The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes
Steven Pinker's riveting, myth-destroying new book reveals how, contrary to popular belief, humankind has become progressively less violent, over millenia and decades.
Given the images of conflict we see daily on our screens, can violence really have declined? And wasn't the twentieth century the most devastatingly brutal in history? Extraordinarily, however, as Steven Pinker shows, violence within and between societies - both murder and warfare - really has declined from prehistory to today. We are much less likely to die at someone else's hands than ever before.
Debunking both the idea of the 'noble savage' and a Hobbesian notion of a 'nasty, brutish and short' life, Steven Pinker argues that modernity and its cultural institutions are making us better people. He ranges over everything from art to religion, international trade to individual table manners, and shows how life has changed across the centuries and around the world - not simply through the huge benefits of organized government, but also because of the extraordinary power of progressive ideas. Why has this come about? And what does it tell us about ourselves? It takes one of the world's greatest psychologists to appreciate and explain this story, and to show us our very natures.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Phil-James - LibraryThing
Although it took me a long time to read, (this is a very dense book, well written but full of examples of statistics) I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Steven Pinker proves that our world ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - booktsunami - LibraryThing
This is a very big book packed with information so pretty hard to summarise. But I'll try (for my own benefit rather than for any readers). Pinker's basic thesis is that violence of various sorts has ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its ...
No preview available - 2011
The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity
No preview available - 2012