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Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth by [Peter Turchin]

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Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 72 ratings

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Length: 274 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"In Ultrasociety, we see a brilliantly original scientist at the top of his game. Turchin's delightfully readable book defends a bold thesis--that the institutions that have made today's extraordinary degree of human cooperation possible were forged by ten millennia of inter-societal military conflict. No future accounts of society's origins will dare to ignore his carefully crafted arguments in support of this claim."--Robert H. Frank, Cornell University, author of The Darwin Economy.
is a winner. It gives us an incisive look at Cultural Evolution and the implications for group selection. Turchin argues clearly and well for a deeper understanding of how culture trumps other social forces, and thus he can explain our era far better." --Gregory Benford, author of Timescape.

"Peter Turchin will go down in history as a great scientific historian. In Ultrasociety he makes the thesis of Edward O. Wilson's The Social Conquest of Earth come alive with empirical detail." --David Sloan Wilson, author of Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others.

"An exciting account of how the growing theory of cultural evolution can be applied to understanding patterns in the sweep of human history and prehistory" --Peter J. Richerson, coauthor of Culture and Coevolutionary Process.

"Peter Turchin's Ultrasociety delivers multi-level satisfaction, as deep-down enjoyable as seeing justice served on a bully. The book is a riveting safari through the origins of human social behavior and a revolutionary new way of reframing the study of culture as a scientific discipline. Turchin and his colleagues are on the cusp of changing the humanities forever, and none too soon. Ultrasociety is a must-read for any member of an intellectually curious species." --Baba Brinkman, author of The Rap Guide to Evolution.

"As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously observed 2,500years ago, 'war is the father of all and king of all,' but historians have beenslow to appreciate just how profoundly true this statement really is. In thissweeping and boldly argued survey of the rise of civilization, Peter Turchinrestores organized violence and conflict between groups to its rightful placeas the key driver of social development. A tour de force!" --Walter Scheidel, Stanford University, author of The Great Leveler: Violence and the Historyof Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century.

From the Back Cover

Cooperation is powerful.

There aren't many highly cooperative species--but they nearly coverthe planet. Ants alone account for a quarter of all animal matter. Yetthe human capacity to work together leaves every other species standing.

We organize ourselves into communities of hundreds of millions ofindividuals, inhabit every continent, and send people into space. Humanbeings are nature's greatest team players. And the truly astoundingthing is, we only started our steep climb to the top of therankings--overtaking wasps, bees, termites and ants--in the last 10,000years. Genetic evolution can't explain this anomaly. Something else isgoing on. How did we become the ultrasocial animal?

In his latest book, the evolutionary scientist Peter Turchin (Warand Peace and War) solves the puzzle using some astonishing results inthe new science of Cultural Evolution. The story of humanity, from thefirst scattered bands of Homo sapiens right through to the greatestempires in history, turns out to be driven by a remorseless logic. Ourapparently miraculous powers of cooperation were forged in the fires ofwar. Only conflict, escalating in scale and severity, can explain theextraordinary shifts in human society--and society is the greatestmilitary technology of all.

Seen through the eyes of Cultural Evolution, human history reveals a strange, paradoxical pattern. Early humans were much more egalitarianthan other primates, ruthlessly eliminating any upstart who wanted tobecome alpha male. But if human nature favors equality, how did theblood-soaked god kings of antiquity ever manage to claim their thrones?And how, over the course of thousands of years, did they vanish from the earth, swept away by a reborn spirit of human equality? Why is thestory of human justice a chronicle of millennia-long reversals? Onceagain, the science points to just one explanation: war created theterrible majesty of kingship, and war obliterated it.

Is endless war, then, our fate? Or might society one day evolvebeyond it? There's only one way to answer that question. Follow Turchinon an epic journey through time, and discover something that generations of historians thought impossible: the hidden laws of history itself.

Product details

  • File size : 1496 KB
  • Publication date : November 17, 2015
  • Print length : 274 pages
  • Publisher : Beresta Books (November 17, 2015)
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • ASIN : B0185P69LU
  • Language: : English
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 72 ratings

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
72 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on November 26, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2016
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Adam Carlton
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishingly insightful account of historical dynamics
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 1, 2015
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7 people found this helpful
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Science
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2015
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King Pendrawr
2.0 out of 5 stars An extended advert with no scientific content
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2016
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5 people found this helpful
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Arthur Doohan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 21, 2018
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Prof Colin Talbot
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 23, 2017
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