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10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help | [Benjamin Wiker]

10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help

You've heard of the "Great Books"? These are their evil opposites. From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive. Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker.
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Publisher's Summary

You've heard of the "Great Books"? These are their evil opposites.

From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive; in fact, they might influence your own thinking without your realizing it.

Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker. In this scintillating new book, he seizes each of these evil books by its malignant heart and exposes it to the light of day. You'll learn:

  • Why Machiavelli's The Prince was the inspiration for a long list of tyrannies (Stalin had it on his nightstand)
  • How Descartes's Discourse on Method "proved" God's existence only by making Him a creation of our own ego
  • How Hobbes's Leviathan led to the belief that we have a "right" to whatever we want
  • Why Marx and Engels's Communist Manifesto could win the award for the most malicious book ever written
  • How Darwin's Descent of Man proves he intended "survival of the fittest" to be applied to human society
  • How Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil issued the call for a world ruled solely by the "will to power"
  • How Hitler's Mein Kampf was a kind of "spiritualized Darwinism" that accounts for his genocidal anti-Semitism
  • How the pansexual paradise described in Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa turned out to be a creation of her own sexual confusions and aspirations
  • Why Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was simply autobiography masquerading as science

    Witty, shocking, and instructive, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World offers a quick education on the worst ideas in human history and how we can avoid them in the future.

    ©2008 Benjamin Wiker; (P)2008 Tantor

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    3.5 (217 )
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    •  
      Aaron san antonio, TX, USA 06-06-09
      Aaron san antonio, TX, USA 06-06-09
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "Some merit, but more religious masquerade"

      I will openly admit that I wanted to kick myself for not reading the reviews prior to purchasing this audiobook. All the reviews would have kept me from stepping directly into the trap of this book, which in part, must have been deliberately set. The titles and book synopsis do not disclose the blatant reduction of nearly each criticism to a Christian fundamentalist viewpoint, which should be OPENLY DISCLOSED. The book was well written, flowed well and was interesting with each chapter until the abrupt drop into a religious sermon. What was disappointing was that the author, who is obviously intelligent and a good writer, describes some valid criticisms and makes some arguments that keep you just interested enough that you think, "well, maybe the next chapter will be better." I can only hope to save another person some time, as others in the review section tried to do for me. The single biggest statement that can be said about the reviews of this book is that you can be rest assured that anyone who gave it 5 stars and "bought extra copies for _____" is an individual with strong Christian fundamental beliefs...which should divulge this book's blatant bias. I have submitted a request to Audible that this book be moved to the religious section, as keeping it in nonfiction is misleading. I'm sure that if you purchase this book KNOWING it is a theologic book, you will enjoy it immensely and you will be glad you spent the money. 4.5 stars for the writing & text, but ZERO for the fact that it is a religious book masquerading as non-fiction literature.

      98 of 123 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Kristie Mount AnnanAustralia 04-24-09
      Kristie Mount AnnanAustralia 04-24-09 Member Since 2005
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      "Egotistical Rant By A Very Poor Academic"

      I feel like I've been hoodwinked into buying this book! It is not a proper critique on the books in question at all. It is just a Fundamentalist Christian diatribe on why we should ignore anything that an atheist tells us.

      66 of 90 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Amazon Customer Delmar, NY USA 09-29-08
      Amazon Customer Delmar, NY USA 09-29-08 Member Since 2004
      HELPFUL VOTES
      76
      ratings
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      "Hard to get past the author's misguided premise"

      Two starts because the author is clearly up on the subject matter he is writing about.

      Missing the other three because, well, I just can't get past the author's apparent assertion that one cannot be a moral person without religion. I find this somewhat amusing given some of the things done in the name of religion, but this isn't the place to go into that. Also, he's of the mind that a viewpoint cannot be valid unless it embraces some form of God as one of its major tenants.

      I agree with one of the other reviewers here - brand this clearly as religious content so that one knows what they are spending their credits on.

      37 of 51 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Andrew San Diego, CA, United States 11-09-11
      Andrew San Diego, CA, United States 11-09-11 Member Since 2007
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      Story
      "An Exercise in Philosophical Hypocricy"

      Let's get the easy part of this out of the way first. The pacing and presentation of the material is outstanding, along with the narration, which perfectly fits with the tones of intellectual superiority with which the author writes.

      The author actually starts quite strong, with some reasonably well presented chapters on Machiavelli through Hobbes. I agree VERY strongly with the author's early assertion that it is ESSENTIAL to read these books in their entirety to understand their implications (yes, even Mein Kampf.)

      Now for the flies in the pudding. Beginning with his discussion of Rosseau, however, the author begins to reveal his biases and hidden agenda. He derides Rosseau's work as the beginning of all the misguided liberal agenda ever since.

