This is Francis Fukuyama's most important book since the pathbreaking End of History. Nations are not trapped by their pasts, but events that happened hundreds or even thousands of years ago continue to exert huge influence on present-day politics. If we are to understand the politics that we now take for granted, we need to understand its origins. Francis Fukuyama examines the paths that different societies have taken to reach their current forms of political order. This book starts with the very beginning of mankind and comes right up to the eve of the French and American revolutions, spanning such diverse disciplines as economics, anthropology and geography. The Origins of Political Order is a magisterial study on the emergence of mankind as a political animal, by one of the most eminent political thinkers writing today.
“The history profession is today dominated by small minds studying small topics. Specialists trade in abstractions, taking refuge in tiny foxholes of arcane knowledge. It was not always this way. In the 19th century, men like Leopold von Ranke, George Macaulay Trevelyan and Frederick Jackson Turner used the past to try to understand the present. Their ideas were big, and sometimes too were their mistakes. Francis Fukuyama is at heart a Victorian. As he admits, he wants to revive a ‘lost tradition’ when historians were big thinkers. In The Origins of Political Order, his topic is the world, his starting point the chimpanzee. He charts how states evolved, in the process explaining why, despite humans’ common origin in Africa perhaps 50,000 years ago, great political diversity exists today...[It is] impressive to see such a huge and complicated topic covered in such an accessible and engaging fashion....The Origins of Political Order tries to make sense of the complexity that has cluttered the last two decades. It is a bold book, probably too bold for the specialists who take refuge in tiny topics and fear big ideas. But Fukuyama deserves congratulation for thinking big and not worrying about making mistakes. This is a book that will be remembered, like those of Ranke, Trevelyan and Turner. Bring on volume II.” —Gerard DeGrott, The Washington Post
Francis Fukuyama is Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), resident in FSI's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, effective July 2010. He comes to Stanford from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University, where he was the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and director of SAIS' International Development program.
Dr. Fukuyama has written widely on issues relating to democratization and international political economy. His book, The End of History and the Last Man, was published by Free Press in 1992 and has appeared in over twenty foreign editions. His most recent book, The Origins of Political Order, was published in April 2011. Other books include America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy, and Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap between Latin America and the United States.
Francis Fukuyama received his B.A. from Cornell University in classics, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in Political Science. He was a member of the Political Science Department of the RAND Corporation from 1979-1980, then again from 1983-89, and from 1995-96. In 1981-82 and in 1989 he was a member of the Policy Planning Staff of the US Department of State, the first time as a regular member specializing in Middle East affairs, and then as Deputy Director for European political-military affairs. In 1981-82 he was also a member of the US delegation to the Egyptian-Israeli talks on Palestinian autonomy. From 1996-2000 he was Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Professor of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. He served as a member of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001-2004.
Dr. Fukuyama is chairman of the editorial board of The American Interest, which he helped to found in 2005. He is a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute, and a non-resident fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He holds honorary doctorates from Connecticut College, Doane College, Doshisha University (Japan), and Kansai University (Japan). He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rand Corporation, the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy, and member of the advisory boards for the Journal of Democracy, the Inter-American Dialogue, and The New America Foundation. He is a member of the American Political Science Association and the Council on Foreign Relations.