The Times (UK) Best Books of 2018, Politics - Financial Times Best Books of 2018
"Smart, crisp . . . We need more thinkers as wise as [Fukuyama]." --Anand Giridharadas, The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
"Intelligent and provocative." --SF Chronicle
"[Identity] is in itself an indictment of the perilous times we live in today." --Arjun Neil Alim, The Standard (London)
"[Identity] is as wise as it is compact, traveling at great speed through difficult terrain to a sensible conclusion." --Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (London)
"The renowned political scientist argues persuasively, and urgently, that a desire for recognition of one's dignity is inherent in every human being--and is necessary for a thriving democracy . . . A cogent analysis of dire threats to democracy." --Kirkus
"Ambitious and provocative . . . This erudite work is likely to spark debate." --Publishers Weekly
"Keenly thought-provoking and timely." --Brendan Driscoll, Booklist
Currently in Bill Gates's bookbag and FT Books of 2018
Increasingly, the demands of identity direct the world's politics. Nation, religion, sect, race, ethnicity, gender: these categories have overtaken broader, inclusive ideas of who we are. We have built walls rather than bridges. The result: increasing in anti-immigrant sentiment, rioting on college campuses, and the return of open white supremacy to our politics.
In 2014, Francis Fukuyama wrote that American and global institutions were in a state of decay, as the state was captured by powerful interest groups. Two years later, his predictions were borne out by the rise to power of a series of political outsiders whose economic nationalism and authoritarian tendencies threatens to destabilise the entire international order. These populist nationalists seek direct charismatic connection to 'the people', who are usually defined in narrow identity terms that offer an irresistible call to an in-group and exclude large parts of the population as a whole.
Identity is an urgent and necessary book: a sharp warning that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we will doom ourselves to continual conflict.