The End Of History And The Last Man

Hugh Brogan reviews

Hugh Brogan | Published in
  • The End Of History And The Last Man
    Francis Fukuyama - Hamish Hamilton, 1992 - xiii+418 pp - £20

A Russian proverb dear to Lenin tells us that 'one fool can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer'. I found this saying ever present to my mind as I worked through Mr Fukuyama's extraordinary book.

Not that the author is a fool. On the contrary, he is intelligent and assiduous. He writes clearly if repetitiously (l suspect the foul influence of a word-processor). But his undertaking is fundamentally dotty, perpetually misleading him into untenable positions. Add a substantial sprinkling of factual errors (he even manages to misdate the 1832 Reform Act) and you have a book to distress any historian – a historian who is a school-teacher perhaps most of all. I hate to think what might happen if this work fell into the hands of argumentative sixth-formers. If it were not so tediously long it would be just the thing with which to tease their masters.

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