Saturday, June 04, 2005

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

I'm proud to say I routinely teach one of these books, and also a few on the "honorable mention" (funny concept) list. I also routinely teach at least one book on the same folks' list of ten books every student should read in college, so I may be an equal-opportunity offender.

I do understand that there are harmful ideas in the world, and we need to debate them. But ad hominem attacks on the authors (Engels was a "limousine leftist," Betty Friedan was "for a time even the lover of a young Communist physicist working on atomic bomb projects in Berkeley’s radiation lab with J. Robert Oppenheimer”--guilt by association, anyone?) are not effective argument. And this list frankly just seems silly, though I do wonder whether any of my students will complain about having to read books that appear on it. Or whether their parents will.


Becca said...

Is it Marx, Nietzsche, or Friedan?!

Libby said...

It's the Manifesto, Becca--right up there at number one! (We do teach Nietzsche in the same class, but it's the Genealogy of Morals rather than Beyond Good & Evil).

Eileen Flanagan said...

Thanks for showing me this list. I also teach at a university and believe these are precisely the kinds of books my students should read, understand, and debate.

By the way, I found your blog when I discovered that you linked to mine at
Thanks. I look forward to reading more here.

Libby said...

Hi, Eileen--I found you linked from Miriam Peskowitz, whose book I just recently read (and reviewed for Literary Mama). Nice to "meet" you!