The most destructive books ever written

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Fidel

Freddy von Hayek's Road to Serfdom. And any and all Satanic verses by his ideological father figure Bernie Mandeville.

kathleen

George Victor wrote:

Ayn Rand.   Is it pronounced Ann or A-in?  Attempted to re-read Atlas Shrugged last year to try to understand what I looked at as a teenager, and could not do it. Would like to describe my feelings to friends, but want pronunciation first, if I'm going to come on all high-minded.  :)

A-in - as in annal.

stellersjay stellersjay's picture

Ayn = Ine, as in pine. This is according to the recent biography, which drew on interviews with many who knew her. There's an interesting review at New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/60120/

al-Qa'bong

Never mind how to pronounce "Ayn," since her name was Alisa Rosenbaum anyway.

 

Capitalism's martyred hero

 

Quote:
The woman behind these right-wing myths was exceedingly odd. She had "a glare that could wilt a cactus" according to a writer in Time, and wore a broach in the shape of a dollar sign. She was even odder to live with. Ms Burns points out that she obliged her long-suffering husband to wear a bell attached to his shoe so that she could hear him come and go. She all but obliged her leading acolyte, Nathaniel Branden, to meet her for sex twice a week, informing both her husband and Mrs Branden that the arrangement was rational.

 

Yeeiikes.

DNA

Twilight

paiger

DNA wrote:

Twilight

agreed, 100 per cent.

skdadl

stellersjay wrote:

Ayn = Ine, as in pine. This is according to the recent biography, which drew on interviews with many who knew her. There's an interesting review at New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/60120/

 

I believe that's right. I'm sure I heard William F. Buckley Jr pronounce it Ine, and he would have known. You could always call up Kim Campbell, though.

 

About Rousseau: don't go dissin' my Rousseau, great defender of freedom of conscience, important influence on civil-liberties-think. So ok, he was also a bit of a crank -- how many cranks does that make in this thread? He was by nature a hermit, kind of contentious personally. Ok: very contentious. He was also a hunk -- people fell in love with him, but then there would be squabbles. I love him, but he is not an easy read. In the Confessions, there are sentences so long and subtle that you have to parse before you grasp them.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek  would be on my top three list.

al-Qa'bong

I believe the most destructive book ever written is Guy Débord's Mémoires, which had a sandpaper dust-jacket that would destroy whatever books were shelved beside it.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Nice one, al-Q!

I have to add every single book written by James Fenimore Cooper. May his name live in ignominy.

ennir

The Art of War by Machiavelli, although I am inclined to agree that books themselves are not responsible for the harm that is done.  I would say it is the intent, the malicious spirit of the writer that finds a home in the readers of the book that is the problem.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Machiavelli wrote The Prince.  Sun Tzu wrote the Art of War.

I actually quite like both of them.

remind remind's picture

Me too, especially The Prince.... but hated Hobbes' Leviathan, which I believe is a corrosive work.

p-sto

I prefered the Art of War to the Prince.  More poetic, less bitter, overall seemed to say more that was applicable to the average reader.  However, both were interesting.

nicky

Not sure about Fennimore Cooper but any destructive capacity his books may have had was surely destroyed itself by Mark Twain's delicious" The Literary Crimes of Fennimore Cooper"

remind remind's picture

Funny, I thought biting but not bitter, in respect to The Prince, p-sto.

 

p-sto

The elements of misanthropy that appear in sections of the text leave me feeling that the author has not had the best of experiences with others.  Then again perhaps my reading of the Prince is coloured by a number of cursory biographies that suggest that Machiavelli not in the best times when he wrote the Prince.

remind remind's picture

perhaps, have never read any biographies in respect to Machiavelli myself, and try to stay away from all, as a matter of fact.

 

....made an exception for Bhutto's though.

Stargazer

The Bible.

Twilight. (claps)

p-sto

As I alluded I've never read anything detailed about him.  But I have read a handful of short summaries that state that he was exiled at the time he wrote the book.  All seem to suggest that he was bitter at the time and also that he was attempting to regain the favour of his former master.  Then again whose to say how much of this is insight and how much of it is just parroting popular opinions with little research, as it seems that I have done in my previous statements.

Eta: I might also add that it's been a while since I've read either the Prince or anything about it or its author, so it's also quite possible that my memory is somewhat distorted on the subject.  Notwithstanding, I still prefer the Art of War.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Hm, I see I'm mistaken.  I was more familiar with his political philosophy work.  Here's a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War_(Machiavelli)

I shall have to look it up.

ennir

Timebandit wrote:

Hm, I see I'm mistaken.  I was more familiar with his political philosophy work.  Here's a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War_(Machiavelli)

I shall have to look it up.

Please excuse the thread drift but Timebandit I think this is hilarious and completely typical of your responses to my posts, as in you assume I am wrong and you do no research to check the facts.  I must thank you for providing me with such a clear understanding of your character, particularly your inability to offer a simple apology, I suppose I must be grateful that you at least admitted you had made a mistake.  LOL

ennir

Timebandit wrote:

Machiavelli wrote The Prince.  Sun Tzu wrote the Art of War.

I actually quite like both of them.

Actually Machiavelli also wrote a book called The Art of War.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Uh...  You're welcome?

I have no problem admitting error when there's evidence of it.

I'm not sure that other discussions where no concrete evidence supports your claims and my failure to affirm your conclusions have anything to do with this discussion.  If you want to have a meta-discussion about previous discussions, go create a thread for it.  Maybe I'll respond, maybe I won't.

j.m.

The Lonely Planet Guides.

They mobilize North Americans and Europeans across the globe so that they can relive the experience of colonial explorers.

