The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution : Political Order

  • by Francis Fukuyama
  • Narrated by Jonathan Davis
  • Series: Political Order
  • 22 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions that 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 unable to function in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.
Francis Fukuyama, author of the best-selling 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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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What the Critics Say

"Fukuyama writes a crystalline prose that balances engaging erudition with incisive analysis. As germane to the turmoil in Afghanistan as it is to today's congressional battles, this is that rare work of history with up-to-the-minute relevance." (Publishers Weekly)
“Political theorist Francis Fukuyama’s new book is a major accomplishment, likely to find its place among the works of seminal thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke, and modern moral philosophers and economists such as John Rawls and Amartya Sen . . .It is a perspective and a voice that can supply a thinker’s tonic for our current political maladies.” (Earl Pike, The Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“Ambitious and highly readable.” (The New Yorker)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting political narative

What did you like most about The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution?

The progression of the story from early political history to the french revolution was captivating, Fukuyama explains the development of nations and their political structures incredibly well.


What other book might you compare The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution to, and why?

For me this book shines a light on political systems that I had previously not given much thought. I would struggle to compare to anything else I have read/listened to.


Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances? How does this one compare?

It was well spoken and engaging in its performance. I listened to it on my commute into work and it kept me captivated throughout.


If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

An insight into political systems that you may not have previously considered.


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- Sam Lipscombe

Weighty, serious but at times tedious

Valuable wide-ranging and erudite introduction to the origins of political organisation and the emergence of the state, the rule of law and formally established governance systems. Well researched and referenced with examples and insights from China and India, the Arab world and Ottoman Empire, and Europe. This is at times contrasted with other societies such as in the Pacific which have not developed the same systems of governance and are still very reliant on "wantok" (one-talk - clan connections and patronage). Insightful and interesting with some reference to current issues and debates - but at times long-winded and tedious. One advantage of hard copy is the ability to skip over a chapter in which one has become less engaged - but still to flick through and scan what it covers, read some of the sections but not all, and then perhaps come back when one has fewer distractions or feels the need to go back and appreciate the detail. Of course one can do something like that that with the audiobook - but having a clearer map and outline of the book and the focus and outline of each chapter, plus main headings and sub-headings, would help with navigating a carefully researched and rich book. Perhaps something that Audible and its partner organisations can work on (you can have that advice for free ...). That said I listened for all 23 or so hours and enjoyed much of it including the references to theory, but there were times when I really wanted to get through it and move on... I will, however, look out for Volume 2 which has not yet been published...
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- Anthony

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-12-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios