General Question

weeveeship's avatar

What was the single most influential book of the 20th Century?

Asked by weeveeship (4610points) September 16th, 2010

Why?

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15 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Does it have to be published in the 20th century, or just a book that was really influential during that time?

weeveeship's avatar

@papayalily Really influential during the 20th Century. The book could be published years or even centuries ago.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Communist Manifesto. Normally I’d say the Bible or Quran, but I’m not sure they had an influence on the 20th century they didn’t have in tons of other centuries. But the rise and fall of communism was certainly a huge part of the 20th century, so Communist Manifesto.

Ben_Dover's avatar

“Slaughterhouse Five,” Vonnegut or “Stranger In A Strange Land,” Heinlein.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Christian95's avatar

The Passing of the Great Race
Hitler was influenced by this book,maybe if he wouldn’t read this we wouldn’t have a World War II.I think we all agree that World War II was maybe the most influential event of the 20th century so I’d say that this book is the most influential book of the 20th century

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot. It embodied the desperatation of Western Civilization at the end of WW1, a desperation that did not find relief until during or after the sexual revolution of the 60s.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Personally im going with fight club, by Chuck Palahniuk. or Napalm and silly putty, by George Carlin. at least, most influential on me.

If we are going with influential on the general world then I would have to say the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, who knows what the world would look like if Adolf Hitler had never heard of him.

marburgresident's avatar

Personally i would say one of George Orwell’s books, either animal farm or 1984

Bagardbilla's avatar

I second @marburgresident!
The greatest expriment in the history of mankind was that of Freedom, these books prognosticated it’s demise. Future generations will look upon us as the generation which sat and played the perverbial fiddle as Rome burned.

janbb's avatar

Mein Kampf

Christian95's avatar

@janbb Mein Kampf was inspired by The Passing of the Great Race

Mamradpivo's avatar

I’m with @janbb on “Mein Kampf,” regardless of whether it was derivative. It was pretty wildly influential.

Also, the Little Red Book of Chairman Mao was pretty huge in a lot of the world in the last century.

Ben_Dover's avatar

Then we shouldn’t leave out that little blue book, The Communist Manifesto by Marx.

absalom's avatar

It would be James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) for the first half of the 20th century and probably George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four for the latter half (1949).

This is if you’re talking about fiction. And I would argue anyway that, in the 20th century, fiction had a more widely reaching influence that other important texts occurring in philosophy or politics.

One could argue for political texts, but the only one I can even imagine would be The Communist Manifesto, which wasn’t even written in the 20th century. Mein Kampf was domestically popular but hardly influential.

In philosophy it was Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (1953), although it’s hard to separate that text from his earlier Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921).

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