Aaron Arnold's Reviews > The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
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's review
Mar 29, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: science, history, politics, war, favorites, read-in-2011
Read in November, 2011

The 20th century was famously soaked in blood, but it turns out that it may have been the most peaceful ten decades in human history. Pinker's basic thesis is that over any time span, at any level, human beings have gotten unprecedentedly less violent, to the point where even the worst pockets of violence on the planet today would barely qualify as average in past eras, to say nothing of the the expansion of tolerance and reciprocity to entirely new areas due to the many revolutions in racial/gender/sexual equality. It's a book that has to be read to be believed, both because of the depth of its argument and because of the horrifying details on just how awful to each other people used to be. Unlikely as it may seem, humanity might actually be progressing.
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