These five books have been named as the most influential academic texts of all time

Louis Dor
Wednesday 11 November 2015 12:40
Science and Tech

The most influential academic books in history have been revealed in a public vote.

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species from 1859, which founded evolutionary biology, was named the most influential academic text ever written.

The study was voted for by 26 per cent of the public in an online poll of over 900, to mark the inaugural Academic Book Week.

The top five were:

1) On the Origin of Species - Charles Darwin
2) The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
3) The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
4) The Republic - Plato
5) Critique of Pure Reason - Immanuel Kant

Also shortlisted were:

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
The Uses of Literacy by Richard Hoggart
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
Orientalism by Edward Said
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
The Making of the English Working Class by EP Thompson
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

The poll was organised as part of a series of events and competitions throughout the UK, conducted by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in conjunction with the British Library, between 9-16 November.

Alan Staton, head of marketing at the Booksellers Association, said:

It's not in the least surprising, and completely right, that On the Origin of Species won. No work has so fundamentally changed the way we think about our very being and the world around us.

I'm personally very hearted to see Critique of Pure Reason in the top five. We seem to be governed by expediency and doublethink and it's reassuring to know that Kant's Categorical Imperatives are known and thought important.

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