Reading Great Books that Changed the World

by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
great books

The written word is lord over the universe.

The coming of the internet instead of killing the book as prophesied by some never-do-wells has in fact enshrined the great books in the eternal library.

It is cool by me today to undertake a grand tour of reading touting knowledge from ancient hieroglyphics to the modern webzine.

There is no escaping the matter that religion seasons with sacred scripts via the sublime offerings of the ilk of Siddhartha the Buddha and the crop of Hindu prophets.

The Bible in 66 Old Testament books puts upfront the prophecy of the chosen one among the Jews of God, and thereafter Jesus manifests in 27 New Testament books to justify the prophecy by way of the crucifixion until his resurrection to save mankind.

The Koran beams the rendition of the words of Allah spoken in 114 suras to Prophet Mohammed by Angel Jibril.

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli pulls controversy in overdrive in the art of statecraft as the leader opts for fear over love, and couples the brutal strength of the lion with the slippery cunning of the fox until the end justifies the means.

Nicolaus Copernicus in his Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies pitches the sun displacing the earth as the centre of the planetary network much to the chagrin of the Catholic Church that cannot take it that the earth is rotating without man falling on his head!

Sir Isaac Newton, the inscrutable dean of science, discovers gravity upon an apple falling on his head and pens Principia Mathematica, a mathematical treatment of the motions of bodies whilst propounding the theorem of differential calculus as per particles of matter attracted “with a force inversely proportional to the square of their distances apart.”

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense is not larger than a pamphlet of 40 or so hot pages but it jolts history by rousing the American colonists to cry independence forthwith away from the decadence of British colonialism, thus shattering prevailing props of the monarchy and damning the vaunted British defence of her colonies as a vain safeguard of British trade and finance.

In Adam Smith’s encyclopaedic tome The Wealth of Nations, capitalism is all the rage, a Scotsman’s treatise on human motivation based on self-interest and free enterprise.

An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus makes apocalyptic broadcast that to the detriment of the political economy children are produced geometrically while food production manifests arithmetically, pressing an alarm button that has nary a word on the unjust distribution of wealth.

One can call Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau an article, or a book if you may, but the history-changer carries with a loud voice, thusly: “That government is best which governs not at all,” thus rooting the cause of the laissez-faire individualism of the epochal 19th Century toward the routing of slave-holding, and inspiring the problematic pacifist Mahatma Gandhi.

Charles Darwin pits Origin of the Species against the grain of theological evolution by upping the principle of natural selection and the doctrine of the survival of the fittest in the nurture to master nature beyond the wand of a godhead of creation.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe proves that fiction that is by no means a literary masterpiece can upturn history as a deeply religious housewife ignites the fire of the American Civil War and pulls down in a heap the infernal walls of slavery.

Karl Marx wonders in fumes of doubt if his book Das Kapital would earn the cigar money spent to pen the tome of dialectical materialism but he ends up winning the world via class struggle in league with his beneficent sidekick Friedrick Engels, co-author of the slim Communist Manifesto that exhorts mankind into revolutionary frenzy via the immortal words: “Workers of the world, unite; there is nothing to lose but your chains!”

Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams delves into the recondite human unconscious intervolving the mental modes of the Id, Ego and Superego.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler serves up autobiography as dogma and upends the universe in pages of blood and chapters of death through the unforgettable pronunciamento of the Third Reich and the mind-bending conductor of the Second World War.

Albert Einstein in Relativity, the Special and General Theories enlarges the world as the author of four dimensions in which Time tops Length, Width and Height as per the combustible paterfamilias of the Atomic Bomb.

The great books that changed the world have cracked many a brain, and are still cracking. Of mastering books and ground-breaking ideas that shaped the world, there are no guarantees stopping man from running mad!

I must pause now to marvel at the bookshelf while fixating on multiform titles that equally made history.

The written word calls for reverence in books.  


Image: MS Co-Pilot remixed

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