Humanity: an emotional history
In his History of Englandof 1757, the novelist Tobias Smollett records the case of a suicide pact between a London book binder named Smith and his wife who, having fallen into bankruptcy, killed their only child and then themselves. What struck Smollett about these deaths was the absence of helplessness. The Smiths' suicide was merely a calculated decision about the most prudent course open to them. Walton's highly original and necessarily idiosyncratic work mixes history, philosophical insight and the latest science to produce a vivid and exuberant account of how emotions have shaped our history.
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