The better angels of our nature: why violence has declined

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Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year

The author of The New York Times bestseller The Stuff of Thought offers a controversial history of violence.

Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species's existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, pogroms, gruesome punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?

This groundbreaking book continues Pinker's exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives- the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away-and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.

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ISBN:
9780670022953
9781455839568
9781101544648
9781531823962
9780143122012
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Grouped Work ID 82424fc9-8a57-1836-4ac3-1b146df36636
Grouping Title better angels of our nature why violence has declined
Grouping Author pinker steven
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-08-14 23:22:34PM
Last Indexed 2018-08-15 00:16:57AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Morey, Arthur,, Morey, Arthur.
author Steven Pinker
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display_description We've all asked, "What is the world coming to?" But we seldom ask, "How bad was the world in the past?" In this startling new book, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the past was much worse. Evidence of a bloody history has always been around us: genocides in the Old Testament, gory mutilations in Shakespeare and Grimm, monarchs who beheaded their relatives, and American founders who dueled with their rivals. The murder rate in medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were common features of life for millennia, then were suddenly abolished. How could this have happened, if human nature has not changed? Pinker argues that thanks to the spread of government, literacy, trade, and cosmopolitanism, we increasingly control our impulses, empathize with others, debunk toxic ideologies, and deploy our powers of reason to reduce the temptations of violence.--From publisher description.
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primary_isbn 9780670022953
publishDate 2011, 2016
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series Brilliance Audio on compact disc
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subject_facet Audiobooks, Nonviolence -- Psychological aspects, Violence -- Psychological aspects, Violence -- Social aspects
title_display The better angels of our nature : why violence has declined
title_full The Better Angels of Our Nature Why Violence Has Declined, The better angels of our nature : why violence has declined / Steven Pinker, The better angels of our nature [sound recording] : why violence has declined / Steven Pinker
title_short The better angels of our nature :
title_sub why violence has declined
topic_facet Audiobooks, Nonfiction, Nonviolence, Psychological aspects, Psychology, Social aspects, Violence