Hadrian's Reviews > The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama
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's review
Aug 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: history, nonfiction, philosophy, politics-and-foreign-policy
Read on August 07, 2011

Francis Fukuyama, unfortunately, is still widely known for his mistakes - and they are big ones - proclaiming the 'end of history' of the 1990s, and his influence in Neoconservatism and the disastrous military adventures of imperialism which resulted from it.

Fortunately for all, he has drifted away from that, and has now released a timely and remarkably observant book about the history and formation of states and political entities, in this particularly uncertain political climate. Political entities are inherently conservative, resisting progress. We're not as far gone as pre-Revolutionary France, but unless certain extreme anti-statist trends are stopped, the United States could slide further and faster from its position at the top.

He covers a broad sweep of history, starting from our distant hominid ancestors and working his way up through ancient China, India, the Middle East, and Europe, comparing and contrasting various trends the whole way. The narrative is thick with historical facts, covering much, and still managing to be very clear.

Furthermore, he states that political order/government is a necessary component of our lives, and that many are only too ignorant of the benefits of it. For an example of libertarian ideas in action, one only need to look at sub-Saharan Africa for that unparalleled success.

A very interesting book - but one that lacks some analysis of more modern eras, particularly of more authoritarian states and a comparison to liberal democracies. That is most likely left to the second volume, which I am waiting for eagerly.
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02/07 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Philippe (new)

Philippe Malzieu Fukuyama was inspired by Hegel seing Napoleon by his window and concluding at the end of history. His extrapolation with the situation of the end of the cold war was an error. There thus was a legitimate suspicion on his posterior writings. I have enough book to read, so I boycott them.

Hadrian I came to that conclusion after reading his The End of History and the Last Man. He later renounced or subdued most of his more ridiculous views, but this conception of history is still deeply flawed.

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