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The End of History and the Last Man [Paperback]

Francis Fukuyama
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Jan 1993

In 1989, Francis Fukuyama began an explosive debate about the future of the world in the post-Cold War era with an article entitled ‘The End of History and the Last Man’. This seminal book expands on his original work to address the fundamental and far-reaching themes of the new millennium. The result is nothing short of an historical and philosophical primer for the onslaught of the 21st century.

‘In the mastery and scope of its case, ‘The End of History and the Last Man’ may be seen as the first book of the post-Marxist millennium – the first work fully to fathom the depth and range of the changes now sweeping through the world’ George Gilder, the Washington Post.



Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (28 Jan 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140134557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140134551
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 13.4 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Francis Fukuyama was born in Chicago in 1952. His work includes America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy and After the Neo Cons: Where the Right went Wrong. He now lives in Washington D.C. with his wife and children, where he also works as a part time photographer.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The twentieth century, it is safe to say, has made all of us into deep historical pessimists. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books in recent years 10 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback
The End of History and the Last Man combines a wide range of subjects: history, philosophy, political theory, international relations, economics and psychology to build a coherent model of human history. Fukuyama shows insightfulness and lucidity in this enormous undertaken – he is an intellectual heavyweight.
The book argues that History ends with Liberal Democracy in the political sphere and the free-market in the economic sphere. Its critics contend that it is merely western triumphalism at the end of the Cold War. However, this book is anything but triumphant. Fukuyama analysis the type of man (hence the second, often over-looked, part of the title “…and the Last Man”) living at the end of History. Fukuyama does not like what he sees: the Last Man has no higher ideals above his own health. He lives solely to prolong his existence. He is risk averse; a weak pitiful creature scared of death.
One reviewer of the book gives it one star because Fukuyama uses the Hegelian historical paradigm. However, this is only half the story because Fukuyama builds two independent, although complementary, views of history’s linearity: one Hegelian the other based on improving technology and increasing scientific knowledge. Hence even if you are not Hegelian you can still largely agree with Fukuyama’s arguments.
This is one of my favourite books and it is impossible to do Fukuyama’s clever, finely balanced juxtaposed arguments justice. I can only recommend reading the book. Finally, because this book embraces so many subjects it has made me want to explore many of the ideas behind the arguments.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging but unconvincing 6 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The year is 1993. The Berlin wall has fallen. The West has won the Cold War. The West's ideology seems triumphant as Communism has been discredited around the world. In this heady political milieu, Francis Fukuyama posits that History has ended because it is directional and inexorably leads all people to choose the most rational form of government: liberal democracy. Twenty years on, Fukuyama's thesis seems questionable.

THE THESIS
The End of History is based on the Hegelian conception of history as the unfolding of Spirit. History, defined by Hegel as the progress of mankind to higher levels of rationality and freedom, terminates in the achievement of full self-consciousness. Fukuyama argues that mankind seems to be making Hegelian progress for two reasons: economics and the need for self-recognition.

1. ECONOMICS. Modern economies need to be rationally organised. Plans need to be made and products produced using rational means. As such, reason and efficiency become the animating features of a modern economy. In the process, rational means of production undermine traditional sources of authority such as clan ties and religion.

2. SELF-RECOGNITION. Various interest groups in a modern country vie for power in order to be 'recognisd'. People, being social creatures, want to have their voices heard. The only system that guarantees that the voices of competing interest groups will indeed be heard is liberal democracy

So far, so good.

THE ANTITHESIS
The End of History was written at the end of the Cold War when Russia was comatose and China had not yet emerged on the world stage. Fast forward twenty years and the story is different. China is the second-largest economy in the world and is emerging as a counter weight to the West.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars End or no end, what an eventful journey! 14 Mar 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a beginner, I found this book to be a clear and inspiring introduction to political philosophy, from Plato to Nietzsche. It also provides a model to understand history: a constant evolution of societal arrangements as opposed to a random sequence of events.
Mr Fukuyama’s argument is that liberal democracy and the free market are superior forms of political and economic organization. Any issues can be resolved within these systems – as opposed to replacing them with alternatives. Humans are mostly satisfied with these arrangements. We have therefore reached the “End of History”.
Recent terrorist attacks suggest that not all humans are satisfied with democracy and free markets. While these systems may have proved superior to an ideology (communism) – further challenges may lie ahead.
Regardless of whether history is at an end, this book is an insightful and compelling journey through the landscape of western political thought.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
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. Hegel and Marx believed that the evolution of human societies would end when mankind had achieved a form of society that satisfies its deepest and most fundamental longings. For Hegel this was the liberal state while for Marx it was a communist society. Fukuyama believes that humanity will be led to liberal democracy.

The book is divided into five sections. Part I addresses the issue of universal history. As individuals we can be optimistic about the 20th century with its improving prospects of health and happiness but pessimistic at the slow progress towards liberal democracy. This 20th century pessimism is in contrast to the optimism of the 19th century marked by peace and improvements in material well being. Science was conquering disease and poverty and the spirit of 1776 and the French Revolution was spreading throughout the world. There was a feeling of accumulating knowledge, increasing wisdom and advancement from the lower to higher levels of intelligence and well being. Free trade was replacing empire building and it seemed that war would be economically irrational. But the 20th century started disastrously with thousands dying daily over a few yards of ground in World War I. Horrendous as this war turned out to be, it was only a foretaste of new forms of evil backed by modern technology and more sophisticated political organization. The ultimate evil of the holocaust emerged in a country with the most advanced industrial economy and one of the most cultured and well-educated populations in Europe, highlighting the need for technological progress to be accompanied by moral progress.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant !
Even if you don't agree with all of Fukuyama's opinions (or even any) one has to admire some of his insights and the clarity of his expression. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Tony Lord
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Description of The Current World.
This is the best book I have ever read. If you want to understand the modern democratic world of liberal democracies in clear writing, READ THIS BOOK; READ IT NOW.
Published 2 months ago by James Bond
4.0 out of 5 stars I may not agree but it's still a good book
Fukuyama writes very well, he engages you right from the beginning and takes you on a mesmerising journey that includes tables, figures, stats, quotes, everything he needs to posit... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sajad Jiyad
2.0 out of 5 stars what a load of well-written claptrap
So there we have it- a bit of 'thymos' and there's your excuse for exploiting workers around the world in the name of capitalism. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2009 by ndb_master
4.0 out of 5 stars A nightmare dressed in silver clothes
A mythic history book that has fed reams upon reams of debate, but seventeen years later it sure has aged. First let's be clear. Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2007 by Jacques COULARDEAU
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 20 Oct 2005 by Luc REYNAERT
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read
Having first read this book perhaps ten years ago it has been interesting to watch world events unfold a democratic ideas continue to take hold across the globe. Read more
Published on 10 April 2005 by J. Dix
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling insight into the nature of progress
This eclectic, highly innovative piece of works intellectual influence is difficult to underestimate. Read more
Published on 21 Dec 2003 by A. J. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars ...Sometimes Fukuyama himself seems uncertain that his argument can be...
Admittedly, this is highly optimistic and has made large generalisations. Sometimes Fukuyama himself seems uncertain that his argument can be sustained. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2001 by emma.br@tinyworld.co.uk
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