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The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Though from Ancient Times to Today

Seymour-Smith, Martin

Citadel Press
Published:March 1, 2001

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Description: From Publishers Weekly
British literary historian Seymour-Smith's survey of what he considers the 100 most influential books is a searching inquiry into major thinkers, writers and philosophers. Arranged in chronological order from the I Ching to B.F. Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity, the selection is admirably inclusive, setting Confucius's Analects, India's Upanishads, the Koran and the Zoroastrian Avesta alongside the Old and New Testaments, Plato's Republic, and works by Dante, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Gibbon, Copernicus, Voltaire, Marx, Thoreau, Einstein, Freud, Jung. His compendium features concise, opinionated essays marked by intellectual depth and scope, and includes vivid biographical details of each book's author. Seymour-Smith finds most modernist techniques already present, or anticipated, in Cervantes's Don Quixote, and he views Rabelais as the first truly popular writer. His eclectic choice of influential moderns?de Beauvoir, Mao, Orwell, Keynes, Chomsky, cybernetician Norbert Winer, mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, Wittgenstein?is unpredictable, a roster he defends with alacrity. This is a mind-expanding one-volume humanities course. Illustrations.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the

Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-Pulling together works from science, political science, philosophy, religion, and literature, Seymour-Smith provides a chronologically arranged history of thought and knowledge. Each four- to five-page essay includes background information on the time period, how and why the book was written, the author, and an examination of the influence of the work today. Although the publisher says this is for the "general reader," the author assumes some prior knowledge in the various fields. This title will be useful as a reference source because it includes many ancient works and many selections from Eastern cultures that are not fully discussed in other tools. It could also stimulate a discussion or writing assignment on the inclusions and omissions.
Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the

Hardcover edition.

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