10 Books that Screwed Up the World: And Five Others That Didn't Help

10 Books that Screwed Up the World: And Five Others That Didn't Help

by Benjamin Wiker


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10 Books that Screwed Up the World: And Five Others That Didn't Help by Benjamin Wiker

You've heard of the "Great Books"?
These are their evil opposites. From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive--in fact, they might influence your own thinking without your realizing it. Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker. In his scintillating new book, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World (And 5 Others That Didn't Help), he seizes each of these evil books by its malignant heart and exposes it to the light of day. In this witty, learned, and provocative exposé, you'll learn:

* Why Machiavelli's The Prince was the inspiration for a long list of tyrannies (Stalin had it on his nightstand)
* How Descartes' Discourse on Method "proved" God's existence only by making Him a creation of our own ego
* How Hobbes' Leviathan led to the belief that we have a "right" to whatever we want
* Why Marx and Engels's Communist Manifesto could win the award for the most malicious book ever written
* How Darwin's The Descent of Man proves he intended "survival of the fittest" to be applied to human society
* How Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil issued the call for a world ruled solely by the "will to power"
* How Hitler's Mein Kampf was a kind of "spiritualized Darwinism" that accounts for his genocidal anti-Semitism
* How the pansexual paradise described in Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa turned out to be a creation of her own sexual confusions and aspirations
* Why Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was simply autobiography masquerading as science

Witty, shocking, and instructive, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World offers a quick education on the worst ideas in human history--and how we can avoid them in the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596980556
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Publication date: 05/06/2008
Pages: 260
Sales rank: 469,446
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Benjamin Wiker received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, and has taught at Marquette University, St. Mary's University, Thomas Aquinas College, and Franciscan University. He now writes full time as a senior fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical
Theology and is also a senior fellow with Discovery Institute. He has written several other books, most recently A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature (co-authored with Jonathan Witt) and Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Richard Dawkins' Case against God (co-authored with Scott Hahn). He lives in rural Ohio with his beloved wife, seven children, and sundry goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, and whatever else happens to wander along.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ideas Have Consequences     1
Preliminary Screw-Ups
The Prince     7
Discourse on Method     17
Leviathan     31
Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men     41
Ten Big Screw-Ups
The Manifesto of the Communist Party     57
Utilitarianism     73
The Descent of Man     85
Beyond Good and Evil     99
The State and Revolution     115
The Pivot of Civilization     127
Mein Kampf     145
The Future of an Illusion     165
Coming of Age in Samoa     177
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male     195
Dishonorable Mention
The Feminine Mystique     211
Afterword: A Conclusive Outline of Sanity     227
Acknowledgments     233
Notes     235
Index     251

What People are Saying About This

Thomas E. Woods

"Benjamin Wiker has read the worst books in Western civilization so you don't have to. In this sprightly, witty, engaging survey of bad guys ranging from Marx to Hitler, Nietzsche to Betty Friedan, Professor Wiker's poison pen portraits are great critical aids to analyzing some of the worst ideas that have ever contaminated Western civilization. Professor Wiker recommends actually reading the books-but his own book is a whole lot more fun."--(Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Ph.D., author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization)

Elizabeth Kantor

"A valuable contribution to the most urgent intellectual project of our day: restoring our culture to that healthy state in which the truisms that most people take for granted are actually true. If you want to know where Western civilization ran off the rails, read this book. And if you want to help get us back on track, buy extra copies and see what you can do to get them into doctor's office waiting rooms, faculty lounges, and your local public library. Wiker has the goods on the authors of our current confusion about (among other things) human nature, morality, sex, economics, law, and government-this book will open many eyes."--(Elizabeth Kantor, Ph.D., editor of the Conservative Book Club and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to English and American Literature)

