Literature affects people in incredible ways and can have the potential to change the perspective of the readers. The act of reading is primarily a personal act because people read to themselves for the most part, but if the story is compelling, literature has the ability to change the society as a whole. The following books have interesting subject matters and offer unique perspectives that arguably changed the course of history just from being written. This is in no way an exhaustive list, as there are hundreds of books that could be seen as changing the course of history because it was written.


The Communist Manifesto

Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx

There is no denying that the Communist Manifesto was an important book for the world when it was released in 1848. It’s studied nowadays in our schools, but at the time of its release, the idea of communism was a radical notion and it opened the eyes of many to oppressive circumstances between rich and poor, owner and worker. Not only was this book radical, it also gave some power to the workers who ultimately felt helpless in their financial situation.


The Bible

Whether you believe in scripture or not, there is no denying the unbelievable effect the Bible has had on societies throughout history. It has been over 400 years since the first print of the King James Bible was mass produced in England, and its circulation has been molding western society since the words have been accessible to the masses.


The Qur’an

The Qur’an is the holy book of Islam and has a rightful place in this list because it has had a huge impact on the eastern cultures of Western Asia. Before Islam became a prominent religion in this region, there was no dominant religion. Instead, people believed in various religions including Christianity, Judaism, and Arab Polytheism.


The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank

Who knew that such a young girl could make such a huge impact on the rest of the world? Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who chronicles her life in hiding from the Nazis who seek to harm her and her family for their heritage. During WWII, many Jewish families like the Franks hid away to avoid being sent to a concentration camp. What strikes readers the most about Anne Frank’s writing is her innocence and positivity during this time of persecution and grave danger.


On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin

Also known as On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, is a scientific work in which Darwin discussed the possibility of evolution and natural selection. When the book was released in the mid-1800s, it was considered extremely controversial. The theories and ideas Darwin talked about in this book continue to be hotly debated.