Book Review - The Return of History: Conflict, Migration, and Geopolitics by Jennifer Welsh

| 17 January, 2017

The underlying basis of the book is to provide a critique of Francis Fukuyama’s theory of an end point to history.


Fukuyama believed that the end of Cold War communism highlighted the continued linear growth of progress through time. Fukuyama’s stated that “history” had ended because there were no longer any threats to liberal democracy.

Welsh, as many others before her, seeks to outline how history has not ended and further, looks at the deterioration of liberal democracy in her book, The Return of History. The global refugee crisis, the rise of Russian aggression, and the continued inequalities of the capitalist economic system are some of the examples she raises. Being a small-l liberal herself, her solution unfortunately rests in the continued preservation and reformation of the liberal democratic system under capitalism.

The book is quick and easy to read. It is an accessible way to get a broader picture of our current historical context within the geopolitical landscape. In that regard, it is a good read for those looking to better understand the formation of ISIS, Russia under Putin, or the negative change in attitude towards refugees. What the book does not provide however, is a thought-out progressive analysis that is based in a systemic critique of liberal democracy and capitalism.

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