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Showing posts from August, 2016

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi

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I decided to read Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi for three reasons. One, I'm always looking to better understand cultures from around the world. Two, I think human rights are worth fighting for. Three, I admire people who are willing to put their whole lives on the line to fight for the rights of not only themselves but others. I started to read Ebadi's story unsure what to expect. The story was filled with moments of hope and moments of utter despair that took me on an emotional roller coaster. I laughed at times and fought back tears at others. I felt outrage and fear and joy. Ebadi tells her life story through the lens of her fight for human rights without denying what her fight for the rights of not only herself but others cost her, personally and professionally. At times, she downplayed her losses in comparison to other people's, but even then her story made me think. Sometimes, we use words so carelessly, but for people living u…

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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I've struggled a bit to write this review because I have mixed feelings about The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker.

I started reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined with the attitude that Pinker needed to first convince me violence had declined before getting into explaining why. To be perfectly honest, given the world we currently live in, it's hard to imagine that violence has declined.

While I finished the book convinced that violence has declined, I felt like the explanations for why seemed more hypothetical than proven. Pinker explored violence quite thoroughly beginning his book at the beginning of human existence and moving to modern times in the almost 700 pages of The Better Angels of Our Nature. He explored historical myths as well as historical documents to arrive at his conclusions. He used archaeological finds to disprove mythical battles. He described how the development of etiquette and the creation of government helped quel…