Are there any examples of literature changing the course of history, such as books or essays that made people fight for freedom, other than those written by Václav Havel, either positive or negative?
closed as primarily opinion-based by Semaphore♦, Mark C. Wallace♦, KillingTime, Steve Bird, Gwen Dec 3 '15 at 20:17
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But of course.
When passions run high because life sucks, someone needs to sit down and try to define the grievances in order for those who are upset to make sense of what they're upset about.
Thomas Pain is the author of Common Sense, the book that inspired the American Revolution.
Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote a whole bunch of stuff that the French revolutionaries took to heart.
Karl Marx is guilty of publishing The Communist Manifesto that caused so much havoc in the industrial world.
And Abraham Lincoln all but accused the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin of the perils that befell the country in the 1860's by saying, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!"
Which is to say ideas that cause people to fight need to be formulated first. Folks always need an excuse, a means of telling the bad guys from the good guys. Only Porthos the musketeer said "I am going to fight--because I am going to fight," but he was, of course, lying.
Ricky gave a nice selection but let me add a few items:
The Bible. Quran. Mein Kampf. Das Kapital (actually more influential than Communist Manifesto, though few people read it:-)
Actually there is a book called "100 most influential people in history". http://www.dlmark.net/hundred.htm
Most of these people influenced history through certain books. The list begins with:
Newton (Principia Mathematica)
Then go J. Christ, Budda and Confucius (the first did not write any books, about the last two I am not sure), followed by
St. Paul (parts of the New testament)
and so on. I do not say that I agree with this book selection, especially with the ordering of the 100, but there is something in it. They changed the course of history, indeed. Certainly the books of Newton and Maxwell caused dramatic changes in history, but this is very difficult to compare with the impact of the Bible, Confucius, and the books of Voltaire.