Synopses & Reviews
What are the one hundred most influential books ever written? Those works that have radically altered the course of civilization, whether they have embodied the religions practiced by millions (the Bible, the Koran), achieved the pinnacle of artistic expression (the Iliad and the Odyssey, Shakespeare's plays), pointed the way to scientific discovery of enormous consequence (Darwin's On the Origin of Species, Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity), radically changed the thought of man about his very nature (Freud's A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis and The Interpretation of Dreams, Hume's Treatise of Human Nature), or forever altered the global political landscape (Plato's Republic, Machiavelli's Prince)?
Never before has one book attempted to identify and analyze the one hundred works that have most influenced human history. For each one (listed in chronological order), author Martin Seymour-Smith provides:
-- Historical background and overview, setting each text in its time
-- Little-known facts about the author and the creation of the work
-- A lively and stimulating discussion of the factors that warrant the book's inclusion among the one hundred
-- Detailed analysis of the effects of the work on our lives today
Among the works profiled
-- Locke's Essay on Human Understanding
-- Orwell's 1984
-- Bunyon's Pilgrim's Progress
-- Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations
-- Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
-- Thoreau's Civil Disobedience
-- Paine's Rights of Man
-- Hobbes's Leviathan
-- Buber's I and Thou
-- Newton's Principia
-- Friedan's Feminine Mystique.
Here is a book that every literate person should read, one that entertains as itenlightens and puts into fresh perspective the development of knowledge over several thousand years.