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12 Books That Changed the World by Melvyn…
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12 Books That Changed the World (2006)

by Melvyn Bragg

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Bragg presents an odd combination of so called "books" that changed the world and 12 is a neat number, but why not a baker's dozen. it turns out that his choice of 12 that changed the world stretches beyond books to documents (the Magna Carta ) , a patent specification. ( Arkwight's spinning machine.) a set of rules for football . This book shrieks of the pot boile variety... And deqdlines to be met . It is too contrived and evidently aimed to meet a publisher's deadline by a much loved author, I was hugely impressed by his book Speak for England and loved his style . this book makes one think about what you would choose given the same brief .... Ie books that changed the world . My coverage would have included Karl Marx's Das Kapitsl and Keynes 's General Theory , Mao Tse Tung., Gandhi, David Landes . His choice runs to Newton, Marie Stopes ( all of us women who today opt for 2 kids do indeed need to thank this lady.) , the Magna Carta ( at a stretch yes , in how it can be claimed to be the start of democracy for the landowning upper class in England) . I agree with his choice of Darwin, The abolition of the slave trade was a speech in Parliament by Wilbrforce and deserves comment but it was not a book but a pamphlet . Yes the Bible is significant but means different things to different people , the King James version appeals because it has a cadence that thrills when read aloud in a cavernous church. but what about the Koran? Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations would make my cut and yes I own not one but three copies of this book . In any orthodox list is Shakespeare but you need to settle on one play not a collection. In all a very Anglo British literature list and actually not that unconventional . Overall a good read and a book worth adding to one's library . I wonder what Bill Bryson's choices would have been . It could be a neat game over a dinner table as to which books have firstly changed your view of the world and secondly , changed the way in which the world sees itself . what about Aristotle, Plago , Justinian? this book wins my recommendation if only to get our thinking and playing the same game .
  Africansky1 | Sep 13, 2013 |


A great idea but full of over long quotations of the work of others, and unsupported assertions of the author. I assume he was in a rush to finish. ( )
  PJM64 | Apr 2, 2013 |
Good enough, but treats the books it examines in a very superficial way. Lots of context, but again, not particularly deep treatment of the time in which each book was published. ( )
1 vote notmyrealname | Oct 4, 2008 |
This is the book of the TV series, and as one might expect, is therefore shallow, trite, and dull. It contains information, but you already know it all. ( )
  sloopjonb | Aug 28, 2008 |
Not the books I would have expected, but an interesting list none the less. ( )
  miketheriley | Jun 22, 2008 |
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Accompanying the TV series, this book describes a 'book' as an agent of social, political & personal revolution. Including famous books by Darwin, Newton & Shakespeare, it covers lesser-known works, such as Marie Stopes' 'Married Love', & the original radical feminist Mary Wollstonecraft's 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman'.… (more)

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