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10 Books that Screwed Up the World: And Five Others That Didn't Help 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
stormshadow More than 1 year ago
This book is simple, humorous, addictive philosophy book that it is easy to get absorbed into. The book avoids using only logic and dry statements that are common in many philosophy materials. The author employs the use of sarcasm and ridiculous scenarios to undercut the reasoning of the authors in the books he mentions. This style makes the book entertaining and easy to read as well as enlightening. The author takes an uncommon and unpopular approach of tackling 15 popular books and connecting them to the tragedies of societies (thus the title). The author encourages the reader to read these books themselves but only to see the folly in their reasoning. The author draws connections between events and ideologies in the books that many sociologist, philosophers, etc may disagree with, so be prepared. It is a interesting book for people who have read some of these "15 books" and want a view if their effects on society at large. You don't have to be a philosophy major to understand the simple reasoning in the book.
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CabbieMA More than 1 year ago
Wiker does a good job making the reader rethink settled philosophy. He writes from a conservative Christian perspective, but he effectively pokes some big holes in the philosophies of influential authors and points out why these philosophies are not so great for world peace or personal peace. Wiker states that Machiavelli's "The Prince" is the dictator's handbook, but worse, Machiavelli made the unthinkable thinkable for the average person. The ends do not justify the means, but this is exactly how Machiavelli's thoughts permeate through modern society to average people. In his critique of DesCartes, the accepted father of modern philosophy, Wiker shows how circular DesCartes' philosophy is. Wiker says DesCarte's most famous quote "I think, therefore I am" proves nothing about the existence of anything. Wiker says we exist, and therefore we can think, as well as feel joy, hunger, and pain. The world would exist whether we think or not. The world is not all about us. But DesCartes philosophy allows us to be selfish. And that selfishness, Wiker points out, is what makes DesCartes's books dangerous. Wiker does not propose burning these books, only viewing them with a more discerning eye so that can see the destructive effects their words and thoughts continue to have on society and the average person.
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stewardship More than 1 year ago
A really good synopsis of the major athesist authors and the effect their misguided philosophy and flawed scientific papers have had on society.
pet21PG More than 1 year ago
worth reading - great book - 10/10
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wiker demonstrates that the pen is still mightier than the sword. The horrific ideas contained in the books he surveys could only have been imposed upon an unsuspecting population at the point of a sword, as many of them were. Wiker reveals the common denominator of these works 'godlessness' along with their shared outcome 'oppression'. As Wiker himself states in the book, bad ideas have really bad consequences. Here's a good idea: buy this book for the thoughtful dad on your Father's Day list!
A_Musician More than 1 year ago
It seems devout Roman Catholic Wiker forgot to include one book that's certainly had far-reaching negative impact on humanity. A book full of ambiguous, contradictory, disjointed parables. A book that asserts that there are things that lie outside of reason, that man's life is ruled by an ambiguously defined entity that he is to obey without question, directed by this entity's self-appointed representatives. Representatives who however, can't seem to reach a unanimous consensus as to exactly what the "Big Book Of Ambiguous Parables" actually means. He seems to forget that there was already a healthy legacy of atrocities committed by Bible-waving Christians that predated any of the books on his list. He seems to be unaware that mankind's progress has only increased as infection by the intellectual cancer of religion - of which Communism is one, merely substituting "The State" for "God" - has lessened. If it were up to Wiker's Catholic church, we'd still be living in the Dark Ages. Not that they didn't try their darndest to keep us there mind you - threatening, torturing and killing those who dared oppose their dusty, rancid mysticism - how they treated Galileo and others who questioned church doctrine. Wiker apparently hasn't noticed how things are in the part of the world that DOES make their own book of disjointed parables law. He's perhaps unaware that America fought a war to get out from under the rule of a nation in which heresy was a crime, that America's Founding Fathers purposely drafted a constitution devoid of any Biblical references though it did forbid gov't from imposing a state religion or requiring any test of religious affiliation to hold public office. Maybe Wiker will include the Bible, Torah and Qur'an in his next revision.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is just your standard right wing ignorant and dishonest rant. In typical fashion, the author claims to be doing you a favor by reading these books so that you don't have to. Don't read this book, read the books he attacks. Then read this book so that you can see what lengths people will go to to lie to you. Oh, and this dude's 'Ph.D.' is in 'Theological Ethics'. So you know he is REAL qualified to discuss things intelligently and objectively.