When American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man in 1992, Western liberal democracies seemed to have won the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Fukuyama believed liberal democracy had triumphed for a reason. Any political system containing "fundamental contradictions," he thought, would eventually be replaced by something else. For Fukuyama, communism was such a system.
Social capital - the relationships between people that allow communities to function well - has long been recognized as the grease that oils the wheels of society. It facilitates trust, creates bonds among neighbors, and even helps boost employment. In his 2000 book, Bowling Alone, American sociologist Robert Putnam argues that Americans have become disconnected from one another and from the institutions of their common life and investigates the consequences of this change.
"comprehensive and easy to follow"
Religion and the Decline of Magic examines popular belief in 16th and 17th century England, a key period during which leaders of the Protestant Reformation tried to disentangle magic from religion itself. Thomas argues that magic was popular because it offered practical solutions to everyday problems. Few social historians had examined the popular religious beliefs of the 1500s at the time Thomas wrote Religion.