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10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   260
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 15, 2008
Publisher   Regnery Publishing
ISBN  1596980559  
EAN  9781596980556  

Availability  24 units.
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Item Description...
Presents interpretations of fifteen pivotal works of Western culture and argues that the unmerited influence of such authors as Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Betty Friedan has had a detrimental effect on the values of modern life.

Publishers Description
You've heard of the "Great Books"?
These are their evil opposites. From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's The 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 his scintillating new book, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World (And 5 Others That Didn't Help), he seizes each of these evil books by its malignant heart and exposes it to the light of day. In this witty, learned, and provocative expose, 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' Discourse on Method "proved" God's existence only by making Him a creation of our own ego
* How Hobbes' 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 The 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.

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More About Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D.

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr. Benjamin Wiker took his undergraduate degree in Political Philosophy from Furman University and holds a Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from Vanderbilt University. He is the author of nine books, including 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn t Help (Regnery Publishing, 2008). He is co-author with Scott Hahn of Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins Case Against God (Emmaus Road, 2008) and co-author with Jonathan Witt of A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature (IVP Academic, 2006). Professor Wiker is a Senior Fellow with Envoy Institute, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and Discovery Institute.

Benjamin Wiker was born in 1960.

Benjamin Wiker has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Herder & Herder Books

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
It must be good if it makes so many liberals angry!   Nov 3, 2008
Actually, it's also good because it's entertaining--witty, in fact--while tackling some of the horrifying theories that have been embraced by our intellectual elite.

Anyone who's ever had to endure hours of hectoring by professors on the subject of these books will be deeply thrilled to hear the other side. Yes, even today, innocent students are given "Coming of Age in Samoa" even though Mead has long been exposed as a fabulist. Her stories about Samoa had more to do with wanting to promote promiscuity than it ever did with the actual lives of Samoans.

And Marx! Great heavens, no matter how stupid the idea there is an intellectual out there idiotic enough to swallow it, hook and sinker. Marx's "Manifesto" has produced, as Wiker notes, "corpses--perhaps upwards of 100,000,000" and has clearly "failed so miserably"(p 57) that is certainly is mysterious that there are still professors who seem not to have noticed. Pol Pot and his minions killed almost every human over the age of consent in their brutal regime. Priests and nuns, innocent peasants and children were hauled off to the gulag to be starved or beaten to death in the cheerful socialist paradise of the USSR. In Spain, the communists dragged nuns out of convents, shot or raped them, and crucified priests.

But bad ideas are hardly confined to only the last, unlamented, bloody century. Who can forget Rousseau, one of the greatest pests in history? Rousseau, who didn't lived to see the thousands dragged off to be beheaded, but who whined on about how "society is not just unnatural; it's actually bad" (p 47) and wanted everyone to get back to primitive nature. Funny how he ignored the priest who returned from America with his fingers bitten off and eaten by the charming native, natural Indians the priest had tried to convert. And too bad about Rousseau's children, tossed off at orphanages to die of starvation because he couldn't be bothered by them.

This is one fierce, brilliant book. Go get it.
Exceptionally accurate, concise and erudite.   Nov 1, 2008
This is an exceptional book for a concise, intelligent, reality based analysis of the history of the West since Machiavelli. His methodology is neither Anti-Intellectual nor Dogmatic in its interpretation. Having read most of the Works of the majority of Authors analyzed except the perverse deviant Kinsey, it is clearly apparent to me that Doctor Benjamin Wiker has captured the vital core of their philosophies and desires. This incisive understanding relieves him of the need to elaborate further to capture their inherent depravity and immorality. The Left worships many of these writers but steadfastly refuse to assume responsibility for the horrendous outcomes when the ideas found in them are implemented as public policy. Those who refuse this patrimony are here commenting on the book's facile nature and use Doctor Wiker's Christian faith and worldview with approbation as if the disreputable collection of evil, murderous, lying Atheist psychopaths inspiring and inspired by these works are beyond reproach and unimpeachable .
That is the problem with the truth is usually very simple to understand and extremely difficult to embrace. I can only recommend this book with the highest acclamation as a worthy addition to your library and to clarify the nature of the entrenched evil confronting Western Christian Civilization.
really?  Oct 26, 2008
It appears that many who have reviewed this have not studied the individual works pointed out within the book. Works upon philosophy are to evaluated and thought about critically. If you are simply there to listen and be over-influenced by everything you read, I don't think you should comment on works like this. It is nice to hear that people are reading. Take an impartial approach to what you are reading. Critique it. Evaluate it. You agree/disagree with the author. Some y'all ridiculous fo sho, doe!
Often overreaching or outlandish  Sep 25, 2008
While I agree with many of the author's complaints about the baneful influences of various books, he so overdoes matters that should the book itself be taken very seriously by many, it might have comparably harmful influence. The problem is the author is as careless and shallow in his examinations as authors he writes about can be said to be.

One can start with his failing to make linguistic issues certain, like beginning German nouns with capitals, e.g. in "Übermensch" or "Kampf", the last of which is in its context closer to "fight" or "battle" than his "struggle".

Next, one can wonder why he included J.S. Mill among "Ten Big Screw-Ups" but left Rousseau among "5 Others That Didn't Help". Rousseau's pernicious influence can be likened to that of Marx and Darwin. In The Social Contract the first sentence in his first chapter states: "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." Marx picked this up in the conclusion of the Manifesto of the Communist Party: "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." Rousseau is consequently behind both the Reign of Terror and the Bolshevik revolution, whose Dialectical Materialism alongside other disasters also owes to Darwin.

