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In 1972 Nixon amazed the world by going to China. The first trip ever by a US President was an immense gamble but a brilliant stroke of policy. It marked the end of deep freeze in Sino-American relations and changed the international balance of power for ever. This turning point in history was enacted by extraordinary players: Nixon himself, red-baiter, shrewd statesman and disgraced politician; Mao, frail, erratic, ruthless; the twin Machiavellis Kissinger and Chou En-lai; brittle, unhappy Pat Nixon; and Mao’s wife Jiang Qing, the small-time Shanghai actress become scourge of Chinese civilization.


'Macmillan provides a highly readable narrative which combines detail and approachability, stuffed with acute observations and wonderful vignettes'
Jonathan Fenby, Observer
'Seize the Hour is an admirable example of the storyteller's power... she pulls us along with her vigorous narrative and telling details'
Jonathan Mirsky, Spectator
'She writes vividly and in detail ... This is diplomatic history at its most lively and accessible'
Sir Percy Cradock, Sunday Telegraph
'The deep background to a clash of cultures, politics and national interests is narrated with operatic pace and sound scholarship'
The Times
'[MacMillan's] narrative grips ... a worthy successor to Peacemakers'
Max Hastings, The Sunday Times
'Margaret MacMillan ... has now done fitting justice to another great diplomatic episode. With a sharp eye for the ironic and the bizarre, she describes the intrigues, the insults and the betrayals of her characters. ... This is a great story, entertainingly told'
The Economist
'Macmillan covers the geopolitical ramifications clearly and concisely but also adds great anecdotal titbits about the characters involved and the problems thrown up by the clash of two such vastly different cultures, making this an absorbing account'
Siobhan Murphy, Metro
'A superbly researched and immensely detailed account'
Paul Johnson, Literary Review
'The slyness of Kissinger comes across on every page ... For a great moment in history, it was a remarkably shabby human tale. Macmillan tells that side of it well'
David Rennie, Daily Telegraph
'A detailed and readable survey of the visit'
Jon Halliday, Guardian