August 6, 2006
Don't Read These Books!
According to the conservative Human Events, the ten most harmful books of the 19th and 20th century are:
- The Communist Manifesto
- Mein Kampf
- Quotations from Chairman Mao
- The Kinsey Report
- Democracy and Education
- Das Kapital
- The Feminine Mystique
- The Course of Positive Philosophy
- Beyond Good and Evil
- General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
Honorable Mentions include:
- The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich
- On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
- Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner
- Reflections on Violence by Georges Sorel
- The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
- Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault
- Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead
- Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader (???)
- Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
- Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
- Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
- The Greening of America by Charles Reich
- Descent of Man by Charles Darwin
Is a comment even necessary? [JH]
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I just made a search on google: the most read books time. And ended up here. Thanks for the list.
Posted by: J K | Jun 6, 2008 10:19:48 AM
dont they know that the more they hinder people from doing things, the more likely they are moved towards it?
Posted by: poulsbo florist | Mar 16, 2008 6:17:42 PM
I agree with #3 only because it was required not because of the actual content. The rest of this list is crap. How exactly can books be harmful? Do they publish them with built-in bombs? Do they emit a noxious gas, paralyzing anyone in a 400-foot radius upon opening? They're made of paper and ink, and for the most part they're completely biodegradable. Even if you do consider a book to be harmful based on its followers--The Communist Manifesto as #1?! With the majority of communist governments around today being completely corrupt, do you really think they took to heart *anything* that that book had to say?
Posted by: Usi | Sep 19, 2007 9:20:55 PM
I find it odd that "Mein Kampf" is on the list, seeing as how many of it's tactics and aims are currently a major part of the ideology of the bunch that put it on the list in the first place. I'd bet real money that if Hitler had not put his homicidal brand of anti-semitism into actual practice on such a grand scale, it would never have made this list -- and, in fact, would probably be on the "Top 10 'Must Read' list for all Conservatives".
P.S. In all the mentions of Dr. Seuss' books, I have yet to see any mention of "Fox in Socks" which quite proudly declares: "This Book is Dangerous!"
Posted by: Reynard | Aug 30, 2006 2:00:41 PM
My thanks to Human Evenets for publishing this list. I've been trying to decide what book I'm going to pick up next, and these books just took the top 10 places on my reading list.
Posted by: Jeff | Aug 19, 2006 10:24:04 PM
Oh, for fuck's sake.
Any moron with reading comprehension can see that the contents of the communist manifesto have little to nothing in common with the Soviet union and its policies (which came nearly a century later, especially if you're using stalin as a starting point for soviet atrocities..are you people seriously that easy to fool?). Marxism wasn't marxism ten years after 1848, let alone 70 years!
None of these books were harmful. They reflected the thoughts and social conditions of a particular era from the perspective of a particular group, none of which exist today in the same fashion as when the texts were written.
I find it rather hilarious that the readers here seem to think that the communist manifesto describes the soviet union and its policies despite the extraordinary time gap. Even before his death, marx disowned "marxism" and many of the groups that claimed it--which should at least make you think about what the communist manifesto really was; or at least tempt you to investigate.
And yet, you make fun of your conservative counterparts as though they're so much different than you. If you're going to demonize communists, at least make sure you know the whole scope of what it is you demonize. Most communists worldwide didn't even support the soviet union's atrocities at the time of its creation, let alone before or after.
How about actually investigating for a change instead of just recycling the things that you were told in elementary school, children? It won't hurt, I promise.
Posted by: ollapader | Aug 12, 2006 2:23:18 AM
thinking is very harmful to our present day conservative. Creating fear amongst the flock unites and fortifies unquestioned belief in the ideology. the power that this fear mongering creates allows for those in power to abuse the power. fascism!
Posted by: josephk | Aug 11, 2006 2:00:17 PM
I laughed at Keynes' being on that list, I wouldn't want to live in a world without that book.
Posted by: SmasH | Aug 11, 2006 4:01:59 AM
Once again my christian brothers want to enlighten us to the dangers of the written word.As if their pontification on religion ads any credence to there one sided biased look at God.There way or the highway,I think not.They wield the bible as if it were theirs alone.Who asked for their oppinion anyway.Keep the Bible in the pulpit not in the statehouse.
