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The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its Causes

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9781846140938: The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its Causes
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This riveting, myth-destroying book reveals how, contrary to popular belief, humankind has become progressively less violent, over millenia and decades. Can violence really have declined? The images of conflict we see daily on our screens from around the world suggest this is an almost obscene claim to be making. Extraordinarily, however, 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. Even the horrific carnage of the last century, when compared to the dangers of pre-state societies, is part of this trend.

Debunking both the idea of the 'noble savage' and an over-simplistic Hobbesian notion of a 'nasty, brutish and short' life, Steven Pinker argues that modernity and its cultural institutions are actually 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 have the ambition and the breadth of understanding to appreciate and explain this story, to show us our very natures.

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Review:

Brilliant, mind-altering...Everyone should read this astonishing book (David Runciman Guardian)

A supremely important book. To have command of so much research, spread across so many different fields, is a masterly achievement. Pinker convincingly demonstrates that there has been a dramatic decline in violence, and he is persuasive about the causes of that decline (Peter Singer New York Times)

[A] sweeping new review of the history of human violence...[Pinker has] the kind of academic superbrain that can translate otherwise impenetrable statistics into a meaningful narrative of human behaviour...impeccable scholarship (Tony Allen-Mills Sunday Times)

Written in Pinker's distinctively entertaining and clear personal style...a marvellous synthesis of science, history and storytelling (Clive Cookson Financial Times)

A salutary reality-check...Better Angels is itself a great liberal landmark (Marek Kohn Independent)

Pinker's scholarhsip is astounding...flawless...masterful (Joanna Bourke The Times)

Selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 (New York Times)

From the Back Cover:

'His book will change the way you see the world ... Pinker's powerful ideas, vivid stories and sparkling prose make this hard to put down' Daily Mail

'May prove to be one of the great books of our time ... he writes like an angel' Economist

Wasn't the twentieth century the most violent in history? In his extraordinary, epic book Steven Pinker shows us that this is wrong, telling the story of humanity in a completely new and unfamiliar way. From why cities make us safer to how books bring about peace, Pinker weaves together history, philosophy and science to examine why we are less likely to die at another's hand than ever before, how it happened and what it tells us about our very natures.

'Masterly, a supremely important book ... For anyone interested in human nature, it is engrossing' The New York Times

'Marvellous ... riveting and myth-destroying' New Statesman

'A marvellous synthesis of science, history and storytelling, written in Pinker's distinctively entertaining and clear personal style ... I was astonished by the extent to which violence has declined in every shape, form and scale' Financial Times

'An outstandingly fruitful read, with fascinating nuggets on almost every page' Sunday Times, Books of the Year

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780143122012: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0143122010 ISBN 13: 9780143122012
Publisher: Penguin Books, 1900
Softcover

9780141034645: The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity

Penguin, 2012
Softcover

9780670022953: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

Viking Pr, 2011
Hardcover

9781846140945: The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its Causes

Allen ..., 2011
Softcover

9780670023158: The Better Angels of Our Nature

Riverh..., 2011
Softcover

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