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Pessimist's Reading List - Better AngelsThis is the second review in my series "The Pessimist's Reading List," which covers books that challenge the conventional wisdom of a world gone to hell, showing us how far we have come and how far we will go in the near future.
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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined
By Steven Pinker
Harvard cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker's hefty 832 page volume explores the realm of violence. Is the world more violent today than in days past? Are we less safe than ever before? The answer, he shows, is a resounding no. Beginning in human prehistory, and journeying through antiquity, the dark ages, and through the Renaissance, Enlightenment, the 20th century and right up to today, Pinker goes through the history of human violence. The world many of our ancestor's lived in, even fairly recent ancestors, is one that would shock us. The frequency of murder, wars, and feuds would shame any warlord of today. The cruelty and volume of