The Prince (Italian: Il Principe) is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. The descriptions within The Prince have the general theme of accepting that ends of princes, such as glory, and indeed survival, can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends.
Noli Me Tangere (Latin for Touch Me Not) is a novel by the National Hero of the Philippines, Dr. José Rizal. It was originally written in Spanish, and first published in Germany in 1887. Noli Me Tangere exposed the corruption and abuse of the Spanish government and clergy towards the Philippine people and the ills of the Philippine society. This novel, and its sequel El Filibusterismo were banned in many parts of the Islands. Rizal was later arrested for inciting rebellion, based largely on his writings, and was excuted in Manila. Noli Me Tangere, and the execution of Rizal, indirectly influenced the Philippine revolution from Spain. Today, Noli Me Tangere is required reading in all Philippine Schools.
More, Thomas, Sir
This book is all about the fictional country called Utopia. It is a country with an ‘ideal’ form of communism, in which everything really does belong to everybody, everyone does the work they want to, and everyone is alright with that. This country uses gold for chamber pots and prison chains, pearls and diamonds for children’s playthings, and requires that a man and a woman see each other exactly as they are, naked, before getting married. This book gave the word 'utopia' the meaning of a perfect society, while the Greek word actually means ‘no place’. Enjoy listening to this story about a country that really is too good to be true.
Tocqueville, Alexis de
When Tocqueville visited America in the 1830s he found a thriving democracy of a kind he had not seen anywhere else. Many of his insightful observations American society and political system, found in the two volume book he published after his visit, still remain surprisingly relevant today. (Summary by the Bookworm)
Clausewitz, Carl von
A classic work on military strategy by a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars. The author's style is dialectical: he makes two strong but opposing statements and then draws them together to describe many facets of war. Free of technical jargon, and suitable for modern readers. This audiobook is based on a 1909 English translation.
The Art of War is a Chinese military treatise written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu. Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it has long been praised as the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time.
This is Engels' first book (since considered a classic account of England's working class in the industrial age), which argues that workers paid a heavy price for the industrial revolution that swept the country. Engels wrote the piece while staying in Manchester from 1842 to 1844, based on th bohis observations and several contemporary reports conducted over the period. (Summary by Cathy Barratt)
Thoreau, Henry David
ivil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.
Washington, Booker T.
Up From Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his slow and steady rise from a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an education at the new Hampton University, to his work establishing vocational schools—most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama—to help black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills and work to pull themselves, as a race, up by the bootstraps. He reflects on the generosity of both teachers and philanthropists who helped in educating blacks and native Americans. He describes his efforts to instill manners, breeding, health and a feeling of dignity to students. (Summary from Wikipedia)
Inheritors, (1921) by American dramatist Susan Glaspell concerns the legacy of an idealistic farmer who wills his highly coveted midwest farmland to the establishment of a college (Act I.) Forty years later, when his granddaughter stands up for the rights of Hindu nationals to protest at the college her grandfather founded, she jeopardizes funding for the college itself and sets herself against her own uncle, president of the institution's trustees (Acts II and III.) Ultimately, she defies her family's wishes, and as a consequence is bound for prison herself (Act IV.) The play was a stirring defense of free speech and an individual's ability to stand for his or her own ideal during a time of aggressive anti-Communist politics in the US. Inheritors was first performed at Provincetown Playhouse in 1922, the last of Glaspell's plays presented there. It has been revived in New York City by Mirror Repertory in 1983 and Metropolitan Playhouse in 2005. (Summary by Wikipedia)
Originally published in 1873, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today is the only novel Twain co-wrote (C.D. Warner was a good friend and neighbor of the Clemens family in Hartford, and the collaboration sprang from their wive's challenge and encouragement). The title, "The Gilded Age" became synonymous with graft, materialism and corruption in public life, which are well represented in this work. Like others of his works, this one reflects truths about American Society that remain pertinent today. Many of the characters and incidents that occur in the Gilded Age had their real-life origins in Clemens relatives and history, a fact which he revealed in his newly published (2011) Autobiography.
