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The End of History and the Last Man

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  4,233 ratings  ·  296 reviews
Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Free Press (first published 1992)
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3.53  · 
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 ·  4,233 ratings  ·  296 reviews

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Fukuyama has been an ideological whipping boy since 2001 for his supposed remarks on the 'end of history' being interpreted as triumphal praise for the United States for winning the cold war. Much of this criticism is largely misplaced. He does start off with the bold assertion that liberal-capitalist-democracy is the end point of history, but uses the rest of his chapters to back off from this assertion into a more tepid series of observations.

He does not support liberal-capitalist-democracy f
Mar 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Fukuyama has been much ridiculed since the publication of this book, and the piling-on only increased in intensity after the towering cataclysm of September 11th seemed to herald the exact opposite of what Fukuyama allegedly proclaimed. I say allegedly because Fukuyama himself backed away from the logical implications of his own theory long before the final page—in a review of Trust, another Goodreads member accused Fukuyama of incessant hedging, an imputation with which I concur. This is the wa ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: non-fiction, 501, history
Intelligently written history book that is included in the 501 Must-Read Books. Published in 1992 and based in the authors earlier essay, The End of History, this book says that since the end of Cold War in 1989, history also ceases because there is no balance of power and so liberal democracy will prevail unopposed. The essay came out of course after 9/11 when the landscape of the world was changed especially because of the economic crisis that followed the attack.

Fukuyama expounds on the earli
John Morgan
While I certainly disagree with this book's thesis - that the spread of globalist capitalism and liberal democracy to all parts of the world represents the goal and end point of the historical process - it certainly remains the archetypal work for the American political outlook of the 1990s, during the brief, magical period between America's triumph in the Cold War and 9/11. And, of course, this dream of the '90s remains a potent force in many quarters of America today, even if the events of the ...more
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I normally dont get down with political philosophy books, but this one really explores some serious ideas while putting them in the context of history. Fukuyama bases almost all of his ideology off of Hegel and Kojeve, a modern Hegel scholar from Czech Republic. I love history yet have found Hegel incomprehensible and too dense to even consider buying one of his tomes - for people who are interested in history or the idea of dialectics, read this book. Fukuyama explains Hegel while placing him i ...more
May 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
“But it is not necessarily the case that liberal democracy is the political system best suited to resolving social conflicts per se. A democracy's ability to peacefully resolve conflicts is greatest when those conflicts arise between socalled "interest groups" that share a larger, pre-existing consensus on the basic values or rules of the game, and when the conflicts are primarily economic in nature. But there are other kinds of non-economic conflicts that are far more intractable, having to d
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when it came out in 1992, was impressed by it and kept it for a second read that I completed yesterday.

My first impression that this is a very important work has been confirmed, not only did I find my original highlighting justified, I added a few more. The derision the book has received is not justified and is based on a superficial analysis of the author's idea.

