-By Janey Thornton
Books are unique. They mark one of the only times you can sit down and hear from one human being's perspective without the possibility of interruption. For this reason, they work very well for the introduction of new and possibly controversial ideas. In the light of the release of Michael Wolff's new book 'Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House', we've taken a look at some of the books throughout history that have ruffled the most feathers or impacted society in big and bold ways.
1.The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
By introducing the ideas of natural selection and competition for survival into the world, The Origin of Species altered ideas about life on earth in profound and extraordinary ways which have influenced how our society is shaped today.
2. The Communist Manifesto by Friedrich Engels & Karl Marx
When it famously announced that a spectre was haunting Europe, The Communist Manifesto made a lasting impression on those who read it. Published in 1948 by the Communist League, it is arguably one of world's most influential political documents.
3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Since its release in 1960, To Kill A Mockingbird has become a classic of modern American literature. Bringing to light issues of racial injustice that cut to the heart of American society at the time, the book was an instant success, winning the Pulitzer Prize. It is frequently cited as a factor in the success of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
4. The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
Arguably the most famous piece of writing to emerge out of either of the World Wars, Ann Frank's diary struck a chord with readers and epitomized the tragedy of the Holocaust within its pages. It was published in 1947 as The Annex: Diary Notes 14 June 1942 – 1 August 1944 and since then it has been translated into more than 60 languages.
5. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Though it was only published 32 years ago, The Handmaid's Tale brought to the foreground the idea that religious, totalitarian oppression is possible in all countries - including the United States, a country which prides itself on the concept that all of its citizens are free. Atwood's novel sparked serious academic debates on the subject of feminism and the role of women in even the most seemingly liberal and 'free' of societies.
6. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
Though not instantly popular in its time, selling only 600 copies in its first 8 years, Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams has since become a classic in the fields of psychology and philosophy. Introducing his theory of the unconscious in relation to dreaming, it is considered by many as Freud's most important book.
7. Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup
Published in 1853, Twelve Years A Slave is a memoir describing a man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American Deep South. It was released eight years before the Civil War and became a bestseller, selling over 30,000 copies. The book serves as an example of the importance of first person accounts when it comes to the recording of history.
8. Another Country by James Baldwin
Set in Greenwich Village, New York in the 1950s, Another Country introduced a number of themes to its readers which were controversial at the time. These included homosexuality, interracial couples and extramarital affairs. In many countries and American states, it was banned upon its release. It has since become known as one of the greatest American novels written in the last 100 years.
9. A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
One of the earliest works of feminist philosophy in existence, A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman was a response to many arguments in the 18th century that women did not have the right to an education. It was written in direct response to a 1791 report to the French National Assembly by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, which stated that women should only have a domestic education. It incited fierce debate and served as the inspiration for many feminist texts and arguments in the years to follow.
10. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
This moving memoir was described by Angelou's friend James Baldwin as 'a Biblical study of life in the midst of death.' Her memoir was the first by a woman of colour to delve so deeply into the personal life as opposed to the public, and it was hailed by many as an instant classic.