The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama

72%

16 Critic Reviews

That said, “The Origins of Political Order” is a rigorous attempt to create a synoptic view of human history by means of a synthesis of research in many disciplines.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title

Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today's developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.

Francis Fukuyama, author of the bestselling The End of History and the Last Man and one of our most important political thinkers, provides a sweeping account of how today's basic political institutions developed. The first of a major two-volume work, The Origins of Political Order begins with politics among our primate ancestors and follows the story through the emergence of tribal societies, the growth of the first modern state in China, the beginning of the rule of law in India and the Middle East, and the development of political accountability in Europe up until the eve of the French Revolution.

Drawing on a vast body of knowledge—history, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and economics—Fukuyama has produced a brilliant, provocative work that offers fresh insights on the origins of democratic societies and raises essential questions about the nature of politics and its discontents.

 

About Francis Fukuyama

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Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He has previously taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University and at the George Mason University School of Public Policy. He was a researcher at the RAND Corporation and served as the deputy director in the State Department’s policy planning staff. He is the author of The End of History and the Last Man, Trust, and America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. He lives with his wife in California.
 
Published April 12, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 620 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Critic reviews for The Origins of Political Order
All: 16 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 4

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by MICHAEL LIND on Apr 15 2011

...“The Origins of Political Order” is a rigorous attempt to create a synoptic view of human history by means of a synthesis of research in many disciplines. Even those who doubt that such an enterprise can succeed or who take issue with particular details or conclusions can be impressed by Fukuyama’s audacity and stimulated by his arguments.

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NY Times

Above average
on Apr 15 2011

That said, “The Origins of Political Order” is a rigorous attempt to create a synoptic view of human history by means of a synthesis of research in many disciplines.

Read Full Review of The Origins of Political Order | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Will Hutton on May 20 2011

This book is part of the intellectual fight-back, importantly written by a conservative, laying the foundations to hit neo-conservatism very hard indeed.

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Guardian

Below average
on May 12 2011

On its own, this book is Hamlet without the prince.

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WSJ online

Above average
on Apr 16 2011

...a sweeping survey that tries to explain why human beings act as they do in the political sphere.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Andrew Preston on May 06 2011

Fukuyama now places as much emphasis on order as he does liberty. The result is The Origins of Political Order, his fullest, richest work yet.

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Christian Science Monitor

Above average
on Apr 19 2011

Reading his tremendous new book The Origins of Political Order is a reminder of how poorly Fukuyama ever wore the neo-conservative label.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Above average

Fukuyama’s genuine accomplishment is to range broadly through history and intellectual disciplines...

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Excellent
on Apr 12 2011

...The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution is an extraordinary achievement and a work of considerable brilliance.

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Slate

Good
on May 02 2011

He tells a fascinating story—and a very different one from the older, more familiar tale...

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Macleans

Above average
Reviewed by Brian Bethune on Apr 18 2011

Fukuyama has come a long way in his political views since then, publicly repudiating neo-conservatism and even voting for Obama in 2008, but he’s lost none of his authorial ambition or penchant for simplifying big questions.

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The National

Above average
Reviewed by Richard Gowan on May 27 2011

This major essay is not only about the origins of political order, but the ideas that will shape international order in the decades ahead.

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The New Yorker

Above average
Reviewed by IAN CROUCH on May 30 2011

This ambitious and highly readable study draws on the disciplines of biology, anthropology, economics, and political philosophy to chart how various pre-eighteenth-century agrarian societies, beginning with China, India, and the Ottoman Empire, changed...

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Foreign Affairs

Excellent

Fukuyama is best known for his reflections on "the end of history," but with this landmark study, he turns to history's beginning, tracing the origins and trajectories of political order from prehistoric times to the French Revolution.

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Spectrum Culture

Above average
on Nov 29 2011

In a literary or ideological sense the outcome is sometimes milquetoast, but as an attempt to construct a grand schema it is modest and remarkable.

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Reviews in History

Good

The Origins of Political Order is a major achievement: it provides an overview of key strands of political evolution from prehistory onwards...

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Reader Rating for The Origins of Political Order
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