The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Time to Today

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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 First Folio), pointed the way to scientific discovery of enormous consequence (Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Einstein's Relativity), changed the perception of mankind about his ...
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Overview

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 First Folio), pointed the way to scientific discovery of enormous consequence (Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Einstein's Relativity), changed the perception of mankind about his very nature (Freud' s Interpretation of Dreams, Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity), or forever altered the global political landscape (Plato's Republic, Machiavelli's Prince). For each of the one hundred entries (listed in chronological order) he provides historical background and an overview of the text, little-known facts about the author and the creation of the work, a lively discussion of the factors that warrant the book's inclusion among the one hundred most influential books, and detailed analysis of the effects of the work on our lives today.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
British literary historian Seymour-Smith's survey of what he considers the 100 most influential books is a searching inquiry into major thinkers, writers and philosophers. Arranged in chronological order from theI Ching to B.F. Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity, the selection is admirably inclusive, setting Confucius's Analects, India's Upanishads, The Koran and the Zoroastrian Avesta, alongside the Old and New Testaments, Plato's Republic, and works by Dante, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Gibbon, Copernicus, Voltaire, Marx, Thoreau, Einstein, Freud, Jung.

His compendium features concise, opinionated essays marked by intellectual depth and scope, and includes vivid biographical details of each book's author. Seymour-Smith finds most modernist techniques already present, or anticipated, in Cervantes's Don Quixote, and he views Rabelais as the first truly popular writer. His eclectic choice of influential moderns includes de Beauvoir, Mao, Orwell, Keynes, and Chomsky; cybernetician Norbert Winer; and mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, a roster he defends with alacrity. This is a mind-expanding one-volume humanities course.

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Pulling together works from science, political science, philosophy, religion, and literature, Seymour-Smith provides a chronologically arranged history of thought and knowledge. Each four- to five-page essay includes background information on the time period, how and why the book was written, the author, and an examination of the influence of the work today. Although the publisher says this is for the "general reader," the author assumes some prior knowledge in the various fields. This title will be useful as a reference source because it includes many ancient works and many selections from Eastern cultures that are not fully discussed in other tools. It could also stimulate a discussion or writing assignment on the inclusions and omissions.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
An ambitious and audacious undertaking that selects and analyzes works in literature, philosophy, science, religion, and history in chronological order. For each, provides a historical background and overview, reveals little-known facts about the author and the writing, discusses why it was included, and analyzes its effects on the present. No bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806521923
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Pages: 506
  • Product dimensions: 7.03 (w) x 9.95 (h) x 1.54 (d)

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