• The End of History and the Last Man

  • By: Francis Fukuyama
  • Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 15 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (265 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.

©1992, 2006 Francis Fukuyama (P)2018 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The End of History and the Last Man

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An important discussion expertly narrated

When the average American encounters discussion of democracy, it's usually in two broad categories:
A. The unquestioning loyalty to the ideal, in relation to the terrible historical alternatives, like absolute monarchy, fascism, and communism.
B. The attack on the goodness of democracy from people who are loyal to those terrible historical alternatives.

It's rare for a person to encounter not only something that says that liberal democracy is good, but to go in detail as to WHY specifically it is good on its own, not just as the best of a series of bad choices, as in the famous quote of "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others" which is commonly attributed to Winston Churchill but never directly attributed.

With a 15 hour audio book, the central tenet of Fukuyama's argument seems to be this: The human soul is made of three parts, reason, desire, and thymos, Greek for "spiritedness." Liberal democracy is the best way to satisfy all three parts of the soul, and resolves important contradictions that were part of all previous systems of government. Liberal democracy does itself have its own contradictions, but these are minor ones that are problematic in the manner of the degrees in which competing but opposing desires are dealt with, namely Megalothymia and Isothymia, as well as the related balance between liberty and equality, but these are less important than the fundamental contradictions in the relationship of lordship and bondage that characterized historical political systems.

To listen to this book, you don't need to agree with every sentence. In fact, Francis Fukuyama has this odd habit of going into such lengths of explaining contradicting points of view that it becomes very difficult in places to understand whether he's explaining someone else's point of view or explaining his own. But the underlying tenets of his arguments are solid, and his views are well-developed, clearly explained, and amply provided with real world evidence, such that this is not a book that can be ignored. Further, to my view, I do not believe that this is a book that has any logical bounds for a person to dismiss outright after reading in its entirety. Specific parts of the book can and have been criticized on many levels, but the central ideas are too well developed and too well furnished with real world evidence for anyone to have any grounds to disagree with them.

One last comment: L. J. Ganser's narration is great for this, and he deserves real recognition for his reading of the book. Audio quality was perfect, and the entire thing has the loud, clear volume of a professional sound studio. But what really sets it apart is L. J. Ganser's consistent emotional delivery of the entire story. This is, in many senses, a book of philosophy, which in many cases tend to be the most dense texts and most apt to ramble on and lose the reader. While Francis Fukuyama certainly deserves some of the credit for making a book that is both cerebral and accessible, L. J. Ganser needs credit for reading the book, not like a stuffy professor trying to teach a bored class important information, but like a storyteller at a campfire, speaking passionately about a subject that is both important to humanity, and a story that is fun to listen to. In a 15 hour story, never once in the entire thing did I feel like he was droning on, nor did I ever feel that L. J. Ganser was getting tired of reading the story out loud or that his passion and zeal were waning. It's one thing to read an adventure story with passion and interest. It's another feat entirely to read a book of philosophy such that the listeners of the book don't get bored. L. J. Ganser's reading was so passionate and exciting that there were times when I pulled my car into my driveway that I left the audio book running for a few minutes because I was enjoying listening to him so much. He truly deserves five stars for his performance of this book.

10 people found this helpful

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if you haven't read Fukuyama, you are missing out

It took me many years to actually read (listen to) this book, but it is (despite the fact that some of its arguments are aging and some are flawed) brilliant and profound. The End of History and the Last Man.

9 people found this helpful

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Only a RAND analyst could come up with this

One of the most ridiculous analyses I have ever read/Audibled. Why does it still have any traction?

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Highly recommend for all social change agents.

this awesome audiobook casts light on how Humanity has achieved its current position and how we might consider making a future that is life serving.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointing, yet thought-provoking

So this was not at all what I had expected. What I expected was an intellectual foundation for the post Cold War neoliberal world order, and while the book does attempt at that, the way Fukuyama goes about it is truly bizarre. Instead of tackling great political science thinkers of the 20th century or taking a bird's eye view of the 90s geopolitics Fukuyama goes the route of arguing for the hegelian master-slave dialectic peppered with Plato's definition of human spirit. Some of his takes seem like biased foregone conclusions, such as his critique of Marx's materialist variant of Hegel's dialectic, which Fukuyama dismisses seemingly arbitrarily, establishing a simplistic chicken-or-egg dichotomy and then simply asserting it is not economic conditions but the elites' will to power that drives history, as if these things could be neatly separated. This is just a microcosm of Fukuyama's style of argumentation, not my primary criticism of the book.

Fukuyama tries to address and downplay some apparent contradictions of liberal democracy such as income inequality, wealth of nations and American race relations for example, but his takes on those are embarrassingly superficial, even low-key racist at times - apparently generational wealth on both national and individual level is all about culture and lack of work ethic.

I honestly expected more from a book with as much name recognition as this one. Its saving grace is that at least the title is click-bait before click-bait - he does NOT, in fact, claim that human history in hegelian sense has reached its endpoint. I give the book two stars, because although I found the book pretty annoying and off-base, it did force me to actually think about why I felt that way. And that's what reading books is all about, isn't it?

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A good book

The narrator was 👍, the book treats the theory of democratic liberalism as the final ends of human development in politics, with which some people agree, some don't, but it's a well documented book, a audiobook worth 🎧.

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Performance over substance

This audio performer just GOES FOR IT. It’s political philosophy; I mean, it’s going to be bland. But the content he puts into certain words, the accents when he speaks foreign languages, the flourish to more salient points. Expert level.

Though I hope the author signed off on the final copy, since a performance that good can influence the meaning and intent behind the words.

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Still Provocative After Three Decades

Its not so much the thesis as the journey that Fukuyama takes to get there that makes this book still well worth the read

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fascinating perspective well explored

Great book; fascinating ideas and thought provoking perspective on the underlying psychological, sociological, and philosophical reasons history has played out as it has.

My only gripe is that the narrator's tone in several cases felt inappropriately sarcastic changing the meaning of some passages.

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still worth considering

while it is now dated, the principles still apply and the ideas are worth considering.

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  • Jonathan
  • 08-26-20

Silly boi doesn't know what he's talking about

very inaccurate boi. History doesn't just end because socialism ✌died✌. 2008 and Climate change proves that Capitalism is unstable!!!!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Phil Winston
  • 09-15-18

An amazing book

An detailed journey through the history of western philosophy and it's place in the evolution of society towards liberal democracy.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-29-21

Some valid points but...

Struggle to read Fukuyama to the end. Perhaps some of these views (especially towards non European cultures) were more socially acceptable in the 1990ies.

2 people found this helpful

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  • D
  • 12-26-21

Political History at its best

A timeless and erudite history of Liberal Democracy. Explains the key concepts of liberalism, the idea of political history as posited by Hegel and attempts to explain the confluence of liberalism, democracy and capitalism at the culmination of the industrial revolution. Still relevant decades after its first issue and with excellent narration; a highly recommended read for anyone interested in political history and its possible futures.

1 person found this helpful

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