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The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the War

Source: Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 49, No. 8 (May, 1996),
pp. 12-18
Published by: American Academy of Arts & Sciences
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The Hundred Most Influential

Books Since the War

The following item originally appeared in th

Times Literary Supplement (6 October 199

Seventy of the books listed were written by sixty-o

authors-some living, some deceased-who are or

were members of the Academy.

Most people enjoy making lists. But who

would produce a list of "a hundred book

which have influenced Western public di

course since the Second World War"? A brief

explanation is called for.

In 1986, a diverse group of writers and

scholars came together to try to assist inde

pendent East European writers and publish-

ers both at home and in exile. The Chairman

was Lord Dahrendorf, Warden of St. Anto-

ny's College, Oxford. Other members were

the French historian Francois Furet; Raymond Georis, Director of the European Cultural Foundation, Amsterdam; Laurens van

Krevelen of the Dutch publishing house Meulenhoff; the Swedish writer Per Wastberg, at

the time President of International PEN; the

European correspondent of the New Yorker,

Jane Kramer; and the historian and commentator Timothy Garton Ash. It was envisaged
that support would take two forms: first, to
ensure publication in the original languages,
and second, to encourage more translations.
One of the basic tenets of this initiative,

which came to be known as the Central and

East European Publishing Project (CEEP

was that the geopolitical division of Euro

the Iron Curtain was then still very muc

reality-had interrupted the normal an

healthy flow not just of people but als

books and ideas. Its aim, in the words of Ral

Dahrendorf, was to foster a "common mark

of the mind" throughout the whole of

rope. After 1989, CEEPP was able to expa

Reprinted by permission. List of books ? 1995 by

Central European Classics Trust (St. Antony's Coll
Oxford) series, published by the Central European

versity Press (Budapest).


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its activities and organize workshops and inhouse training for those involved in publishing, but its main concern remained to facilitate the publication of worthwhile books and


At Trustees' meetings, titles submitted by

publishers for consideration were scrutinized
for their quality and relevance. Not surprisingly, there were, among the Orwells, Pop-

pers, and Hannah Arendts, some very odd

works, and also some strange omissions. Inspired and provoked by the perusal of these
lists over the years, the Trustees decided that
in their final year of activity (the Project dis-

banded at the end of 1994) they would respond to the challenge of producing, as a jeu
d'esprit, a consciously arbitrary list of the 100

books which have been most influential in

the West since 1945. (This list is included in

the book Freedom for Publishing, Publishing fo

Freedom: The Central and East European Publish

ing Project, edited by Timothy Garton Ash

201pp. Budapest: Central European Unive

sity Press, 1995.)

An initial list was put together by a smal

panel consisting of Robert Cassen, Dahre

dorf, Garton Ash, Michael Ignatieff, Lesze
Kolakowski, and Bryan Magee. It was the
revised, following an extensive discussion a
the last meeting of CEEPP Trustees. Works
fiction were included only when they had
wider impact. Titles are grouped in decades
by the date of their first appearance. In al
cases, the English title is mentioned first an
the original title in parentheses. Within de
cades the order is alphabetical.
Certain seminal works which were pub
lished before the Second World War, but
which have had a major influence since the
war, were set aside. That list would certainly


Karl Barth: Credo

Marc Bloch: Feudal Society (La Societe feodale)

Martin Buber: I and Thou (Ich und Du)
Norbert Elias: The Civilizing Process (Uber
den Prozess der Zivilisation)

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Sigmund Freud: Civilization and Its Dis-

contents (Das Unbehagen in der Kultur)

Elie Halevy: The Era of Tyrannies: Essays on
Socialism and War (L'Ere des tyrannies:
Etudes sur le socialisme et la guerre)

Martin Heidegger: Being and Time (Sein

und Zeit)
Johan Huizinga: The Waning of the Middle
Ages (Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen)
Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
Franz Kafka: The Castle (Das Schloss)
John Maynard Keynes: The Economic Consequences of the Peace
John Maynard Keynes: The General Theory of
Employment, Interest, and Money

Lewis Namier: The Structure of Politics at the

Accession of George III
Jose Ortega y Gasset: The Revolt of the Masses

(La Rebelion de las masas)

Karl Popper: The Logic of Scientific Discovery

(Logik der Forschung)

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Tractatus logicophilo-

sophicus (Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung)

The final list follows:

Books of the 1940s

1. Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex (Le

Deuxieme Sexe)
2. Marc Bloch: The Historian's Craft (Apologie pour l'historie; ou, Metier d'historien)

3. Fernand Braudel: The Mediterranean and

the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip

II (La Mediterranee et le monde medi-

terraneen a l'epoque de Philippe II)

4. James Burnham: The Managerial Revolution

5. Albert Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus (Le

Mythe de Sisyphe)
6. Albert Camus: The Outsider (L'Etranger)
7. R. G. Collingwood: The Idea of History
8. Erich Fromm: The Fear of Freedom (Die
Furcht vor der Freiheit)
9. Max Horkheimer and Theodor W.

