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on 28 March 2008
This book make some good points, and most valuable of all (in my opinion) is the way that Fukuyama revisits and critically assesses some assumptions about statehood, development, institutions &c which are so widely believed that we barely realise they're there.

However, there are parts of the book that get too bogged down in particular subjects, such as organisational theory. I'd suggest cutting half of that bit out, but then the book would be even slimmer (I read it in a single sitting, on a flight from Jo'burg to London).

This book does not provide easy answers to development and state-building, because there *are* no easy answers, but it certainly helps us ask better questions.
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on 27 March 2013
The work as a whole is a decent summary of the current mainstream of moderate-liberal internationalist thought. It is effective as a review of the salient points of what these positions have to offer in regards to state building. However it does not add anything particularly new, so unless one wants to tread over the basics there is not much point to reading it.

A note must be made on the overreaching "theme". This book was very topical upon publication, but the strong focus that it brings on the Afghanistan and Iraq cases makes it seem rapidly dated. Of course the book is not dedicated to mere theory-crafting regarding intervention in these two countries.(less)
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on 16 January 2006
a 200-page book that could have been cut down to 5. Indeed, most of the book has nothing to do with state building, including the long section on whether American foreign policy is better then EU's one - certainly an issue of which Fukuyama, even if I can't share his ideas, has a better understanding than development studies.
The author says that state buldign is important, which is not such a surprising piece of news in 2004. He spends a lot of words on why it is so and what are the consequences of not doing that, but, hello, we know that as well. The problem is HOW and Fukuyama has not an answer and proposes no new ideas.
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