Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy[em] [/em]

Francis Fukuyama. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $35 (752p) ISBN 978-0-3742-2735-7
The distinction between strong and accountable government is seen as a driver of history in this second volume of the author’s magisterial study of politics and the state. Following up The Origins of Political Order, Stanford scholar Fukuyama surveys political developments of the past 250 years, from the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, focusing on the often clashing imperatives of democratic accountability, rule of law, and effective governmental administration. Organizing his commentary around these three themes, Fukuyama addresses an enormous range of moments in political history, paying close attention to Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as to the West. (The U.S. figures less as a paragon than as a governmental slacker whose current problems with legislative gridlock, corruption, and chaotic administration-by-lawsuit makes it an exemplar of political decay.) Fukuyama’s erudition is complemented by lucid, graceful prose and an inveterate even-handedness that fairly assesses liberal, conservative, and Marxist traditions; giving material influences their due without lapsing into economic reductionism and treating politics and governance as an autonomous realm with its own ideological and institutional dynamics. His superb synthesis of political science and history will be useful to experts as well as students and laypeople. Agent: Esther Newberg, International Creative Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/18/2014
Release date: 09/30/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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