Adorno: Dialectic of Enlightenme

lektik der Aufklirung)

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10. Karl Jaspers: The Perennial Scope of Philos-

ophy (Der philosophische Glaube)

11. Arthur Koestler: Darkness at Noon

12. Andre Malraux: Man's Fate (La Condition humaine)

13. Franz Neumann: Behemoth: The Structure

and Practice of National Socialism

14. George Orwell: Animal Farm

15. George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four

16. Karl Polanyi: The Great Transformation
17. Karl Popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies

18. Paul Samuelson: Economics: An Introduc-

tory Analysis

19. Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialism and Hu-

manism (L'Existentialisme est un humanisme)

20. Joseph Schumpeter: Capitalism, Socialism,
and Democracy
21. Martin Wight: Power Politics
Books of the 1950s

22. Hannah Arendt: The Origins of Totalita


23. Raymond Aron: The Opium of the Intellec-

tuals (L'Opium des intellectuels)

24. Kenneth Arrow: Social Choice and Individual Values

25. Roland Barthes: Mythologies

26. Winston Churchill: The Second World War

27. Norman Cohn: The Pursuit of the Millennium

28. Milovan Djilas: The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System

29. Mircea Eliade: Images and Symbols (Images

et symboles)
30. Erik Erikson: Young Man Luther: A Study
in Psychoanalysis and History

31. Lucien Febvre: The Struggle for History

(Combat pour l'histoire)
32. John Kenneth Galbraith: The Affluent

33. Erving Goffman: The Presentation of Self

in Everyday Life
34. Arthur Koestler and Richard Crossman

(eds.): The God That Failed: Six Studies in


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35. Primo Levi: If This Is a Man (Se questo e

un uomo)

36. Claude Levi-Strauss: A World on the Wane

(Tristes tropiques)

37. Czeslaw Milosz: The Captive Mind

(Zniewolony umysl)
38. Boris Pasternak: Doctor Zhivago
39. David Riesman: The Lonely Crowd

40. Herbert Simon: Models of Man, Social

and Rational

41. C. P. Snow: The Two Cultures and the

Scientific Revolution

42. Leo Strauss: Natural Right and History

43. J. L. Talmon: The Origins of Totalitar

44. A. J. P. Taylor: The Struggle for Mastery

45. Arnold Toynbee: A Study of History
46. Karl Wittfogel: Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power

47. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations (Philosophische Untersuchun-


Books of the 1960s

48. Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem:

A Report on the Banality of Evil

49. Daniel Bell: The End of Ideology

50. Isaiah Berlin: Four Essays on Liberty

51. Albert Camus: Notebooks 1935-1951 (Carnets)

52. Elias Canetti: Crowds and Power (Masse

und Macht)
53. Robert Dahl: Who Governs? Democracy
and Power in an American City

54. Mary Douglas: Purity and Danger

55. Erik Erikson: Gandhi's Truth: On the Or-

igins of Militant Nonviolence

56. Michel Foucault: Madness and Civiliza-

tion: A History of Insanity in the Age of

Reason (Histoire de la folie a l'age clas-


57. Milton Friedman: Capitalism and Freedom

58. Alexander Gerschenkron: Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective

59. Antonio Gramsci: Prison Notebooks

(Quaderni del carcere)


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60. H. L. A. Hart: The Concept of Law

61. Friedrich von Hayek: The Constitution of
Liberty (Die Verfassung der Freiheit)
62. Jane Jacobs: The Death and Life of Great
American Cities

63. Carl GustavJung: Memories, Dreams, Re-

flections (Erinnerungen, Traume, Gedanken)

64. Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific


65. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie: The Peasants

of Languedoc (Les Paysans de Languedoc)

66. Claude Levi-Strauss: The Savage Mind
(Le Pensee sauvage)
67. Konrad Lorenz: On Aggression (Das sogenannte Bose)
68. Thomas Schelling: The Strategy of Conflict
69. Fritz Stern: The Politics of Cultural Despair

70. E. P. Thompson: The Making of the English Working Class

Books of the 1970s

71. Daniel Bell: The Cultural Contradictions of


72. Isaiah Berlin: Russian Thinkers

73. Ronald Dworkin: Taking Rights Seriously

74. Clifford Geertz: The Interpretation of Cultures

75. Albert Hirschman: Exit, Voice, and Loyalty

76. Leszek Kolakowski: Main Currents of

Marxism (Glowne nurty Marksizmu)
77. Hans Kiing: On Being a Christian (Christ

78. Robert Nozick: Anarchy, State, and Utopia

79. John Rawls: A Theory ofJustice

80. Gershom Scholem: The Messianic Idea in

Judaism, and Other Essays on Jewish Spir


81. Ernst Friedrich Schumacher: Small Is

82. Tibor Scitovsky: The Joyless Economy

83. Quentin Skinner: The Foundations of

Modern Political Thought

84. Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Archipelago


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85. Keith Thomas: Religion and the Decline of


Books of the 1980s and Beyond

86. Raymond Aron: Memoirs (Memoires)
87. Peter Berger: The Capitalist Revolution:
Fifty Propositions About Prosperity, Equality,
and Liberty

88. Norberto Bobbio: The Future of Democracy (I1 futuro della democrazia)

89. Karl Dietrich Bracher: The Totalitarian

Experience (Die totalitare Erfahrung)

90. John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and P
Newman (eds.): The New Palgrave: The
World of Economics
91. Ernest Gellner: Nations and Nationalism

92. Vaclav Havel: Living in Truth

93. Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time

94. Paul Kennedy: The Rise and Fall of the

Great Powers

95. Milan Kundera: The Book of Laughter and


96. Primo Levi: The Drowned and the Saved (I

sommersi e i salvati)
97. Roger Penrose: The Emperor's New Mind:
Concerning Computers, Minds, and the
Laws of Physics
98. Richard Rorty: Philosophy and the Mirror
of Nature

99. Amartya Sen: Resources, Values, and Development

100. Michael Walzer: Spheres ofJustice


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