The Vindication of the Rights of Women, The Genealogy of Morals, The Nature of Things, The Histories, The Communist Manifesto, Working, Cat's Cradle
The Vindication of the Right of Women is one of the first major feminist manifestos ever written. Wollstoncraft describes in depth, her views of the current roles of women and how they have been oppressed throughout history. She describes how dependent their status is upon how they dress and how politely the behave, simply parroting back the courtesies they have been taught. Without a proper education and equal opportunity, women of her time may as well be mannequins simply displaying what is deemed suitable for the time. She spoke of the great potential women have. Her work fits into this library because she speaks about how she sees the world and the way it works from her point of view.
In Genealogy of Morals, Nietzche gives a shocking perspective that goes against much of what psychologists before him believed. He discussed the concept of morality not being human nature or the desire of some deity, but the result of resentment between classes. The concept of being good was not born from the idea of supporting one's fellow man but from the need to set oneself above others through a set of values rather than possessions. The concept of evil simply stemmed from this as a way to further separate from those that do not fit within what is considered good. Nietzche's work opens up a whole new way to view morality.
Lucretius' writings on The Nature of Things are extremely innovative for his time. He introduces a new way of thinking about matter itself. He talks about how all life is made of similar fundamental units and that in reality humans are no better than anything else. The human race is simply another species of living breathing animals taking part in the world. He defies the idea of some grand master plan and asks people to take the world for what it is based on what we can observe.
Herodotus takes us on a personal tour through Greece and the regions surrounding it in his writings. He describes the various cultures as best he can, being the outsider that he is. He shows a profound respect for the people he interacts with. While he does take pride in his homeland, he remains as unbiased as he can be. He describes various rituals, but makes a point to avoid disclosing details that he believes should not be shared with outsiders. His writings set an example for how one should look at a new place. When visiting another country one should be respectful and open minded to the ways of the indigenous people. Many people forget to have that kind of respect.
The Communist Manifesto discusses the classes of the time and the conflicts between them. Marx attempts to describe an eventual solution to these problems. Wealth and possession are a major root to many of the issues between classes. The problem is that the issues are so well ingrained into society that removing these ties would not be enough. The next generation would have to raised with a whole new set of values in order to thrive in a world that the current generation could never be a part of. This may be a disturbing perspective for some, but it is not unfounded and it makes readers think of how the world could be improved upon.
Working takes into consideration the average worker. When we thing of the Pyramids we think of the Pharohs they were built for, not the thousands who died in the process of building them. This book is about the builders of America. It is a reminder that the world wasn't built only by the men in charge. The people who are really behind it aren't recognized as they should be. This book changes that and gives a new perspective on the working world.
Cat's Cradle is a satire on the four pillars of society and the results of them crumbling. It attempts to shock the reader into looking at the world around them and really seeing what things are like. This book was written to make people really think about what their society is really built on. Why do we need religion or government to guide us in a way of living that may not be altogether correct? It is not necessarily a call to action but it is a call to gaining perspective on our values and what we consider society.
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