The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the War (TLS)

Books of the 1940s

  1. Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex
  2. Marc Bloch: The Historian's Craft
  3. Fernand Braudel: The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II
  4. James Burnham: The Managerial Revolution
  5. Albert Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus
  6. Albert Camus: The Outsider
  7. R. G. Collingwood: The Idea of History
  8. Erich Fromm: The Fear of Freedom
  9. Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno: Dialectic of Enlightenment
  10. Karl Jaspers: The Perennial Scope of Philosophy
  11. Arthur Koestler: Darkness at Noon
  12. André Malraux: Man's Fate
  13. Franz Neumann: Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism
  14. George Orwell: Animal Farm
  15. George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-four
  16. Karl Polanyi: The Great Transformation
  17. Karl Popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies
  18. Paul Samuelson: Economics: An Introductory Analysis
  19. Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialism and Humanism
  20. Joseph Schumpeter: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
  21. Martin Wright: Power Politics

Books of the 1950s

  1. Hannah Arendt: The Origins of Totalitarianism
  2. Raymond Aron: The Opium of the Intellectuals
  3. Kenneth Arrow: Social Choice and Individual Values
  4. Roland Barthes: Mythologies
  5. Winston Churchill: The Second World War
  6. Norman Cohn: The Pursuit of the Millennium
  7. Milovan Djilas: The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System
  8. Mircea Eliade: Images and Symbols
  9. Erik Erikson: Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History
  10. Lucien Febvre: The Struggle for History
  11. John Kenneth Galbraith: The Affluent Society
  12. Erving Goffman: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
  13. Arthur Koestler and Richard Crossman (eds): The God That Failed: Six Studies in Communism
  14. Primo Levi: If This is a Man
  15. Claude Lévi-Strauss: A World on the Wane
  16. Czeslaw Milosz: The Captive Mind
  17. Boris Pasternak: Doctor Zhivago
  18. David Riesman: The Lonely Crowd
  19. Herbert Simon: Models of Man, Social and Rational
  20. C. P. Snow: The Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
  21. Leo Strauss: Natural Right and History
  22. J. L. Talmon: The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy
  23. A. J. P. Taylor: The Struggle for Mastery in Europe
  24. Arnold Toynbee: A Study of History
  25. Karl Wittfogel: Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power
  26. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations

Books of the 1960s

  1. Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
  2. Daniel Bell: The End of Ideology
  3. Isaiah Berlin: Four Essays on Liberty
  4. Albert Camus: Notebooks 1935-1951
  5. Elias Canetti: Crowds and Power
  6. Robert Dahl: Who Governs? Democracy and Power in an American City
  7. Mary Douglas: Purity and Danger
  8. Erik Erikson: Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence
  9. Michel Foucault: Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason
  10. Milton Friedman: Capitalism and Freedom
  11. Alexander Gerschenkron: Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective
  12. Antonio Gramsci: Prison Notebooks
  13. H. L. A. Hart: The Concept of Law
  14. Friedrich von Hayek: The Constitution of Liberty
  15. Jane Jacobs: The Death and Life of Great American Cities
  16. Carl Gustav Jung: Memories, Dreams, Reflections
  17. Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  18. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie: The Peasants of Languedoc
  19. Claude Lévi-Strauss: The Savage Mind
  20. Konrad Lorenz: On Aggression
  21. Thomas Schelling: The Strategy of Conflict
  22. Fritz Stern: The Politics of Cultural Despair
  23. E. P. Thompson: The Making of the English Working Class

Books of the 1970s

  1. Daniel Bell: The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism
  2. Isaiah Berlin: Russian Thinkers
  3. Ronald Dworkin: Taking Rights Seriously
  4. Clifford Geertz: The Interpretation of Cultures
  5. Albert Hirschmann: Exit, Voice, and Loyalty
  6. Leszek Kolakowski: Main Currents of Marxism
  7. Hans Küng: On Being a Christian
  8. Robert Nozick: Anarchy, State and Utopia
  9. John Rawls: A Theory of Justice
  10. Gershom Scholem: The Messianic Idea in Judaism
  11. Ernst Friedrich Schumacher: Small is Beautiful
  12. Tibor Scitovsky: The Joyless Economy
  13. Quentin Skinner: The Foundations of Modern Political Thought
  14. Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Archipelago
  15. Keith Thomas: Religion and the Decline of Magic

Books of the 1980s and beyond

  1. Raymond Aron: Memoirs
  2. Peter Berger: The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality and Liberty
  3. Norberto Bobbio: The Future of Democracy
  4. Karl Dietrich Bracher: The Totalitarian Experience
  5. John Eatwell, Murray Milgate and Peter Newman (eds): The New Palgrave: The World of Economics
  6. Ernest Gellner: Nations and Nationalism
  7. Vaclav Havel: Living in Truth
  8. Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time
  9. Paul Kennedy: The Rise and Fall of Great Powers
  10. Milan Kundera: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
  11. Primo Levi: The Drowned and the Saved
  12. Roger Penrose: The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics
  13. Richard Rorty: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
  14. Amartya Sen: Resources, Values and Development
  15. Michael Walzer: Spheres of Justice

"Certain seminal works were published before the Second World War but which have had a major influence since the war were set aside. That list would certainly include:"

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First posted: December 2002