Friday, June 03, 2005

Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

My colleague G sent this, and it was too good to pass up:

Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries
Brought to you by Human Events Online, The National Conservative Weekly.

  1. The Communist Manifesto
  2. Mein Kampf
  3. Quotations from Chairman Mao
  4. The Kinsey Report
  5. Democracy and Education
  6. Das Kapital (Marx should feel honored for getting two mentions)
  7. The Feminine Mystique
  8. The Course of Positive Philosophy
  9. Beyond Good and Evil
  10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
Hmmm. If I had to pick the all time most harmful book ever created, I'd have to say it was the Bible. In terms of the number of people who've been alienated or killed in the name of God, I think that book's got a corner on the market.

In good conservative fashion, however, it made the top of the Ten Books Every Student Should Read in College list. I don't know about you, but I was certainly reading a lot of Job and Leviticus when I was a sophomore.


At 5:58 PM, Blogger sxKitten said...

I actually read both Job and Leviticus when I was in 3rd year university. I took an English course that examined Greek myths and the Old Testament for their influences on English literature.

It was quite fascinating, in large part because the prof treated the bible as an extremely influential piece of writing, not a divine manifesto.

I did think Job was a bit of a wimp for putting up with all that crap, though. Any god that did that to me would be in my bad books for a loooong time.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Try telling a fundamentalist Christian that the stories in the bible are influenced by myths and he'll have a giant hissy fit. At least my ex-boyfriend did.

Trillian, you should check out this post by one of my favorite bloggers, all about whether to dislike the religion or dislike the religious.

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Dean said...

A local (to me (and the sxKitten, too)) author and college professor has his own take on this at:


At 1:53 AM, Blogger ana_be_good said...

Harmful as the Communist ideology was (is), at least there was (is) something in place to challenge Capitalism. Having one school of thought dominating the entire world can't be a good. Although people do blame Communists for many lives lost, who's to say that Capitalism was a good thing in the first place.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Carmi said...

Fundamentalist Christians aren't known for their open-mindedness. Then again, neither is anyone who can be characterized as a religious zealot.

I think the Religion of the Root Beer Float would point the way toward a more peaceful world.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Mark A. Rayner said...

If you have a look at their "honourable mentions", then the purpose of this list becomes even clearer. These are books they'd like to ban.

I can see how humanists might want to describe the Bible, the Koran, etc., as at least equally harmful as Mein Kampf, but then we'd be doing the same thing the authors of this list are, wouldn't we?

I enjoyed the link above, about the ten most harmful novels, though it's repeating the process -- blaming the book for how we respond to it.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Dean said...

I enjoyed the link above, about the ten most harmful novels, though it's repeating the process -- blaming the book for how we respond to it.

I think that was (at least partially) Killian's point.

At 12:01 AM, Blogger Lone Ranger said...

Let's focus, people. Christianity is based on the New Testament, which details God's new covenent with the human race. When you judge a religion, base your judgement on what the religion teaches, not on the people who distort the teachings. Jesus taught love, not killing. I agree that the Communist Manifesto should be on that list. So should the Koran, the Sunnah and Darwin's Origin of the species, which spawned the pseudo-science of eugenics.

At 11:04 PM, Blogger Diva said...

Killian's, Dean?

Have you been worshipping a bit too much at the temple of Barley & Hops? :)

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Trillian said...

sxKitten: Actually - I read the bible in my junior year (I majored in Reformation History).

Kate: Funny post. I have nothing against Christians who actually act like Christians. It's just that there are so few of them...

Dean: Thanks for the links! I always love reading this blog.

ana_be_good: I don't think you can say that what was going on in the Soviet Union could be called Communism (in the Marxist sense). I agree that having one super power makes things very lopsided, though, and the US government (and Hollywood) seemed to be able to cope better when they had an obvious enemy like the "Communists". That's a whole other post, though.

Carmi: Here, here.

Mark: I liked the ten most harmful novels, too. I thought it made a very funny point, in contrast to the seriousness of the Conservative site.

Lone Ranger: While I will agree that the actual teachings of the bible are great, they are so rarely practiced. And the New Testament is just one part of the Bible. Look what Dr. Laura's used the Bible to prove. There are hundreds of books with good intentions that are harmful when put in the hands of ignorant zealots. Including the TV guide. My point is that making that list is ridiculous, overly-simple, and close-minded.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Wheelson said...

This list is lacking "Men are from Mars Women are from Venus" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul".

I say let people believe what they want, as long as their faith based beliefs end when they meet up with government. Unfortunately this requires switching to relying on logic and reason whereas most faith based beliefs require a suspension of logical and rational thought, so for most fundamentalists such an exercise is very difficult if not impossible.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Steve said...


Great post. I'm with Mark on this one. At first I was angered to see a John Dewey book on the list, but then I realized I'm offended to a greater extent by the overriding concept of proscribing any book. Educated people debate the merits of influential ideas, they don't seek to limit the parameters of discussion via censorship. This list goes hand-in-hand with a concerted effort by conservatives to remove these books from college syllabi. I find that frightening, and against the spirit of education.


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