The End of History and the Last Man

The End of History and the Last Man


By (author) Francis Fukuyama

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 208mm x 36mm | 458g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140134557
  • ISBN 13: 9780140134551
  • Illustrations note: bibliography, index
  • Sales rank: 140,152

Product description

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".

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Author information

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.

Editorial reviews

In 1989, The National Interest published "The End of History?" by Fukuyama, then a senior official at the State Department. In that comparatively short but extremely controversial article, Fukuyama speculated that liberal democracy may constitute the "end point of mankind's ideological evolution" and hence the "final form of human government." Now Fukuyama has produced a brilliant book that, its title notwithstanding, takes an almost entirely new tack. To begin with, he examines the problem of whether it makes sense to posit a coherent and directional history that would lead the greater part of humanity to liberal democracy. Having answered in the affirmative, he assesses the regulatory effect of modern natural science, a societal activity consensually deemed cumulative as well as directional in its impact. Turning next to a "second, parallel account of the historical process," Fukuyama considers humanity's struggle for recognition, a concept articulated and borrowed (from Plato) by Hegel. In this context, he goes on to reinterpret culture, ethical codes, labor, nationalism, religion, war, and allied phenomena from the past, projecting ways in which the desire for acknowledgement could become manifest in the future. Eventually, the author addresses history's presumptive end and the so-called "last man," an unheroic construct (drawn from Tocqueville and Nietzsche) who has traded prideful belief in individual worth for the civilized comforts of self-preservation. Assuming the prosperity promised by contemporary liberal democracy indeed come to pass, Fukuyama wonders whether or how the side of human personality that thrives on competition, danger, and risk can be fulfilled in the sterile ambiance of a brave new world. At the end, the author leaves tantalizingly open the matter of whether mankind's historical journey is approaching a close or another beginning; he even alludes to the likelihood that time travelers may well strike out in directions yet undreamt. An important work that affords significant returns on the investments of time and attention required to get the most from its elegantly structured theme. (Kirkus Reviews)

Table of contents

Part 1 An old question asked anew: our pessimism; the weakness of strong states 1; the weakness of strong states 2, or, eating pineapples on the moon; the worldwide liberal revolution. Part 2 The old age of mankind: an idea for a universal history; the mechanism of desire; no barbarians at the gates; accumulation without end; the victory of the VCR; in the land of education; the former question answered; no democracy without democrats. Part 3 The struggle for recognition: in the beginning, a battle to the death for pure prestige; the first man; a vacation in Bulgaria; the beast with red cheeks; the rise and fall of Thymos; lordship and bondage; the universal and homogeneous state; Part 4 Leaping over Rhodes: the coldest of all cold monsters; the thymotic origins of work; empires of resentment, empires of deference; the unreality of "realism"; the power of the powerless; national interests; toward a pacific union. Part 5 The last man: in the realm of freedom; men without chests; free and unequal; perfect rights and defective duties; immense wars of the spirit.