Fukuyama takes as his theme the idea of G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) that history is linear and has arrived at its
Gordan Karlic
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't plan on writing a long review but because of Marko Pustaj, it will be quite long but even then I will only scratch the surface.
I will start with the questions what is liberal democracy? And who was the victor of the Cold war?
Let's answer the second question first. Primarily victor of the Cold war isn't liberal democracy as Fukuyama thought, it is capitalism. Sure countries with liberal democracies lead capitalism toward victory, but during 45 years of Cold often too often did those coun
Ray Hartley
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Francis Fukuyama must hold the title for Most Misunderstood Intellectual. He is derided for having predicted in this seminal work written after the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union that history had "ended". Of course history didn't end and that was not what Fukuyama was suggesting. He was positing that that there would be no "higher stage of development" which would follow capitalism and liberal democracy. Instead, there would be a continuous refinement and adjustment ...more
Nov 26, 2012 rated it liked it
The main thesis of this book is that the combination of free market capitalism and liberal democracy (based on human rights) represents 'the end of history'. To wit, all countries and peoples in the world will eventually attain this supposedly homogeneous state of government, and it will be stable and self-sustaining. The justification for this thesis is based predominantly in philosophy, although also in history. It is interesting to note that far longer is spent on justifying the long-term sus ...more
Frederik Vandelannoote
Excellent book that explains the American imperialist and capitalist mind. In general i don't agree with this hegelian type of progressive philosophy or do I sympatise with liberalism, but that being said, good insides.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Is liberal democracy the highest state of evolution of the state/government so far ?
The book argues that liberal democracy is indeed the best form so far and goes further to argue that it is the best form that can ever be achieved. In that sense, it is the "end of history" and the middle-class human being is the "last man".
3-4 years ago, I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand which makes a great case for uninhibited/unfettered individual (economic) liberty with a "laissez-faire" (minimum) government
Arun Divakar
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
When I was done with this book, all I had in my head was a faint buzzing. I took it initially to be a sign of incomprehension but later figured it out to be one of weariness. The weariness stemmed from the theories that the author postulates in the book. A quick look at the reviews tells me that I am not the only one with the same ideas. According to Fukuyama, we reach the end of history when we achieve the liberal-capitalist democratic form of government. He is quick to tell us that this does n ...more
Mohammad Aboomar
I am mesmerized by how clear and convincing this book was. Ideas like the directional interpretation of history, the master/slave relationship, the struggle for recognition and thymos were new to me. Now I have to read Hegel, Nietzsche and Koheve to get more into the author's frame of mind.

I agree with Fukuyama about many points, above all his portrayal of liberal democracy as the end of history according the Hegelian approach. My main disagreement with him is that he puts the US and Europe in t
Joseph Stieb
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
The question to ask with a controversial book like the end of history is not whether he's too Western-centric, whether he overlooks race and gender issues, or whether he is politically incorrect at times. The question we should ask is simple: Is he right? After reading this challenging and original work, I have to say that Fukuyama is basically right about the course of history. He is right not in a teleological sense, but in an empirically observable and philosophically supportable way.

This is
Steve Greenleaf
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
At the Jaipur Literature Festival, I looked forward to hearing a program on “History Strikes Back & the End of Globalism”. It was dialogue between John Ralston Saul & Hubert Vedrine (a former French foreign minister). I hadn’t read either author, although Saul’s Voltaire’s Bastards is packed with my other books back in Iowa City). I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Glamorous Nomad and C joined me. We were in for a surprise.

Saul opened the session by singling out “some guy called Francis
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is one of those books like The Bell Curve that's mostly maligned by people who've only seemed to read the introduction. As a whole, it's a fairly considered work, and most of it isn't exactly new or controversial (though Fukuyama overkills it on the Hegel commentary, which seems to go on and on and on). Take this, for example, which I think most people would underline and put little stars beside it if it appeared somewhere in Ernest Gellner:
The nationalist is primarily preoccupied not with
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: politiek
This book must be one of the books I referred to the most often. But until now, I have not spent any time to read it. Shame on me. And while I am aware of the main thesis, the book was in some way worth reading.

For one, the book is not all about politics, but it discusses philosophy too. Especially Hegel, Rousseau, Kant and Nietzsche (to name a few) are dealt with in detail.

Based on Hegel's historicism, Fukuyama builds a political theory that eventually liberal democracy will prevail. At the tim
Michael Gerald
Apr 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this book as part of my graduate class in Political Science.

This book started as an essay in the magazine The National Interest in 1989. The feedback it got led to it being expanded to a full book in 1992. Thus, the book was written in the euphoria over the collapse of communism in Europe.

In this book, Fukuyama (a former Assistant Secretary of State) suggests that there are two driving forces of history: the logic of modern science and the struggle for recognition. The combination of the
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fukuyama posits liberal democracy as a natural endpoint for human societies, because it satisfies the needs of "man as man," the desiring and reasoning parts, but also the desire for "recognition" as a being with dignity and self-esteem. The End of History was a term first coined by Hegel after the victory of the French in the Battle of Jena. It meant not that events would cease to occur, but that the final and most satisfying form of human society had been promulgated. According to the dialecti ...more
Navid Asmari Saadabad
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of strong premises and notable historical facts followed by inaccurate conclusions.
Starting with Alexander Kojéve’s interpretation of Hegel and the concept of human consciousness, Fukuyama, asserts that desire, reason, and thymos (desire for recognition) are the main ingredients that constitute a human, each of which must be satisfied in the society.
He claims that the rapid progress in modern science and technology has provided the means for satisfying desire, while leaving the man
Gary Inbinder
Second reading: Originally read in 1992

