- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; Reissue edition (March 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743284550
- ISBN-13: 978-0743284554
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The End of History and the Last Man Reissue Edition
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
However, I found it difficult to believe the argument for the directionality of history, based mainly on appeal to scientific method and technological advancement. The argument as to why liberal economies result in liberal democracies was even less convincing.
Having said this it is a very interesting read that opens up many different avenues to explore. Indeed if, like me, you are not educated in social or political philosophy this is a great introduction to some of the great challenges of society today and to several of the great contributors to the underlying ideas of Anglo Saxon liberal democracy.
An excellent book.
The idea of "history" is more complex than simply recounting the names and dates of various persons, nations and events. It has to do with a purposeful progression of events to a specific goal and once that goal is attained we find ourselves at the end of history and the last man. That doesn't mean there won't be more generations born and that there won't be any more events. It means that, in Fukuyama's case, that what is left is the implementation of democracy and capitalism for more and more of the worlds peoples.
The question is, "Is that really all there is to the human journey?" Is democracy and capitalism really the goal towards which the universe has been driving for billions of years?
For all intents and purposes, this book is Francis Fukuyama's eschatology! (Google it, or look it up in Wikipedia if you don't know what "eschatology" is). If you read this book, and I did find it a worthwhile thought provoking and readable read, then I recommend you read Jurgen Motmann's "The Coming God" to discover the background for western "eschatological" thinking, and for a different view on what the end of history may mean. I like Moltmann's vision way over Fukuyama's.
As an evolutionary catalyst threading throughout human history, Fukuyama examines the details of the ever-insistent human trait of "Thymos," a driving human impulse for recognition: "the primary motor driving history." Fukuyama carefully threads the social implications and political impact of "Thymos" throughout history and its tenuous development through various less than savory political forms (Authoritarianism, Communism, Fascism) until it arrives at its most counter-balanced form under the current rising epoch of Liberal Democracy.
For Fukuyama, the natural culmination of human political and social society ends triumphantly with Liberal Democracy. It is with Liberal Democracy that mankind's needs and wants are most thoroughly satisfied: The balanced state of "Isothymia." It is with Liberal Democracy that the passionate drive for recognition of "Thymos" (and it's most severe condition: "megalothymia.") is most innocuous.
However, as the culmination of human history, modern Liberal Democracy is not without its incipient flaws (the constant tug of war between Liberty versus Equality) or its potential for crippling problems arising from an unchecked "megalothymia:" Equations that Fukuyama explores with iconoclastic precision with the ever powerful and frightening Friedrich Nietzsche as his intellectual blunt instrument.
With Nietzsche as his ruthless gadfly, Fukuyama arrives at the danger of the Last Man: "We risk becoming secure and self-absorbed last men, devoid of thymotic striving for higher goals...Men would face the constant danger of degenerating from citizens to mere bourgeois." The problem of the Last Man highlights and outlines current social disintegration in our very own society. (Some brief examples: The poor voter participation, the apathy of our citizens to engage in worthy causes, our lack of community spirit, etc.) If the sickness of the Last Man is left to fester, if it is not addressed, modern Liberal Democracies would "grow into a morass of selfish hedonism and community would ultimately dissolve."
This book is a fantastic piece of work. I had great fun reading this book and I am sure that I will re-read it again.
Most recent customer reviews
Great, multi-vector geopolitical analysis of the '90s. In terms of macro-historical, philosophical (Hegel, Kojève, Marx, Hobbes, Locke) and mapping...Read more