Review Excerpts for The Better Angels of Our Nature

"A subtle piece of natural philosophy to rival that of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment...He writes like an angel too."

—The Economist, Dec. 10, 2011

"The Better Angels of Our Nature is a supremely important book. To have command of so much research, spread across so many different fields, is a masterly achievement." 

—Peter Singer, New York Times Book Review, Oct. 6, 2011

"A brilliant, mind-altering book....Everyone should read this astonishing book."

—David Runciman, The Guardian, Sept. 22, 2011

“He has pulled together an extraordinary range of research...A masterly effort to explain what Mr.Pinker regards as one of the biggest changes in human history.”

—James Q. Wilson, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 1, 2011

"One of the most important books I’ve read – not just this year, but ever....A contribution, not just to historical scholarship, but to the world."

—Bill Gates, The Gates Notes, June 18, 2012

“The Better Angels of Our Nature is written in Pinker’s distinctively entertaining and clear personal style, which will be recognised and welcomed by many who enjoyed previous books such as The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works….A marvelous synthesis of science, history and storytelling.”

—Clive Cookson, Financial Times, Oct. 7, 2011

“Hugely ambitious, densely argued and copiously referenced work… an outstandingly fruitful read, with fascinating nuggets on almost every page”

—Dom Sandbrook, The Sunday Times, Nov. 27, 2011

“A hugely impressive effort to document and explain the increasingly peaceful nature of human civilisation. Pinker, a celebrated Harvard psychologist…argues convincingly that the 20th century does not deserve its terrible reputation.”

—Clive Cookson, Financial Times, Nov. 26, 2011

"An astonishingly good book. ... Pinker's book resonated with me because I often report on genocide and human rights abuses, and his point rings true."

—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, Nov. 22, 2011

"Steven Pinker writes brilliantly about the problem of violence."

—Michael Gazzaniga, The Wall Street Journal, Dec., 2011

"The Better Angels of our Nature may prove to be one of the great books of our time. Not only is his surprising main theme — that all forms of violence have seen huge long-term declines — powerfully proven by his relentless and detailed analysis, but his exploration of the reasons for this, within psychology, neuroscience, politics and economics, is a subtle piece of natural philosophy to rival that of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment. He writes like an angel, too."
—Matt Ridley, The Economist

“[Pinker] has succeeded in documenting the enormous decline in all sorts of violence and cruelty. This achievement of humankind deserves to be better known, and readers of this important book will remember it and ponder its causes. It is a story worthy of seven hundred pages.”

—Robert Jervis, The National Interest, Oct. 25, 2011

“The big, smart nonfiction book of the year.”

—Tyler Cowan, The New York Times Magazine

“Remarkable… Exquisitely readable…Pinker’s well-founded statistics…are used with methodological sophistication.. The historical  side is merged adroitly with the scientific. … An excellent and important book.”

—Chrisopher Boehm, The American Scientist

"Utterly convincing"

—Brenda Maddox, The Telegraph, Oct. 28th 2011

“Pinker’s range is extraordinary….The Better Angels of Our Nature is a major accomplishment.”

—Steve Sailer, The American Conservative, Nov. 11, 2011.

“[An] extraordinary and ambitious history of violence….Pinker’s book is hugely provocative, and he is certainly no glib Pangloss.”

—Christopher Hart, The Sunday Times, Oct. 16, 2011

"Pinker is the ideal scholar to deliver glad tidings. He is an exceptionally lucid, entertaining writer,  and no one can accuse him of being a Pollyanna. … Better Angels is a monumental achievement, which should make it much harder for pessimists to cling to their gloomy vision of the future."

—John Horgan, Slate, Oct. 3, 2011

"A remarkable scholarly achievement that deserves to be studied and debated by many social scientists, concerned citizens and policy makers — and a lively, fascinating read."

—Martin Daly, Nature, Oct. 20, 201

"A page-turner from the start."

—Michael Shermer, The American Scholar, Autum 2011

"A bold, thought-provoking and notably optimistic work, worth arguing with."

—Stephen Howe, The Independent, Nov. 25, 2011

"The book that will generate most discussion this year... entirely convincing”

—Peter Forbes, The Independent, Nov. 25, 2011


—Karen Cunningham, The Herald, Nov. 26, 2011

“A monumental book on a massive topic, rich in detail and theory, the product of a most remarkable mind, a book guaranteed overall not to disappoint, and which is sure to be the focal point of future discussions and debates on human violence for generations to come.”

—David Stamos, The Evolutionary Review, Spring 2012

"This book may be one of the most important books of the 21st century."

—James Apple, International Judicial Monitor

"Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of our Nature is a remarkable book, extolling science as a mechanism for understanding issues that are all too often shrouded in unstated moralities, and highly questionable empirical assumptions. Whatever agreements or disagreements may spring from his specifics, the author deserves our respect, gratitude and applause."
—Neil Boyd, Huffington Post Canada

"A rich and argumentative book containing a wealth of empirical analysis seasoned with Pinker's usual complement of anecdotes, wit, and felicitous turns of phrase."

—National Review, Dec. 19, 2011

"Of the thousands of books published every year, very few are ‘must-reads’, and fewer still are genuinely important. The Better Angels of Our Nature, however, is such a book. It will change the way you see the world...Everyone interested in the state of the world should read this fascinating, humane and important book."

—Ian Morris, The Mail on Sunday