Because this topic may be a bit controversial, you will find this article reflecting views on books primarily dealing with politics, peace, and economics. Then it may be your pleasure to discern personal choices. However, certainly there are a few universal ones. In addition, this author’s reflections and findings did uncover fascinating results proving that much great literature apparently has influenced ideas in works down through the years. Here are the top 4 books that changed the world as we know it:
4. The Greek Classics
Thinking today would not be the same without views heralded from the works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Before those philosophers, writing consisted of such epic poetry as Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, manipulating war in Virgil’s Aeneid, and many others.
Socrates encouraged academic debates on morality and politics; Plato, a student of Socrates, addressed concerns including politics, ethics, and the importance of friendship; Aristotle, a student of Plato, contributed texts best known for the natural sciences.
An endless number of volumes descend from this array of subjects and the colors with which their writers painted each topic. For example, picture Isaac Newton, Nicholas Copernicus, Michael Faraday, and Charles Darwin working with and discussing scientific theories with Aristotle; or possibly Leo Tolstoy going over one of the sections of his War and Peace with Plato and Socrates.
3. The Communist Manifesto
A book of social, philosophical, and economic influence, The Communist Manifesto appealed to the working classes to seek revolution. Its proponents were to insist on the overthrow of leadership and institute a classless society. Individuals in this society would work for the good of all, but without ownership of property. This faceless humanity thus became a devalued membership of workers fearful of having a voice.
The Russian Revolution turned this proposition into a reality and the world has not been the same since. Tolstoy’s War and Peace is the dominant work just prior to this era; a love story depicting scenarios during the revolution is Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago. George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 are parodies on the ideals put forward in the Communist Manifesto. After over 120 years, Marx and Engle’s book continues to make its mark on the world.
2. Canterbury Tales
Besides the tales themselves, the illustrious realism of its characters, and the imagery created, the language is actually what makes this such a renowned volume. Without Chaucer’s predominant use of vernacular English, literature as we know it would appear either in Latin or French.
Tried and read in Chaucer’s Middle English, the Tales are delightful and the language has many similarities to our own…the verbiage of the common man. Similarly, read as a legendary document in today’s vocabulary, the descriptions have the reader involved in a myriad of emotions.
1. The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank
Besides being one of this author’s personal favorites, this intensely personal diary is purely that, a diary. Yet reading it today, it actually becomes a rebuttal to Hitler’s two volumes of Mein Kampf. Anne Frank’s agenda however, was to recount the happenings of her and her family’s life during the time that would later become a holocaust of memories. It depicts events in history, in addition to treatment of economic and religious issues; it is a book that will forever be unforgettable.
After considering the offer to ponder the aforementioned works as bases from which other greats grew, is there any wonder the recognized authors over the centuries and decades have enjoyed sturdy notoriety?
It is with great hope you will take time to indulge in some of these, and that you might find an extra trip to the library or bookstore a must. No doubt they will take places of importance alongside your present personal favorites.