The Return of History

The Return of History

Conflict, Migration, and Geopolitics in the Twenty-first Century

Book - 2016
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#1 National Bestseller

Part of the CBC Massey Lectures series

In 1989, as the Berlin Wall crumbled and the Cold War dissipated, the American political commentator Francis Fukuyama wrote a famous essay, entitled "The End of History." Fukuyama argued that the demise of confrontation between Communism and capitalism, and the expansion of Western liberal democracy, signalled the endpoint of humanity's sociocultural and political evolution, the waning of traditional power politics, and the path toward a more peaceful world. At the heart of his thesis was the audaciously optimistic idea of "progress" in history.

But a quarter of a century after Fukuyama's bold prediction about transcending the struggles of the past, history has returned. The twenty-first century has not seen unfettered progress toward peace and a single form of government, but the reappearance of trends and practices many believed had been erased: arbitrary executions, attempts to annihilate ethnic and religious minorities, the starvation of besieged populations, invasion and annexation of territory, and the mass movement of refugees and displaced persons. It has also witnessed cracks and cleavages within Western liberal democracies, particularly as a result of deepening economic inequality -- at levels not seen since the end of the nineteenth century.

The Return of History both illustrates and explains this return of history. But it also demonstrates how the reappearance of acts deemed "barbaric" or "medieval" has a modern twist. Above all, it argues that the return of history should encourage us all to remember that our own liberal democratic society was not inevitable and that we must all, as individual citizens, take a more active role in its preservation and growth.

Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2016.
ISBN: 9781487001308
Branch Call Number: 901 Wel
Characteristics: 347 pages ; 21 cm.

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mclarjh
Aug 15, 2017

Decent writing, but not an objective scholarly analysis, rather a subjective opinion editorial.

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1aa
Feb 22, 2017

Very disappointed. Exemplifies all of the worst qualities outlined in Minogue's _The Liberal Mind_ (available at the Liberty Fund website). She fails to distinguish between fences that keep people in oppressive regimes, and those that maintain border security and therefore territorial integrity. She gets swept up in sentiment and tries to pass it of with the use of academic phraseology and cheap rhetorical ploys, especially in the topic of refugees; she completely overlooks the fact that not one Syrian refugee in Turkey was persecuted by Turkey (indeed, they were given food, clothing, shelter, optical care, and dental care - life is better there than on the Rez.), although the state didn't stop them from numerous dangerous legal violations, nor did it prosecute such violations. I found most objectionable her sexist bigotry on pg. 93, where when quoting fatalities, she makes explicit mention of women and children's deaths - it seems people who just happen to be born with penises don't have a right to life or security of the person, or if they do, they count for less, inherently less valuable. Disgrace!

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