Better Angels of Our Nature
William Wohlforth, Daniel Webster Professor of Government

Let me start by adding my vote to Richard Wright’s recent suggestion of Stephen Pinker’s Better Angels of our Nature. This is a truly good read on one of the biggest unsung success stories of human history: the dramatic decline (that’s right, decline) in violence at all levels of society. Two of his chapters cover scholarship I know very well—on inter-state and civil wars—and I can report that he does a splendid job of assimilating and reporting on what we know on this subject. This gives me confidence that he is similarly accurate and responsible concerning the rest of the story, which covers the whole sweep of the human experience from pre-history to the digital age.