This is a bad book. The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, by Gary J. Bass, covers an interesting and terrible period in South Asia, and events that were closely intertwined with shifts in superpower and great-power relations of epochal importance. And when the author is not grinding the axe with which he wishes to decapitate the reputations of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger as architects and executants of American foreign policy, it is often somewhat interesting. But narratively, it never rises above a chronology and is expressionlessly presented apart from the relentlessly repeated effort to portray Nixon and Kissinger as, in the words of the famous diplomatic dispatch that gives the book its title, “morally bankrupt.” As a history of the run-up to the India–Pakistan war of 1971, and of the birth of Bangladesh, it is an adequate and...


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