10 Books That Screwed Up the World
by: Benjamin Wiker
Published by: Regnery Publishing, Inc.
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Reviewed by Diane Snyder
The author, Benjamin Wiker, isolates four books that he calls “Preliminary Screw Ups.” These are The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli written in 1513, Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes in 1637, Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes in 1651 and Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1755. In his belief, these books had substantial influence on later writers, and in effect, perpetrated a spread of the “deadly diseases” of the ideas by the written word of these authors/philosophers.
In total, there are actually fifteen books that he feels the world would have been better without, the first four wielding the most influence and the rest taking those ideas and expanding upon them and spreading them “like viruses.” Dr. Wiker advises the reader to read these books well and form an understanding of the ideas put forth, thereby exposing their “malignancy.”
Do not expect this book to be a quick and easy read. Selecting passages from the original texts to support his point, Dr Wiker’s writing, at times, is as difficult to comprehend as the original text in question. There was one book however that Dr Wiker was denied permission to use quotes – Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred Kinsey in 1948. There are copious footnotes referencing the texts of all the books addressed, including that of Alfred Kinsey, and there is also an inclusive index.
Dr Wiker also enlightens us about the personal lives of several of the authors as an explanation for their ideas and philosophies. There does not seem to be any footnotes or references to verify this information.
The last chapter entitled, “A Conclusive Outline of Sanity,” is a fairly concise summation of Dr Wiker’s own beliefs and ideas concerning the effects of the books in question upon the world.
This book, 10 Books that Screwed up the World is a Book of the Month Club selection by the Conservative Book Club and would cause a very interesting and lively discussion for a reading group.
Dr Wiker has a PhD in theological ethics from Vanderbilt University, has taught at several leading universities and authored other books.
Armchair Interviews says: Very thought-provoking read.
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