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The End of History and the Last Man [Paperback]

Francis Fukuyama
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 2006
Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.

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From Publishers Weekly

In a broad, ambitious work of political philosophy, a three-week PW bestseller in cloth, Fukuyama asserts that history is directional and that its endpoint is capitalist liberal democracy.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Fukuyama, then deputy director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, first presented this thesis in the foreign policy journal National Interest (Summer 1989), where it attracted worldwide attention. He argues that there is a positive direction to current history, demonstrated by the collapse of authoritarian regimes of right and left and their replacement (in many but not all cases) by liberal governments. "A true global culture has emerged, centering around technologically driven economic growth and the capitalist social relations necessary to produce and sustain it." In the absence of viable alternatives to liberalism, history, conceived of as the clash of political ideologies, is at an end. We face instead the question of how to forge a rational global order that can accommodate humanity's restless desire for recognition without a return to chaos. Fukuyama's views conveniently present the international politics of the present administration. History disappears very early on in the narrative, to be replaced by abstract philosophy. This essay made into a book is pretentious and overblown, though it offers some grounds for speculation. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/91.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of Technology, Utica
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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The twentieth century, it is safe to say, has made all of us into deep historical pessimists. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars To Be Frank - A Load Of Old Rubbish May 14 2000
Fukuyama's far fetched and frankly irrelevant theories bore me, I'm afraid to say. This was the book that introduced me to that way of thinking - it's basically written by a wealthy American academic (who has spent most of his life employed by the US government), claiming that the American capitalist system has conquered all political alternatives, surpassing even that of democracy and especially that of communism. Capitalism is, for Fukuyama, the end of the evolution of man and the start of an eternal status quo. This idea is laughable in concept and is further ridiculed by his over-selective choice of material which is already outdated. Clearly it is his ideal world - but I not sure that everyone shares it and even less sure that we have reached it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Irrelevant work with amazing staying power May 4 2000
It's really hard to top that priceless review below, but I'll give it a shot. It's really amazing that after about seven years of hindsight, people are still writing rave reviews of this book for its amazing philosophical insights. Fukuyama himself had to back-pedal several times to qualify the bubbling optimism he expressed in the early nineties about the final victory of liberal democracy and the "end of History" (he essentially refutes his own thesis in the conclusion to this book). It's also quite interesting that none of the reviewers who loved this book so much noted the inherent contradiction in Fukuyama's use of Marxist philosophical methods to arrive at a "non-Marxist conclusion," or his continuous extolling of Hegel as some sort of predecessor to liberal democracy. Hegel was hardly democratic in outlook (he greatly admired the powerful and autocratic Prussian state) and he can rightfully be considered an early proponent of an exclusive northern German nationalism. Fukuyama's book is very flawed, and should have been relegated to the dustbin of history (no capital "H") long ago.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In search of a grand narrative Feb. 26 2000
Doubtless, this book received so much media attention because it was a gullible attempt at turning liberal democracy into a philosophy. This was unskillfully done through cutting and pasting from other existing modes of thought. I particullarly found his generalisations about Islam, Japan or even China quite offensive. If one wishes to stigmatise a whole civilisation, I suggest Mr. Fukuyama ignore the current modes of politicised Islam and have a look at the Middle ages when Muslim and Arab scholary work was the first thing scientists and thinkers turned to salvage themselves from the darkness of the middle ages. It is sufficient to point out that Greek philosophy was revived in Europe through back translation of Muslim scholars not to mention other fields such as Medicine, Chemistry, Math, the list goes on... I beleive that in order to understand where the world is going, one should not engage in re-constructing a meta-narrative with half-truths like that which pertains to liberal democracy which may have offered more choice in terms of how many brands of tea are available but at the expence of creating violence, anxieties, tattered family structures and social fiber. I suggest Mr. Fukuyama read history a bit more closely next time and he will find that the only system which managed to truly free humnity and push civlisation to the forefront is the version of Islam that existed before the 16th century.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this as good as it gets? April 15 2002
This is a book with a certain fame or notoriety, not least due to its title. Having finally read it, I can appreciate its appeal and yet am perplexed at why it has been misinterpreted so widely, and why such a badly-written and ill-thought-out work has been taken so seriously.
The danger of a book like this is that it can reinforce or pander to some people's prejudices - after the fall of Communism we in the West did deserve a metaphorical pat on the back, but that's a long way from just kicking back as saying "well folks, this is as good as it gets". A cursory reading of "The End of History" would no doubt assure the armchair warriors that all's well with the world now the Reds have gone.
BUT, Fukuyama is not so sure as that. He puts forward an hypothesis about the triumph of liberal democracy (this is what human history has been leading up to) but utterly fails to prove that hypothesis. That's not to say that the hypothesis is not worthy of thought and debate - Fukuyama is at least to be congratulated for that. What I found less satisfactory was the quality of argument and analysis found in the book, and I'm no professional historian or philosopher. Just two among many examples - Fukuyama classes the USA and Great Britain as a "liberal democracies" from, respectively, 1790 and 1848: utterly astounding. I was equally perplexed by this:
"A century of Marxist thought has accustomed us to think of capitalist societies as highly inegalitarian, but the truth is that they are far more egalitarian in their social effects than the agricultural societies they replaced". Well so what? Last time I was in Rome, I noticed they were no longer throwing Christians to the lions.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Influenced my world view forever
A great book has a kernel of an idea so profound that you will never forget it. This is such a book. Read more
Published on July 4 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars The Penultimate Man
Perhaps it's not fair to write a review of this book, since I read it after it's thesis has been shown to be false in light of the events of 9-11. But, I'll do it anyways. Read more
Published on June 4 2004 by Casey Woodling
1.0 out of 5 stars Fukuyama needs a dictionary
...to look up the meaning of the word 'teleology.'
Published on May 30 2004 by jeffrey schwartz
2.0 out of 5 stars He's not optimistic
Fukuyama argues in The End of History that 'the last man [i.e., us] becomes concerned above all for his own personal health and safety, because it is uncontroversial.... Read more
Published on March 22 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars People Still Take this Seriously?
Fukuyama's book has become a somewhat amusing example of how not to practice history. Very few academics take this man seriously, perhaps we should. Read more
Published on March 8 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
By 'the end of history' Fukuyama means that humankind has found the ultimate form of governance and that the period of experimentation has come to an end. Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2004 by DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS
1.0 out of 5 stars Consider the source . . .
I did enjoy this book when i first read it two years ago. However, with the invasion of Iraq, I discovered the author, Professor Fukuyama, is a member of the warmongering group... Read more
Published on June 23 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Argument for Liberal Democracy
Fukuyama does an excellent job of arguing his case, that democratization is man at his political best and the telos of human political history. Read more
Published on June 9 2003 by nafrica
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Turn in an Ancient Debate
I only wish I'd read Fukuyama's book after taking a slew of political theory courses in the early '90s. Read more
Published on April 21 2003 by Bradley K. Stilwell
1.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentally flawed and full of nonsense.
This book is basically vested on Hegel and thymos (search for recognition).
Hegel's theories are fundamentally wrong and thymos is not an essential human necessity. Read more
Published on April 14 2003 by Luc REYNAERT
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