“Humankind: A Hopeful History” by Rutger Bergman

Book Review: Barbara Evans (Friends of the Library President)

A fifty year old story of six boys – 15 month survival on a remote island off of Tonga was presented on 60 Minutes April 4, 2021.

The interview with Rutger Bergman by Holly Williams compelled me to seek out this book to learn more. The fifteen month survival account of six Tongan boys on a remote Island was pretty much unheard of had it not been by chance and the fortunate filming of the event by Australian TV 50 years ago. How these teenagers lived was opposite of the popular book, “Lord of the Flies,” by William Golding – which is fiction. Their story is a small part of this book which researches evidence that humans are kinder, more cooperative and trusting than we have been led to believe by the news media, our churches and politicians. We have been taught that humans are basically evil and that civilization is held together by a thin veneer. Bergman makes the case that our first instincts in time of disaster are to help. “Bergman shows us that believing in human generosity and collaboration isn’t merely optimistic – it’s realistic.” I think his message of hope is needed and I highly recommend this book.

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