Worst Books Of The 20th Century


The Modern Library published a list styled “The Hundred Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century” a few years ago. A list of notable books can make a compelling statement about how we are to understand an age. In judging the quality of a book, one necessarily decides the perception and the profundity which the book displays, as well as the character of the book’s influence.

Many were dissatisfied with the several “Best” lists published in the past year, finding them biased, too contemporary, or just careless. So the Intercollegiate Review (IR) set out to assemble its own critically serious roster of the Best and the Worst Books of the Century. To assist us in this task, we relied on the advice of a group of exceptional academics from a variety of disciplines. We compiled our own list making use of the above sources.

We referred to Intercollegiate Review’s list of the worst books for most of the books, but we couldn’t help add our own “worst books” that we believed should be on this list. Ok, so what do you think?

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

This autobiographical book from one of the worst tyrants to ever walk this earth talks about his struggles and frustrations. The “Nazi Bible” as it was popularly referred to was ignored the first time it was published in 1925.

The Function of the Orgasm by Wilhelm Reich

Much of his writing was centered on sexuality, and this book was dedicated to Freud, who was the first person to criticize the book’s authenticity openly. The absurdity of his notion of orgone boxes for a free and healthy society made the book a major failure.

The Secular City by Harvey Cox

The book revolves around religion and the secular man. Cox embraces “secularism” and seeks to explain the impact on breaking fabulous views in today’s life. “The God is dead” sentiments were met with disapproval.

Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead

It was the worst personal account and western view on the primitive youth of the Samoan Ta’u Island. The study was carried out on adolescent girls.

The Age of Jackson by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

The book talks about the tests of liberalism during Jackson’s presidency in America. The author writes this book from a déjà vu point of view on the cycle of liberal movements throughout the American history.

Clash of Civilizations by Samuel P. Huntington (1992)

A book of mismanagement of perceptions. Again, it looks so much like a part of a political agenda lead by war lords.


A Theory of Justice by John Rawls

Rawls seems more inclined to the idea that majority must always rule and that the greater good is equated to what has the majority vote. It is a similar view of “justice” held by many autocrats.

The Bitch by Jackie Collins

It’s a nasty and filthy story verging on the support of pedophilia and just outright disgusting! She writes of Belle Svetlana and glorifies her having sex with a 15-year-old for money.

Soviet Communism: A New Civilization by Beatrice & Sidney Webb

These British socialists were among the loudest cheerleaders of Marxist view held by Stalin when he was busy killing off the kulaks with planned starvation.

The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes

It was the introduction of the General theory, the “Keynesian revolution” and macroeconomics. It was an argument of whether economies could heal themselves and the factors driving employment.

The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama (1992)

In this book the author argues that the spread of democracy may, in fact, be the end of human social evolution. It is an interesting concept and read, but full of misconceptions and false prophecies in my opinion. Democracy existed in medieval times ( not like in the modern times, of course ), even before the current monarchy concepts that exist today, such as the British monarchy. So the misconception of the end of times he argues in his book is no more than a halucination, or he wrote the book under a political mislead. His approach to philosophy is so much affected by the world’s current political phenomenon, and he seems to be managing this wrongful perception with social engineering by being a part of a political agenda.

On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers

Anyone with the slightest idea of introductory psychology will not benefit much from this book. It might have been great while it’s time of publishing. All in all, it limits the underlying concepts (personal growth theories and client-centered therapy) to very academic circles.

Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B. F. Skinner

It was an attempt to push his agenda on “cultural engineering” that was supported by his two scientific philosophies; his view on determinism and human behavior. He argued that “dignity” hindered science advancement in certain social aspects.

Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed

The sentiments brought forward by the author did not go well with Joseph Stalin, who argued that the text was entirely misleading about Leon Trotsky. The whole thing is a misrepresentation of what happened in Russia during the 1917 October Revolution.

The International Style by Philip Johnson & Henry Russell Hitchcock

It is simply a case of wearing funny glasses to celebrate building ugly buildings and making lots of cash than using a book to propagate the justification.

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred Kinsey

It was a sorry excuse to touch on little boys and girls. How else would the writer justify a study on subjects as young as five years old on human sexual responses?

The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich

This poor scientist seemed bent on the idea that millions would starve during the 70s due to rapid population growth. He was proven very wrong by time.

Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer

It is very hard to tell whether the story is fact or fiction and that’s its first failure. The way the author brings out the events and connects them to patriotism are skewed in a way.

Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag

Sontag seeks to do away with the seriousness of interpreting art citing that this process can never be conclusive because art has no content.

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Richard Rorty

This exposition in the American sense of philosophical pragmatism had dire effects on studies in literature and philosophy. How can you suggest dissolving problems as opposed to solving them?

The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper

When Popper thinks that he’s more open-minded or smarter than Hegel and Plato, he succeeds in showing how that kind of reasoning hinders open-mindedness. Talk of shooting himself in the foot!

Why Not the Best by Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter shows a side of him in this autobiography that is utterly incredible. In his ignorance about the simple point of view in county governance, he throws accusations of corruption with no evidence whatsoever. It was terrible for someone seeking the presidency.

Only Words by Catharine MacKinnon

Some of the ridiculous developments in recent American law can find their basis in this book. Most of what the author categorizes as mere words have devastating consequences.

The Politics of Ecstasy by Timothy Leary

This book is a perfect example of Leary’s earlier supposition that taking things too seriously was a mistake. His seriousness was lacking in his views of human consciousness.

Scoundrel Time by Lillian Hellman

The book reads out like a conversation with someone who assumes you know the people they are talking about. She recounts her ordeals with the House Committee on Un-American Activities.


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