Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman – Our Review
This book is the book you need if you want to find a path of clarity through what feels like a maze of history being currently created all around us. This is especially so given that we are at the mercy of a 24 hour news cycle that is determined to keep our attention at any cost and at the detriment of our wellbeing.
Young historian Rutger Bregman is one of Europe’s prominent thinkers and is prepared to take on established thought at any opportunity and you find yourself cheering along as he does so. He proposes a very radical idea and that is, despite what we are fed by the news everyday, most people deep down are pretty decent. This is instead of the “veneer theory” of the noble savage that suggests that civilised life is just a veneer that is easily worn away to reveal the savage below.
He sets out to debunk theories and explain events that have been used to support this veneer theory. This ranges from explaining why William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (that we all had to suffer through in school) is wrong, right through to helping us understand why the Holocaust could occur when we are supposed to be as human beings “pretty decent.
A positive and enlightening read that saw me wear out a highlighter in the first three chapters and perfect for those who have a fascination with why humans act the way they do. I personally bought 5 copies to give to friends as a must read.
Review by Marty Maher (Nic’s partner)