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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

  • What Members Say

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    3.6 (227 )
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    3.8 (66 )
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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 124 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Kristie Mount AnnanAustralia 04-24-09
      Kristie Mount AnnanAustralia 04-24-09 Member Since 2015
      HELPFUL VOTES
      66
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      4
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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 92 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Steve Delmar, NY USA 09-29-08
      Steve Delmar, NY USA 09-29-08 Member Since 2013
      HELPFUL VOTES
      87
      ratings
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      384
      23
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      1
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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.

      37 of 53 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Colin Manly, NSW, Australia 10-05-08
      Colin Manly, NSW, Australia 10-05-08 Member Since 2014

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

      HELPFUL VOTES
      123
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      248
      27
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      4
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      Overall
      "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 58 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Paul DPO, AE, USA 01-02-09
      Paul DPO, AE, USA 01-02-09 Member Since 2015
      HELPFUL VOTES
      46
      ratings
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      3
      1
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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 67 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Steven Delmar, NY, United States 09-29-08
      Steven Delmar, NY, United States 09-29-08 Member Since 2013
      HELPFUL VOTES
      46
      ratings
      REVIEWS
      25
      1
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      FOLLOWING
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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 67 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Mark J GaboroneBotswana 05-19-09
      Mark J GaboroneBotswana 05-19-09 Member Since 2007
      HELPFUL VOTES
      56
      ratings
      REVIEWS
      184
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      Overall
      "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 82 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Dan Aurora, Ontario, Canada 10-16-08
      Dan Aurora, Ontario, Canada 10-16-08 Member Since 2014
      HELPFUL VOTES
      39
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      Overall
      "Misleading in the extreme"

      This audiobook's title promised so much. What it did not make clear, however, is that the book is nothing more than a lengthy sermon by an angry religious zealot. It should have been called "10 Books That I Hate Because They Offend My Medieval Christian Worldview." Unless you think Hitler and Darwin belong on the same list, don't waste your time with this terrible book.

      39 of 57 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Amazon Customer 11-13-08 Member Since 2012
      HELPFUL VOTES
      47
      ratings
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      3
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      Overall
      "Trite"

      I like to read thoughtful books with which I disagree. I picked this up expecting a sharp but intellectual critique of modern thought; instead I got the ramblings of a semi-defeated Culture Warrior. It would've been useful for me to know that the author is a fellow at the Discovery Institute, a creationist "think" tank. Do with that information what you will. Not to be overly unkind, but this is an extremely trite book. It reads a bit like an old man bemoaning the "kids these days", except in this case the "old man" is pre-Enlightenment Religiosity and the "kids" are all of modernity. If you want to read an interesting religious examination of the tension between human capacity self-transcendence and our inescapable mortal limitations, pick up some Reinhold Niebuhr. If you are depressed that the Religious Right didn't carry the day on Nov 4th and are looking for some comfort reading, then this is the book for you.

      45 of 66 people found this review helpful
    •  
      James Wimberley, TX, USA 10-12-08
      James Wimberley, TX, USA 10-12-08 Member Since 2014
      HELPFUL VOTES
      31
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      4
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      Overall
      "False colors"

      The concept of this book was enticing. It sounded like an intellectual disection of some of the most toxic ideas ever introduced into human culture. I didn't get far before realizing it is a tract on the falsity of all moral systems that do not derive directly from religious belief. A toxic idea if ever there was one.

      28 of 41 people found this review helpful

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