- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Sceptre; New Ed edition (8 Feb. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340839821
- ISBN-13: 978-0340839829
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.6 x 19.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
12 Books That Changed The World Paperback – 8 Feb 2007
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Bragg writes with passion...and once again, shows his capacity to make science and technology both exciting and accessible. (Independent)
'Bragg has established himself over the past decades as a fearlessly dedicated, popular educator . . . a highly and easily readable book.' (John Sutherland, The Sunday Times)
'It can charm almost anyone of any age . . . yet again Bragg has displayed his extraordinary and unique gifts as a communicator' (Christena Appleyard, Daily Mail)
'This is an inspiring, fascinating and stimulating book with marvellous illustrations' (Niall MacMonagle, Irish Times)
Melvyn Bragg explores a controversial selection of British books and their huge impact on historySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
While interesting generally, I found it a bit annoying in places. Some chapters I raced through: Wilberforce, Smith, Stopes, Newton, Darwin and Faraday in particular were quite fascinating.
Others however were hard going. The Rules of Association Football left me surprisingly cold, I wanted more from Arkwright and the King James Bible was a real struggle, though this may be due to the fact that Mr Bragg kept getting in the way with his views on word usage.
All in all money well spent and I'll probably dip into it again from time to time. In other words it will go into the bookcase, not under the corner of the sofa that has a leg missing.
If they made history and literature this accessible and interesting at school then our society would be better for it. I wasn't on the planet while the women's rights movement was in full swing and it was too recent history for me to learn at school - so Bragg's inclusion of Mary Wollstonecraft's 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' was welcome and interesting.
The Magna Carta is more relevant today than ever since the Human Rights Act entered English law and we unquestioningly use its fundamental principles in our judgement of contemporary issues like Guantanamo Bay and house-bound Chinese activists. Yet who would get a copy out of the local library?
Dip in and out of this book at will, you'll be better for it and don't feel guilty about skipping chapters.
I made my personal list and there was little correlation. Therein lies the interest and the problem many have had with this book. They expected their twelve and were disappointed not to find them; Bragg never claims it to be other than his personal list and does not claim it is THE twelve, a comprehensive list or the list others would choose.
However, it is worth reading just to consider another's view, especially one so well read. If readers don't like one of his choices, it does not have to be read.
MELVYN BRAGG'S LIST
Rule Book of Association Football"
"On the Origins of Species"
"On the Abolition of Slavery"
A Vindication of the Rights of Women"
"Experimental Research in Electricity"
"Patent Specification for Arkwright's Spinning Machine"
"The King James Bible"
"An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations"
"The First Folio"
It's a personal list of a dozen books that Bragg feels changed the world. He says in the introduction that he's tried to avoid just covering the obvious choices like religion (so we only get the King James Bible, and not the Ko'ran as well, for instance) and instead tried to find a dozen books which cover many different aspects of contemporary society - from football to economics to sexual equality and so on - and then to illustrate how they helped create that society. It's a good list, and is sufficiently broad a topic that it can lead to ' I wouldn't put that book in, I'd've had this book instead' debates, which is always fun.
Bragg shows himself an incisive reviewer of books, offering both an illuminating precis of the content of each, how they came to be written and his judgement on the effects they had. I still don't like his TV persona, but Twelve Books that Changed the World, for it's length, is highly informative and accessible, and may well have inspired me to read more of the list it offers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Melvyn Bragg is always a good read. Interesting to read why he picks these 12 books as being so important.Published 18 months ago by Good living
This is an unusual book, a book about books. That said, some of the 'books' chosen by the author are not books in the usual sense but scientific papers. Read morePublished on 26 Aug. 2014 by Tomer
Unlike Melvyn Braggs usual writing, I found this slightly less poetic in style, not quite so compelling to read. Read morePublished on 22 July 2013 by AE
When taking on the challenge of bringing light to 12 influential works spanning centuries there was always a chance I was going to be left standing on the platform of knowledge on... Read morePublished on 25 Mar. 2013 by jcom
My son gave me this book 3 years ago as a Christmas present. Having read it cover to cover I then passed the book on to 2 relatives and haven't seen it since! Read morePublished on 15 Jan. 2013 by Trevor Charman
Recommend during a reading group. great book brought lots to share with others. Great book of history any many booksPublished on 18 Nov. 2012 by Janet Allman
I'm not sure that these are the twelve books I would have chosen, but starting with those that I agree most profoundly with (and we are all entitled to an opinion on this so I'm... Read morePublished on 15 Aug. 2012 by Eileen Shaw
not something that has made me feel very different about our history apart from women's emancipation and magna carta both of which are so relevant to nowPublished on 5 May 2012 by Nima
A better title would be 12 books that changed England. This book is a typically Anglo-centric view of the world, and the choice of books contained, whilst on the whole interesting,... Read morePublished on 8 May 2010 by Cricket Mad