David S. Wellhauser edited the summary of The Better Angels of Our Nature Wednesday, December 7, 2011.
This book runs the numbers, statistics, to demonstrate how, since the inception of the Leviathan (civilization), violence has been decreasing in the world: most especially the developed world. The author does not simply offer the numbers and stop. Steven Pinker also exams the statistics and explains them. Sometimes he even cross-references these.
However, the books does not stop there. Along with the statistics he offers an analytical history of where we've come from and some cautious suggestions about where we may be going.
Ideologically it is safe to place Dr. Pinker (originally from Montreal) in the American Progressivist end of the ideological spectrum. This, occasionally, becomes a little difficult to take but if you can read through this the book is well worth the effort.
Note on the Kindle edition:
End-notes and the index are not activated so it is very difficult to engage fully with the text. The author and publisher should fix this problem.