In 1623, Francis Bacon expressed his aspirations and ideas in New Atlantis. Released in 1627, this was his creation of an ideal land where people were kind, knowledgeable, and civic-minded. Part of this new land was his perfect college, a vision for our modern research universities. Islands he had visited may have served as models for his ideas. ( Summary by Wikipedia )
A prose tract or polemic by John Milton, published November 23, 1644, at the height of the English Civil War... Milton, though a supporter of the Parliament, argued forcefully against the Licensing Order of 1643, noting that such censorship had never been a part of classical Greek and Roman society. The tract is full of biblical and classical references which Milton uses to strengthen his argument. The issue was personal for Milton as he had suffered censorship himself in his efforts to publish several tracts defending divorce (a radical stance at the time and one which met with no favor from the censors)... Areopagitica is among history's most influential and impassioned philosophical defences of the principle of a right to free speech. (Summary by Wikipedia)
A dystopian novel about the terrible oppressions of an American oligarchy at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, and the struggles of a socialist revolutionary movement. (Introduction by Matt Soar)
Also known simply as "1601", this is a humorously risque work by Mark Twain, first published anonymously in 1880, and finally acknowledged by the author in 1906.
“(T)he past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.”
Published originally as “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” this is not so much a work of sober political analysis; rather it can be summed up as a rhapsodic manifesto on behalf of the Individual. Socialism having deployed technology to liberate the whole of humanity from soul-destroying labour, the State obligingly withers away to allow the free development of a joyful, anarchic hedonism...
“Is this Utopian? A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.”
Far from abandoning the epigram in favour of the slogan, Wilde wittily assails several of his favourite targets: the misguided purveyors of philanthropy; life-denying ascetics of various kinds; the army of the half-educated who constitute themselves the enemies of Art - and those venal popular journalists who cater to them...
“Behind the barricade there may be much that is noble and heroic. But what is there behind the leading-article but prejudice, stupidity, cant, and twaddle?” (Introduction by Martin Geeson)
In this work, Kropotkin points out what he considers to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism, and how he believes they create poverty and scarcity while promoting privilege. He goes on to propose a more decentralised economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organisation already exist, both in evolution and in human society. (Summary by Wikipedia)
The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, and were ratified on December 15, 1791.
Common Sense, Paine's pro-independence monograph published anonymously on 10 January 1776, spread quickly among literate colonists. Within three months, 120,000 copies are alleged to have been distributed throughout the colonies, which themselves totaled only four million free inhabitants, making it the best-selling work in 18th-century America. Its total sales in both America and Europe reached 500,000 copies. It convinced many colonists, including George Washington and John Adams, to seek redress in political independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and argued strongly against any compromise short of independence.
Shaw, George Bernard
George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara focuses on the family of aristocratic Lady Britomart Undershaft and her estranged husband Andrew, a millionaire armaments manufacturer. Their daughters Sarah and Barbara are both engaged to be married, and Lady Britomart decides to ask Andrew for monetary support. Barbara is a Major in the Salvation Army, and agrees to let her father visit the mission in the East End of London where she works. In exchange, she agrees to visit his munitions factory. The conflict between Barbara's philanthropic idealism and her father's hard-headed capitalism clash when he decides he wants to fund the Salvation Army. Shaw's comedy, as always, delves into political and social issues of the period, and provides a roster of finely- and humorously-drawn characters. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)
Wells, H. G.
H. G. Wells's proposal for social reform was the formation of a world state, a concept that would increasingly preoccupy him throughout the remainder of his life. One of his most ambitious early attempts at portraying a world state was A Modern Utopia (1905). A Modern Utopia was intended as a hybrid between fiction and 'philosophical discussion'. Like most utopists, he has indicated a series of modifications which in his opinion would increase the aggregate of human happiness. Basically, Wells' idea of a perfect world would be if everyone were able to live a happy life. This book is written with an intimate knowledge of former ideal commonwealths and is a conscious attempt to describe a utopia that is not utopian. (Summary by Wikipedia)
Bede, The Venerable
Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England is a work in Latin by Bede on the history of the Christian Churches in England, and of England generally; its main focus is on the conflict between Roman and Celtic Christianity. It is considered to be one of the most important original references on Anglo-Saxon history. It is believed to have been completed in 731, when Bede was approximately 59 years old. Divided into five books, it covers the history of England, ecclesiastical and political, from the time of Julius Caesar to the date of its completion (731).
The History of the English Church and People has a clear polemical and didactic purpose. Bede sets out, not just to tell the story of the English, but to advance his views on politics and religion. In political terms he is a partisan of his native Northumbria, amplifying its role in English history over and above that of Mercia, its great southern rival. While Bede is loyal to Northumbria, he shows an even greater attachment to the Irish and the Irish Celtic missionaries, whom he considers to be far more effective and dedicated than their rather complacent English counterparts. His final preoccupation is over the precise date of Easter, which he writes about at length. It is here, and only here, that he ventures some criticism of St Cuthbert and the Irish missionaries, who celebrated the event, according to Bede, at the wrong time. In the end he is pleased to note that the Irish Church was saved from error by accepting the correct date for Easter. (Summary modified from Wikipedia)
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.