12 books that changed the World

1.The Origin of Species

When Charles Darwin’s book went on sale to the trade on November 22, 1859 the stock of 1,250 copies was oversubscribed.His theory: Evolution was by natural selection, not a divine process.

The most enthusiastic response came from radical atheists, who hailed Darwin as “the greatest revolutionist in natural history of this century” but clerics were pained at his theory which entirely ruled out divine intervention and destroyed the idea that all creatures were immutably made during the seven-day Creation.

2.The FA Rule Book

In 1863, the Football Association’s First Rule Book set out a list which regulated the game in and around London, though for quite some time the provinces clubs continued to follow their local rules.The FA Rule Book forms the basis for the modern rules of the game.

1st game played under the rules: January 9, 1863 at Battersea Park in south-west London.

3.Shakespeare’s 1st Folio

The first collected edition of William Shakespeare’s plays was published in 1623.Collection: 36 plays, 18 of which were published for the first time, thus saving such works as The Tempest and Macbeth from probable extinction.
Collected by: Actor editors John Heminge and Henry Condell.

These plays were not attributed to Shakespeare until the date of publication, seven years after his death.

4.Principia Mathematica

Isaac Newton in his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published on July 5, 1687 describes the universal gravitation and, via his laws of motion, laid the groundwork for classical mechanics.Generally regarded as one of the most important works in the history of science, it also contains the Hypotheses non fingo (“I do not assert that any hypotheses are true”).

5.The Wealth of Nations

The Scottish economist Adam Smith’s groundbreaking book, published in 1776, is the first complete system of political economy by the articulator of laissez-faire capitalism. It set the foundation for modern economics.He supports the theory that the less government interferes with business, the more prosperous the nation will be.

6.Wilberforce’s speech

On May 12, 1789, the Tory MP William Wilberforce made his first speech against the slave trade.It was a speech that changed history.

Wilberforce said: “…having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know.”

Until then it was possible for people in Britain to say that they did not know the truth about slavery.

7.The King James Bible

The 1611 bible was controversial because it was a translation into the English spoken by the common people.It had a profound influence on ensuing translations and on English literature as a whole.

It is considered one of the masterpieces of early modern English literature, Works by John Bunyan, John Milton, Herman Melville, John Dryden and William Wordsworth were inspired by it.

8. Arkwright’s Patent

The patent (no 931) was granted to Richard Arkwright for his spinning maching on July 3, 1769. The machine used the drawing roller method invented by Lewis Paul in 1738.The invention of this machine revolutionised the production of yarn and led to rapid mechanisation throughout Britain.

9.Rights of a Woman

At the heart of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women, are the twin virtues of freedom of thought and devotion to family.Called the “mother for feminism” she strove to trade “soft” descriptions of women that denoted weakness, such as ” susceptibility of heart” and “delicacy of sentiment” for strength.

10.Faraday’s research

Michael Faraday’s 1855 Experimental Research in Electricity made him the leading experimental scientist of his time. He was the first to invent the dynamo, which made the generation of electricity possible, thereby paving the way for modern technology.He introduced several words that we still use today to discuss electricity: ion, electrode, cathode, and anode.

11.Married Love

In her book Married Life, Marie Stopes argued that marriage should be an equal relationship between husband and wife. The first book to suggest that women should enjoy sex as much as men.Thought fiercely opposed by doctors, the press and the Church, the book met with immediate success, selling 2,000 copies within a fortnight.

Married Love was also published in America but the courts declared the book was obscene and it was promptly banned.

12.Magna Carta

Rebellious British noblemen forced King John to sign a document which contained 63 clauses defining his feudal rights. From that moment, the king was no longer permitted to change anything without the barons’ permission.

The meaning of certain clauses is still a cause for dispute.

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