This acclaimed book by Steven Pinker, author of "The Language
Instinct" and "The Blank Slate", argues that, 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.