Posted by: Duffy | Aug 9, 2006 9:43:36 AM
I guess those who are educated will not be harmed by anything written by a common man, since man is allowed his free will to express his opinions on many subjects and happenings in life. However, we must remember that man is not infallable and what is written by him must be taken with a grain of salt or at the very least, common sense.
Posted by: Pat Hoey | Aug 8, 2006 5:45:33 PM
If I recall correctly the nazi's consolidated control for the reich by burning books that disagreed with their philosophy. The conservative right would like to do the same thing. The "dumbing down" of America is in full swing. Shortly Americans will be unfit for anything but meaningless menial work and consumption of corporate products if this trend continues. Anyone out there know how to build a clock? Tune up your own car? assemble and program your own computer? Thought not. Critical thought and comparative analysis are the underpinnings of any true democracy. If there are no choices there is no democracy. The reasons they made Socrates drink hemlock was that he asked hard questions that made people think. Unfortunately these alleged defenders of freedom would like to do the same.
Posted by: Yaha Tustunugee | Aug 8, 2006 11:40:08 AM
You gave an inaccurate spin to this article with your title.
It's NOT "DON'T READ THESE BOOKS" but "THESE BOOKS WERE HARMFUL TO HUMAN LIFE."
Nowhere in the original article does it even suggest "don't read these." And indeed, just taking the top-2, we can see that these books did lead to the deaths of millions of people (Stalanist Russia and Nazi Germany).
Posted by: EatingPie | Aug 8, 2006 10:32:44 AM
I read Mein Kampf and Darwin when I was 16 for a history project on fascism, should I sue my school? The people that wrote that list have obviously never read Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, far more dangerous for the young mind! Also far more interesting.
Posted by: nic-wibble | Aug 8, 2006 6:03:45 AM
The best part of the original article is when, after writing the summary of "Beyond Good and Evil" they throw in "The Nazis loved Nietzsche." right at the end.
Posted by: reader | Aug 8, 2006 2:08:10 AM
"Posted by: john | Aug 7, 2006 12:19:17 PM
The original article was issued over a year ago. The publication is admitedly conservative. The people who generated the list were chosen for their conservatism. What did one expect to find? Why did it take so long for anyone else to take interest?"
John, the sudden storm of interest is because this page got linked to Fark.com, which means that in all likelihood it has seen a thousand times more hits in the past two days than it got in the entire year plus since it's original posting.
Posted by: Mike | Aug 8, 2006 1:45:10 AM
"Unsafe at any speed" harmful? Are you kidding me? Some guy says it would be a good idea to wear seat belts, and highway deaths are halved per capita. "Silent Spring" harmful? Somebody says it would be nice if we had some birds left and the rivers stop catching fire. Uh... I think I detect a little rabid conservative bias here. To my conservative friends I say, you don't believe in science? Then no science for you. Live without it and see how far you get.
Posted by: Antiflanders | Aug 7, 2006 8:06:22 PM
Hah. Not one single Dr. Seuss book up there, nor a mention of "Goodnight, Moon". I suppose the listmakers aren't worried about potential corruption of children--"Hop on Pop" is just filled with patricidal sentiments, and as for "Goodnight, Moon", teaching childrne the delusion of saying good night to inanimate objects is sure to lead us all into ruin!
Posted by: Lupa | Aug 7, 2006 7:38:51 PM
the world consists of a few evil people (many of whom write books), a lot of stupid people (a few of whom read them) and those who think like me (and the book I so discerningly read).
How about a list of the world's most beneficial books. My thoughts:-
Anything by Dr.Seuss.
Posted by: Paul Mason | Aug 7, 2006 7:37:51 PM
Regarding this post by ollj
"Yeah, seems about right to me. When you look at the unbelievable amount of harm inflicted on humanity by admirers of #1, #2, #3, and #6, you're talking about hundreds of millions of lives lost and entire nations and peoples destroyed by Communism and Fascism."
Hey! Don't forget how many deaths the Bible and the Koran have caused. Can we ban them too?
Posted by: Ron Hager | Aug 7, 2006 7:36:49 PM
"There is nothing quite so fulfilling as a brightly burning book." Deacon Mushrat Pogo comic strip
Posted by: F. J. Williams | Aug 7, 2006 7:15:32 PM