History

Reflections on Spenler, Toynby and Kant



ISBN: 9789189425866 Category:

Henry Kissinger


The Meaning of History is the senior thesis written by Henry Kissinger at Harvard university in 1950, when he was twenty-seven. More than 70 years later it is now being published for the first time. The thesis explores the thought of three distinct but important thinkers in the canon of Western philosophical and historical thought, in a way that also reflected Kissinger’s own transition from the Continental world to the Atlantic. Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) was a German historian and philosopher; Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) a British historian and philosopher and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), a Prussian of the European Enlightenment era and one of the most important moral and political philosophers to emerge from his time.

The study is intimidatingly long and weighty in its own right; at almost four hundred typed pages, it wrestles with some of the first-order dilemmas of Western political, philosophical, and moral thought. Its scope ranges from the Enlightenment through to the midpoint of the twentieth century – an era scourged by two world wars and the advent of the nuclear age. Equally important, it provides great insight into the conceptual perspective of its author, Henry Kissinger, who was to become the most influential American scholar statesman of the post 1945 period.

Additional information

Weight 928 g
Dimensions 17.9 x 24.8 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 28 February 2023
Number of pages 320
Format Hardback
Dimensions 17.9 x 24.8 cm
Weight 928 g


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “The Meaning of History”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Henry Kissinger served as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and has advised many other American presidents on foreign policy. He received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize and the Medal of Liberty, among other awards. He is the author of numerous books on foreign policy and diplomacy and is currently the chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm.