(note: this review kinda sorta assumes you’re familiar with Steven Pinker’s theories on the decline of violence. If you need a brief synopsis, watch this.)
Bear F. Braumoeller’s Only the Dead: The Persistence of War in the Modern Age is one of the most sophisticated rebuttals to Steven Pinker’s claims about the decline of violence, as presented in Better Angels and elsewhere. At its core, though, its argument is a variation on the same strategy every rebuttal to Pinker uses: Count something other than war deaths as the numerator or something other than world population as the denominator.
To his credit, the author reveals himself to be unusually self-aware of this issue: