The Social Animal
What kind of social animal are we? A provocative and stimulating answer
W. G. Runciman's masterly book sets out the present extent of our knowledge about how human groups, communities, institutions, and societies work and the social forces that act upon people who live within them. In a brief span, Runciman conveys both how fascinating the study of society is and what a particularly exciting time this is for that study, with all the developments being made in the behavioral sciences, whether in demography, linguistics, or economics, or in genetics, biological anthropology, and developmental and cognitive psychology. The linking theme of the book is an approach to sociology based not on the outdated dogmas of Marxism or Social Darwinism but on current neo-evolutionary theory.
Praise / Awards
"For clarity, economy and wit, The Social Animal could hardly be bettered as a civilized introduction to its subject. . . . A polished, provocative manifesto."
"Concise and well-written: one reaches the end wanting more."
—Samuel Brittan, Financial Times
"[Runciman] writes with energy, elegance and lucidity. . . . [His] book is always good and at times brilliant. On every page there is something to stimulate, engross or madden the reader, and for once the reviewer's cliché, 'continuously absorbing' expresses the truth."
—Frank McLynn, Literary Review
"Erudite and entertaining; the author has lost none of his ability to provoke and stimulate."
—Julian LeGrand, New Statesman
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