The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

by Steven Pinker

Appearances often deceive. Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature” landed on my desk in the immediate aftermath of that terrible massacre in Norway. As I read the book, Syrian forces slaughtered pro-democracy protesters, riots engulfed English cities, and murders punctuated the news. But, if we believe Pinker, all this violence is just the background noise behind a relentless paean of peace.