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Books That Shook The World
Scratch the surface of history, and you're likely to find the presence of a very powerful book.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, but it was another Tom, Thomas Paine, who provided Jefferson with inspiration. Published in January of 1776, Paine's Common Sense was a cry for American independence and an instant best-seller among colonists.
And when The Declaration of Independence was unveiled, although written in Jefferson's words, many of the arguments were Paine's.
On the other side of the world, it was a little book called the Communist Manifesto that had a similar impact on the international scene. Written in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, it was this book that Vladimir Lenin used as a touchstone in forming the philosophy upon which the Soviet Union was based.
More recently, President George W. Bush has given credit to the book, The Case For Democracy, by former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, for his desire to promote elections in the Middle East.
But sometimes, a book's influence is distinctly non-benevolent. In the first half of the 20th century, Edward Bernaise became the most sought-after spinmeister of his generation. But when his book, Crystallizing Public Opinion, fell into Nazi hands, Bernaise's groundbreaking ideas became the inspiration for one of the world's most sinister campaigns: Joseph Goebbels' push to sell the Holocaust.
- Submit your StoryDo you have an object that may have played a starring role in American history? Let the History Detectives solve your mystery!
- Latest CommentIt turns out that this collage was sold last fall: http://www.worthpoint.com/wort... I wonder if it would be possible to contact the buyer by way of the auction house about getting a print made. (6 months ago)
- Twitterremember this investigation with @TukufuZuberi @elyseluray Tonight they reunite! Let us know your thoughts! @PBS http://t.co/4KMnc27K (1 year ago)
- FacebookCongrats on your exhibit, TZ! Here's a Washington Post article about the exhibit, everyone, and the great story TZ and Elyse did on his "Our Colored Heroes" story. http://tinyurl.com/mzpuyo8 http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigation/our-colored-heroes/ (6 months ago)