“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses erected in the sea of time.”
~ Barbara W. Tuchman
Books not only carry a civilization – they alter a civilization. Take a look at how Uncle Tom’s Cabin altered a civilization. In fact, it may be safe to say that few other novels have altered a civilization as much.
Henry James said that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was “much less a book than a state of vision, of feeling and of consciousness.” The book sent a strong message about the wrongs of slavery. It was certainly shocking for it’s day. It was controversial, and it helped change the course of a the United States. However, it didn’t stop there.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped to alter views throughout the world. The book sold 300,000 copies in the first year, and has never gone out of print. The book eventually became the best-selling novel in the world during the 19th century. In fact, it was translated into thirty-seven different languages.
Of course, every major religious book has altered civilizations ~ the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, Bhagavad Gita, the Tipitaka.
Ayn Rand’s books have changed the views of many, and helped alter civilization as well. Her book Atlas Shrugged gained vast popularity based solely on word of mouth. People enjoy Ayn’s books for the inspiration they find within her pages. Any Rand’s books put forth her philosophy. She said,
“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. 
I’d love to hear what books you’ve read that have either altered a civilization, has the power to alter a civilization, or you wish everyone would read so that it could alter a civilization.
What do you think?
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Posted on Posted on February 3, 2009 under the following category: Book Commentary
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