The Goodness Paradox: How Evolution Made Us Both More and Less Violent (Hardback)
  • The Goodness Paradox: How Evolution Made Us Both More and Less Violent (Hardback)
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The Goodness Paradox: How Evolution Made Us Both More and Less Violent (Hardback)

(author)
£25.00
Hardback 352 Pages / Published: 17/01/2019
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It may not always seem so, but day-to-day interactions between individual humans are extraordinarily peaceful. That is not to say that we are perfect, just far less violent than most animals, especially our closest relatives, the chimpanzee and their legendarily docile cousins, the Bonobo. Perhaps surprisingly, we rape, maim, and kill many fewer of our neighbours than all other primates and almost all undomesticated animals. But there is one form of violence that humans exceed all other animals in by several degrees: organized proactive violence against other groups of humans. It seems, we are the only animal that goes to war. In the Goodness Paradox, Richard Wrangham wrestles with this paradox at the heart of human behaviour. Drawing on new research by geneticists, neuroscientists, primatologists, and archaeologists, he shows that what domesticated our species was nothing less than the invention of capital punishment which eliminated the least cooperative and most aggressive among us. But that development is exactly what laid the groundwork for the worst of our atrocities.

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781781255834
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Praise for Catching Fire: Startling and persuasive * Economist *
Richard Wrangham presents a powerful thesis - and the more you think about it, the more it seems to be true. As a very considerable bonus, his book is an excellent read -- Colin Tudge * Literary Review *
An intriguing thesis... Wrangham's basic thesis, that cooking is the key to the human condition, is convincing and is presented in a lively and readable manner -- Robin McKie * Observer *
Lucidly written and accessible... What makes his thesis so gripping to read is that it is elegantly argued, step by step -- Harry Eyres * Financial Times *
Compelling [and] brilliant -- William Leith * Daily Mail *
A daringly unorthodox book, and one that might just transform the way we understand ourselves. -- James McConnachie * The Sunday Times *
This superbly lucid and comprehensive book shows how important cooking was to making us human. Food, its composition, and how it's harvested and processed are critical in the evolution of every animal species. This masterful work shows how cooking was-and continues to be-an essential part of humanity -- David Pilbeam, Henry Ford II Professor of Human Evolution, Harvard University
[Wrangham] has delivered a rare thing: a slim book ... that contains serious science yet is related in direct, no-nonsense prose. It is toothsome, skillfully prepared brain food. -- Dwight Garner * New York Times *
Absolutely fascinating -- Nigella Lawson
Richard Wrangham's book is a tour de force on how to study human evolution, combining original ideas with an extraordinary range of science. With elegance and clarity, he has shown how cooking permeates all human life, and must have played a major part in making us what we are as a species -- Robert Foley, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge
Catching Fire is an extraordinary book-a truly important insight into our human past, and as always with Wrangham's work, a real page turner. He has the great gift of making hard and accurate science seem like an adventure story, as indeed it is. Like Demonic Males, Catching Fire will be read in many circles, from classrooms to general readers, to the enlightenment of us all. -- Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
It's nice to have it confirmed that the raw foodists are not just annoying but also wrong... [Richard Wrangham] writes in this brilliant and original piece of science writing, which explains nothing less than who we are and how we got here... With devastating clarity he shows that the "Man the Hunter" thesis simply does not add up... Wrangham convincingly argues that unlike animals, human beings could not flourish on a raw diet (so yah-boo to the wheatgrass evangelists!)... you have to pinch yourself from time to time to remember just how new Wrangham's argument is. Something this big and original in evolutionary studies doesn't come along very often... In many ways, this is an exhilarating book... It is, too, a good book for vegetarians, who for too long have endured the Neanderthal taunts of carnivorous chefs -- Bee Wilson * the Times *
Brilliantly Original and illuminating -- Michael Kerrigan * Scotsman *
Able to see my preparations for Sunday lunch in a dizzying new perspective... Catching Fire is very readable and not in the least technical. Wrangham makes a compelling case... Wrangham's placing of cooking at the centre of what it is to be human carries a great deal of emotional conviction too. The ritual of the family Sunday lunch now also celebrates the birth of our species -- Ian Irvine * Evening Standard *
Good, big ideas about evolution are rare... Catching Fire is that rare thing, an exhilarating science book. And one that, for all its foodie topicality, means to stand the test of time -- Simon Ings * Sunday Telegraph *
Transforms a daily chore into a pivotal existential act stretching back millennia... a hugely readable history of our culinary pedigree... an energetic and enjoyable book... In this vivid account of human evolution, there's no need to cook the books * Sunday Business Post *
Richard Wrangham's ingredients are freshly gathered from an impressive variety of fields -- Steve Jones * Guardian *
This is the best kind of scientific writing: clear, strongly argued and provocative. That it's still contentious makes it all the more exciting. * The Weekend Australian *

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