The title refers to an odd fusion of Hegelian/Marxian historicism by way of Alexander Kojeve and Nietzsche. Many readers will interpret this book as triumphalist flag-waving for Liberal Democracy's late 20th century triumph over Soviet Socialism. I don't think that's what Fukuyama intended. Wars of aggression, oppression, poverty, plague, famine, prejudice, intolerance, etc. are here and will be for the foreseeable future. We're very much "in history." If t
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, cold-war
Composition: 2/5
Evidence: 2/5
Writing Style: 3/5
Balance: 1/5

This is the book-length project from the author who received widespread attention for proclaiming the end of history with the fall of the Soviet Union. The original quotation made it sound like an exuberant shout, celebrating the victory of Western liberal democracy over Soviet-style communism. It sounded like a comparative politics project or perhaps a comparative ideologies analysis. The context of that quote, published in the 1989 sum
Jason Williams
Jun 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Is this guy friggin serious? Leave it to a neocon to write such an ahistorical history. I'm reminded of a Frederic Jameson line: "this whole global, yet American, postmodern culture is the internal and superstructural expression of a whole new wave of American military and economic domination throughout the world: in this sense, as throughout class history, the underside of culture is blood, torture, death, and terror."
Apr 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
The only interesting thing about this book is how it was so dominant when it came out, with everybody cheering for the conversion of the former "communist" nations to "democracy", and how irrelevant it is now.

This guy is kind of an asshole, and his sole accomplishment is that we can gauge which way the ideology of hegemony is pointing by the relative popularity of his cheerleading efforts.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
we are at the end of history, apparently, with so-called liberal capitalism. marx was right about method, apparently, but not about result. (cf. Spectres of Marx!)
Gregg Wingo
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fukuyama's seminal work is many things to many people. It is about government, oppression, laws, justice, warfare, economics, etc. But fundamentally it is about pride and vanity in the individual human. The work is focused most about the "desire for recognition" in all of us. Whether it be our simple primate social behavior or the lust of capital accumulation or intellectual acknowledgement or sexual prowess - every member of humankind desires recognition within their community and culture.

Carl Gladish
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I suppose if I had already read Plato's Republic I would be less impressed by this book, since what I found most enlightening was its interpretation of liberal democracy in terms of the concept of thymos (which, going back to Plato, is to be understood as one part of the tripartite human soul).

As Fukuyama understands it, thymos is the esteeming part of a person, the part that ranks and evaluates everything, including itself; reason articulate that things are, but remains neutral; desire seeks it
Thomas Casey
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Francis Fukuyama argues for an end of political history and the victory of liberal democracy following the break up of Russia's sphere of influence. After a century plagued by political experimentation there is one winner, that of a capitalist economy and democratic voting system. As a framework Fukuyama uses the thoughts of Hegel and promotes the opinion that human desire for recognition is the driving force behind human nature. This framework drives Fukuyama's narrative and is used to elucidat ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
one of my favorite books from high school and arguably requires deeper reflection and thinking as a super-macro topic (all of human history, progress, and sociopolitical organization) as opposed to most of the economics/business books that are popular today.

Reading more books on political philosophy like this--especially earlier in life if possible--will give a more balanced and grounded understanding of the micro topics we deal more frequently with in the day-to-day like business, economics, et
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Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (born 27 October 1952) is an American philosopher, political economist, and author.

Francis Fukuyama was born in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. His father, Yoshio Fukuyama, a second-generation Japanese-American, was trained as a minister in the Congregational Church and received a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago. His mother, Toshiko Kawata Fu
“It was the slave's continuing desire for recognition that was the motor which propelled history forward, not the idle complacency and unchanging self-identity of the master” 28 likes
“For Hegel, by contrast, liberal society is a reciprocal and equal agreement among citizens to mutually recognize each other” 8 likes
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