500_Apples

bagkitty wrote:

Catchfire: you are so wrong, it is The Edible Woman that is responsible for that. Wink

Yeah, I tried to read that book, really did. I was turned by the main character, she had a revolting personality imo. I never made it past page 30.

500_Apples

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Well, certainly many took the ideas from the Communist manifesto and their interpretations led them to rack up some pretty serious carnage throughout the last century to the tune of around 100 million murders.

These morons don't even get that the communist manifesto is just a pamphlet. You get Marx's real views in Capital. For them to criticize that book there would have to be one conservative somewhere willing to approach that dense text.

500_Apples

stellersjay wrote:

I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged when I was about 18 and said “Ick!”. I like to refer to her more rabid fans as Randroids. Haven't had time to look too closely, but The Floating Head of Ayn Rand looks fun. Thanks, kathleen.

I think the fountainhead is pretty good actually.

Trevormkidd

500_Apples wrote:
These morons don't even get that the communist manifesto is just a pamphlet. You get Marx's real views in Capital. For them to criticize that book there would have to be one conservative somewhere willing to approach that dense text.

Well I couldn't read Das Kapital.  In fact for a while I used it as a sleep aid, before losing track of it during a move. 

500_Apples

Trevormkidd wrote:

500_Apples wrote:
These morons don't even get that the communist manifesto is just a pamphlet. You get Marx's real views in Capital. For them to criticize that book there would have to be one conservative somewhere willing to approach that dense text.

Well I couldn't read Das Kapital.  In fact for a while I used it as a sleep aid, before losing track of it during a move. 

Oh I couldn't read it either, I found volume 1 too obnoxious with all his opinionated interjections and dronelike repetitions. Just make your point please.

Whether or not a conservative can read it is irrelevent, I was joking that none of them have :P

They could compensate by better understanding the manifesto. Often, the platform of 10 points will be quoted to show that America is already a communist society. Actually, I think we've only met 1.5/10 points.

Papal Bull

Clausewitz's "On War", lots of John Keegan's stuff.

 

Oh and Dungeons and Dragons: 1st Edition through 3rd. I guess 3.5 and Fourth aren't too evil. The new rule sets simplify things from evil to neutral.

clandestiny

alan bloom's 'closing of the american mind'. it's mainly unreadable; unless one goes along with the bullyboy's thesis. It's stunning to see the ignorance, and bloom was known as a very bright guy. Soul Bellows based his 'Ravelstein' on babloom. (Item: The stooge played his classical music earthquaking loud at 3am, then snorted in contempt of neighbors' complaints!) The 'bell curve'  IQ and race promoting book should also be mentioned. The thesis in both above mentioned doorstoppers exude intentional stupidity- those goofs surely knew better, yet still pushed the snake oil. What is it about poverty=demoralization that the reactionaries don't understand?

George Victor

500_Apples wrote:

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Well, certainly many took the ideas from the Communist manifesto and their interpretations led them to rack up some pretty serious carnage throughout the last century to the tune of around 100 million murders.

These morons don't even get that the communist manifesto is just a pamphlet. You get Marx's real views in Capital. For them to criticize that book there would have to be one conservative somewhere willing to approach that dense text.

The Communist Manifesto is not "just a pamphlet", but unfortunately we cannot find a similarly abbreviated take on Wealth of Nations to which we can attribute the murders carried out (by illness, starvation, slavery,as well as weaponry) in the "third world of empire and colonial exploitation in the name of "democracy" and "freedom", and "the white man's burden"...etc ad infinitum.

skdadl

When I was younger and sometimes very overgeneralizingly angry at Men,* I decided that Ernest Hemingway was the most destructive writer of the C20 because he had such a profound impact on the way that several generations of presumptuous male writers after him thought of both their writing and their lives. The first time I read The Sun Also Rises, I had started it in the evening and ended up staying up all night to finish, and then I called a good woman friend in the morning and begged her to help me because I felt I was going mad. I just kept thinking: that is what they think of women; that is what they want of women; they want women to be ... men! (Never doubt it: Lady Brett is a guy.) I just felt devastated, hopeless, defeated before I started.

 

Later on, I loosened up a bit. But Hemingway was a tyranny for a long time in North American writing. Even if people were bothered by his life, they hung on for a long time to that stripped-down prose, which in itself conveys a philosophy of life. I do think that Sun Also Rises is a great work of art, the gemmiest of his gems, and he wrote several. But it reminds me of how disappointed I was by men of my cohort (and older) when I was young.

 

* humour alert

B9sus4 B9sus4's picture

Interesting discussion. I was a compulsive reader, an autodidact, from an early age. Had thousands of books (and yes, I did read Marx.. all three volumes of Capital, and most everything else (in English as my German was never good) he wrote that was available to me) BUT the only books I can ever recall being stolen from me were the Hitler gibberish and some nonsense by de Sade.

In  fact, I can vaguely recall having a party and noticing a creepy sort of character (two actually, different events) mysteriously fingering the book in a weird way. It occurred to me back then (psychology/sociology undergrad) that psychopaths don't care much about books but there's a class of person I see as psychopath-wannabees that are always looking for justification for their compulsions. Of course if they asked to borrow the damn book I probably would have said, sure just bring it back. Everyone lends books. But they had to steal them, I think, because they were ashamed to be revealing an unhealthy interest.

I suspect the success of Rosenbaum/Rand is due to this interest by the psychopath-wannabees. Even now, if you want to get into a argument in certain places just say bad things about "Libertarianism".. ie., Randism/Friedmanism/Austrianism.. (Synarchism, actually).. and you will get a ferocious response.. much like offending a religious kook. Maybe even around here, I don't know. Are there any fans of that psychopathic tweeker bitch around here? 

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