J.S. Mill's philosophy is instead related to the very "pursuit of happiness" in The Declaration of Independence, and the "bill of rights" in the Constitution. These appear to comport with the introductory quote by author Wiker (p.74) of Mill, who states as desirable "an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments...", this being protected by government. But author Wiker vehemently objects, characterizing another quote (p.83), one saying "All the grand sources...of human suffering are in a great degree...conquerable by human care and effort", as "words of a dangerous madman".

Author Wiker objects (p.78) to by him found Epicurean equations "Good = Pleasure" and "Evil = Pain", calling them "moral misreasoning", saying (p.79) that accordingly "morality's foundation is not God but pleasure and pain". He speaks as a Christian, and he may well find his justification in Scripture, but of concern is how people arrange their lives in this world, lacking dependability on everyone's religious convictions. And the precepts by which an envisioned democracy functions through its laws are very similar to ones in the concerned religions; guarding against murder, theft and so forth. Author Wiker's "misreasoning" can correspondingly apply to himself.

It can notably apply to his treatment of Descartes complained about already by other reviewers here. Poor Descartes seems to take the rap from all sides lately; most of it comes from sources opposed to the author reviewed, namely from materialists, upset by Cartesian dualism of mind and matter, and insisting that all reality is of matter. Strangely, our author contrariwise complains that Descartes through his dualism himself asserts materialism. This is obviously false, and apparently author Wiker's underlying dissatisfaction is that Descartes' philosophy is not grounded in Christianity. He thus amazingly contends logical failures of one of the greatest minds in history; that it is rather our author whose logic falters is easily demonstrable.

He discusses Descartes' famous "I think, therefore I am" (Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy), saying (p.23) it "contains one of the most pernicious confusions possible, so destructive that we might very well call it the first sin. We catch the error if", leading to "René, isn't it really the other way around? In order to think, I first have to exist...". But Ben, this isn't the other way around at all; it is the same statement differently phrased. Logically the statement is "(my thinking) implies (my existence)", applying in both cases. Again, the author says (p.24) that Descartes "admits" that "in order to think, one must exist"; again the same implication differently phrased.

The author's effort here is to criticize Descartes' skepticism, quoting him by way of introduction (p.17): "I reject as absolutely false everything in which I could imagine the least doubt...". What is left out is the subsequent (p.20) "so as to see whether...anything in my set of beliefs remains that is entirely indubitable". Descartes' idea was that since so much of received knowledge is false, he'll try to see what will remain true after tentatively peeling off possible falsehoods. Our author rejects this as a "good recipe for insanity", that "we could doubt even the solidity of the ground we stand on", etc. But Descartes offers ample explanation, such as the unreality of dreams that impress us as reality. Most of all, he introduced epistemology, the important concept of how through our minds we get to know reality, a concept elaborated by the British empiricists in pointing out how perceptions can or cannot be relied on.

Author Wiker doesn't comprehend this, as by (p.23) calling it "simply ridiculous to single out thinking as the act by which I know I am existing" and saying (p.26) "reality is the appropriate test of our everyday beliefs and scientific theories". But by "thinking" Descartes meant mental activity, cognition, in general, as the door to reality, and correspondingly our author's "test" of reality depends question-beggingly on the form in which appropriate perceptions enter our mind.

The author further protests Descartes' attempts at proving God by reason, an issue also addressed by previous reviewers. He evidently holds biblical revelation more authentic; this may be his prerogative, but he is unjustified in criticizing other ways as failing logically, in the like absence of demonstration of the truth of a religious belief.

Although I sympathize with the author's sentiments in general, his excessive or unwarranted attacks of some of the authors he deals with makes his stories less than persuasive.
Might be ideal for book group discussions  Sep 17, 2008
The author, Benjamin Wiker, isolates four books that he calls "Preliminary Screw Ups." These are The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli written in 1513, Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes in 1637, Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes in 1651 and Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1755. In his belief, these books had substantial influence on later writers, and in effect, perpetrated a spread of the "deadly diseases" of the ideas by the written word of these authors/philosophers.

In total, there are actually fifteen books that he feels the world would have been better without, the first four wielding the most influence and the rest taking those ideas and expanding upon them and spreading them "like viruses." Dr. Wiker advises the reader to read these books well and form an understanding of the ideas put forth, thereby exposing their "malignancy."

Do not expect this book to be a quick and easy read. Selecting passages from the original texts to support his point, Dr Wiker's writing, at times, is as difficult to comprehend as the original text in question. There was one book however that Dr Wiker was denied permission to use quotes - Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred Kinsey in 1948. There are copious footnotes referencing the texts of all the books addressed, including that of Alfred Kinsey, and there is also an inclusive index.

Dr Wiker also enlightens us about the personal lives of several of the authors as an explanation for their ideas and philosophies. There does not seem to be any footnotes or references to verify this information.

The last chapter entitled, "A Conclusive Outline of Sanity," is a fairly concise summation of Dr Wiker's own beliefs and ideas concerning the effects of the books in question upon the world.

This book, 10 Books that Screwed up the World is a Book of the Month Club selection by the Conservative Book Club and would cause a very interesting and lively discussion for a reading group.

Dr Wiker has a PhD in theological ethics from Vanderbilt University, has taught at several leading universities and authored other books.

Armchair Interviews says: Very thought-provoking read.

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