User:Barnaby dawson/100 books

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Imagine this scenario: There is a great catastrophy and all the books written since 1740 are lost together with all cultural artifacts and oral traditions from after 1740. Humanity languishes in a new dark age. Which 100 books (post 1740) would you choose to save in order to greatest benefit this future society?

The list (In no particular order)[edit]

1: The origin of species - Charles Darwin

2: Logik der Forschung {The Logic of Scientific Discovery} - Karl Popper

3: (DNA)

4 & 5: A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism - James Maxwell

6: Einstein's Miraculous Year - Albert Einstein (edited by John Stachel)

7: Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

8: (History of WWII including detail on the holocaust)

9: (Ethics and aesthetics)

10: Second treatise on government - John Locke

11: (History of communist Russia)

12: John Stuart Mill collected works

13: The rights of man - Thomas Paine

14: (Thermodynamics)

15: (RSA encryption)

16: Hiroshima - John Hersey

17: The incompleteness theorems - Kurt Godel

18: 1984 - George Orwell

19: Brave new world - Aldus Huxley

20: The History of the English speaking peoples- Winston Churchill

21: (Aerodynamics)

22: The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

23: (History of the industrial revolution)

24: (History of the suffragette movement)

25: (The Emancipation Proclamation)

26: United Nations Charter

27: Six easy pieces - Richard Feynman

28: (History of the civil rights movement)

29: The cathedral and the bazaar - Eric Raymond

30: (Feminism)

31: The general theory of employment, interest and money - John Keynes

32: The Wealth of Nations - Adam Smith

33: (An anthology of modern poetry)

34: (The French Revolution)

35: (Sewerage treatment)

36: (Biological and Chemical warfare)

37: The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui - Bertold Brecht

38: Symbiogenesis - Lynn Margulis

39: (RNA world hypothesis)

40: The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins

41: (Game theory)

42: (The germ theory of disease)

43: The handmaid's tale - Margaret Atwood

44: (Statistics)

45: (The Cuban missile crisis)

46: (Chaos theory - Lorenz?)

47: (Gaia theory)

48: (The immune system)

49 & 50: Sexual behavior in the human Male/Female - Alfred Kinsey

51: (History of The Vietnam War)

52: (Turing's universal computer)

53: (Photolithography techniques)

54: (Plastics)

55: The addictive personality - Craig Nakken

56: Non Zero sum - Robert Wright

57: (Modern psychology)

58: (Engines)

59: (Design of power stations)

60: (A history of the internet)

61: Set Theory - Thomas Jech

62: (Complexity theory)

63: Why I am not a Christian - Bertrand Russell

64: Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte {edition placing the work within social context}

65: Principles of mathematical Analysis - Walter Rudin

66: Silent spring - Rachel Carson

67: (making semiconductors)

68 - 73: (Textbooks on physics, biology, chemistry, medicine and anatomy.)

74: (Alternative energy sources)

75: (The modern printing press)

76: Mathematical methods of Physics - Jon Mathews and Robert Walker

77: (Major infectious diseases and their cures)

78: (Contraception)

79: Return to Allapatria - Shelley E. Parker

80: (The Labour movement)

81: (Engineering)

82: (Reclaiming metals from their ores)

83: The search for modern China - Jonathan D. Spence

84: The story of art - E. Gombrich

85: Great scientific experiments - Rom Harre

86: (Geology particularly deep time)

87: (The development of the European union)

88: Vojna i mir {War and Peace} - Leo Tolstoy

89: Das Kapital {Capital} - Karl Marx

90: (Modern educational techniques)

91: (20th century music - The Jazz scales?)

92: The minds I - Daniel Dennett

93: Cien Años de Soledad {100 years of solitude} - Gabriel Marquez

94: Representations and characters of groups - James and Liebeck

95: Civilisation - Kenneth Clark

96: Essay on the Principle of Population - Thomas Malthus

97: Die Blechtrommel {The tin drum} - Gunther Grass

98: The mythical man month - Frederick Brooks

99: (Vaccination)

100: The complexity of cooperation - Robert Axelrod

Filling in the gaps[edit]

You'll notice that some of the entries are subjects not books (They have brackets around them). I hope over time to fill each subject with an appropriate book covering that subject. If you can fill in any of these gaps then do not hesitate to do so.


We assume (however unlikely) that all books and artifacts that still exist today which were created prior to 1740 survive. We can therefore assume a working knowledge of all the major world languages. This list is not meant to be an english only list but english translations of the titles are expected and comments about the books are expected to be in english. This list will (at least to start with) have a heavy British english (possibly left wing, vegetarian and environmental) bias. This is because the selection of books I have heard of is not a random sample of all books published since 1740. I invite edits and suggestions from all comers although if you edit the list I do expect you to give a sensible reason. Books are counted by volume.