I think it is not as remarkable or counter-intuitive as previous Pinker books such as "how the mind works" or "the blank slate". It is rather an exhaustive survey of research done on violence by humans through out the ages.
Pinker's writing is elegant and persuasive as usual. But the book can get tedious. No stone is left unturned - all types of human violence or covered such as witchburning and school bullying.
It is interesting that Pinker, after making his intellectual reputation by researching phenomena such as language and higher brainfunctions of humans that are mostly a product of nature (i.e. genes) that he has chosen to tackle of phenomenom that is a product a culture - although he does not rule out that our environment of the last 7000 years has not selected for individuals that are less belligerent.
Tackling an issue, such as violence, that is explained by culture as opposed to genes will certainly place Pinker in better standing with the academic world - and possibly get him a life time achievement award from some left wing organization.
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