      For the balance of the book, the author is unashamed of saying that it is impossible to establish a legitimate standard of right and wrong based upon anything but the Judeo-Christian model. Essentially all of his discourse beyond that point consists of cherry-picked facts and ad-hominem arguments (particularly with respect to Meade and Kinsey.

      In summary, if you want to read something to spare you the effort of reading those other difficult works and to reaffirm a world view intolerant of anything but extreme religious conservatism, this is the book for you. Otherwise, go read the original philosophical works yourself, and spare yourself the hypocrisy.

      4 of 5 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Colin Manly, NSW, Australia 10-05-08
      Colin Manly, NSW, Australia 10-05-08 Member Since 2003

      Live in Sydney, Australia. South African heritage. Love audio books. Constant company on my non-stop business travels.

      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "Felt manipulated"

      Clearly the author has some interesting and compelling perspectives on philosophical world views developed over the centuries however he sees all this through one lens - Christian fundamentalism.
      This was not apparent in the book description so feel somewhat duped.
      He does not fairly argue that a world view without a belief in a Christian anthropomorphised deity and a literal acceptance of the bible is not only specious but 'evil'.
      Without the religious self-justifying supercilious commentary it could have been an interesting listen.
      And I'll scream if one more creationist tells me about the great designer in the sky being responsible for creation and their convoluted logic in explaining the biological horrors that kill millions each year.
      This book should be under a 'Religious' heading.

      40 of 56 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Noktelfa 02-07-10
      Noktelfa 02-07-10 Member Since 2001
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      Overall
      "Deceptive marketing at work"

      This book was recommended based on a science book I bought, "13 Things That Don't Make Sense". That book was science. This book is preaching. I wish I had known that when I got it. I expected my mind to be stimulated, but I couldn't finish the second chapter.

      It's not about books that screwed up the world, but about books that the author feels offend his religious sensibilities. That information needs to be made clear to anyone purchasing this book. This book should be in the religious section.

      And, personally, I'm offended by some of the things this author says.

      That said, the audio quality of the book is excellent, and Audible did a fine job encoding it. So listening in my car was like riding in the car with my grandfather, whose vehement and preaching and subsequent abuse frequently left me in tears as a child.

      I would not let this author speak with me, given a choice, so I'm saddened that I made the mistake of putting money in his pocket.

      25 of 35 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Paul DPO, AE, USA 01-02-09
      Paul DPO, AE, USA 01-02-09 Member Since 2003
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "Christian Claptrap Masquerading as Philosophy"

      For the first time, I feel cheated by Audible.com and will ask for a credit on this book. The description did not mention the author has a rightwing Christian Agenda--yes, with a Capital A--and views these books through that prism. I stopped listening after his ignorant and illogical discussion of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan.

      46 of 65 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Tim Hibbetts All over the United States 11-26-08
      Tim Hibbetts All over the United States 11-26-08 Listener Since 2005
      HELPFUL VOTES
      69
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      "Flawed Premise"

      While Dr. Wiker (Ph.D. in Theological Ethics) does a fair job in detailing why these ten books had some bad ideas, he is more interested in demonizing all things that have been influenced by these books. Now, many of them are based on non- and pseudo-science and deserve a good thrashing, but he is really launching his judgments from a traditional Judeo-Christian platform, which is also based on a non-science book (albeit one with a richer and thicker sheen of cultural strength).
      This is far more an attack on liberal ideas (some of which deserve attacking), than a serious intellectual treatise. And while I agree with many of the concepts, the premise is flawed and I feel disappointed by what I thought was going to be some serious logical thinking and all I kept hearing was, "this is bad because God says so".

      This book should be moved to the Religious section.

      38 of 54 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Mark J GaboroneBotswana 05-19-09
      Mark J GaboroneBotswana 05-19-09 Member Since 2007
      HELPFUL VOTES
      56
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      "Fundamentalist claptrap"

      I want my money back on this one. What a load of peurile drivel. A great title that caught my eye and how good could it have been, had it not been hijacked to promote the authors fundamentalist Christian views. The Title certainly should have been "10 books that screwed fundamentalist thinking". The review was totally misleading.

      56 of 80 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Steven Delmar, NY, United States 09-29-08
      Steven Delmar, NY, United States 09-29-08 Member Since 2004
      HELPFUL VOTES
      46
      ratings
      REVIEWS
      25
      1
      FOLLOWERS
      FOLLOWING
      0
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      Overall
      "Hard to get past the author's misguided premise"

      Two starts because the author is clearly up on the subject matter he is writing about.

      Missing the other three because, well, I just can't get past the author's apparent assertion that one cannot be a moral person without religion. I find this somewhat amusing given some of the things done in the name of religion, but this isn't the place to go into that. Also, he's of the mind that a viewpoint cannot be valid unless it embraces some form of God as one of its major tenants.

      I agree with one of the other reviewers here - brand this clearly as religious content so that one knows what they are spending their credits on.

      46 of 66 people found this review helpful
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