Ever since the dawn of civilization, human beings have been collecting their thoughts on cave walls, stone tablets, papyrus, and in an ancient device once known as a BOOK. Oftentimes, publication of these items caused a seismic shift in the norms of their day, and society was forever changed. Nowadays, books don't exist, of course, BUT you can now download these revolutionary tomes to your e-Reader of choice. Oh, and they're FREE!
Plato's Republic by Plato
Anyone fancy a bum tickle?
Those nutty Greeks – when they weren't traipsing around in bed sheets or engaging in man-on-boy love, they were often waxing philosophic about the nature of society. How it was radical: Plato outlined basic human morals and a just society through dialogues with his contemporaries. What it influenced: The entire LAW & ORDER series – that big enough for you??
The Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana
I think I just got a home run!
It's the world's first dirty book - this Ancient Hindu text was like the Penthouse Forum of its time. It described 64 sexual acts in lurid detail (pictures were inserted later – get it? Inserted?!) How it was radical: Was the first sex manual to describe all the bases – THOUSANDS OF YEARS before baseball was even invented!!! What it influenced: Baseball.
The Rules of Association Football by Ebenezer Cobb Morley
Before this book came along, football games (aka soccer for you ‘Mericans) were just a bunch of drunken hooligans fighting, minus the football part. After this book, everybody at least had something to riot about! How it was radical: Set down the rules for modern football, which are still in place today. What it influenced: Every drunken idiot that paints himself in his team's colors.
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Sir Isaac Newton
Ok, we'll admit we never read it – not that we would even understand it, anyway, but supposedly this dude took some numbers and was able to figure out why apples fall from trees. How it was radical: People stopped bullshitting about the principles of the universe. What it influenced: your math homework.
(Source 1 | Source 2)
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
Everyone always thought he was such a Paine.
This little title was like the Harry Potter of its day – but instead of Lord Voldermort, you had the jerky King of England and instead of a teen wizard casting spells, you had this guy spouting on about freedom from tyranny, and instead of, well… you get the idea. How it was radical: Convinced the average Joe that becoming an independent nation was a good idea. What it influenced: The American Revolution.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
This guy was an f-in genius. He figured out how to merge romanticism and realism in his transcendent free verse, delivering poetry to the masses. Needless to say, he was up to his beard in poontang. What was radical: He ushered in a new era of contemporary poetry. Who was influenced: Usher.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
This intrepid reporter set out to detail the harsh lives of the immigrant workers, but most people only cared that these filthy immigrants were dying on top of the meat. Why it was radical: Exposed the disgusting conditions of meat packing plants. What it influenced: “All Employees Must Wash Hands” sign now in every restaurant and slaughterhouse in America.
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
When this novel burst on to the scene over 100 years ago, most books were about waistcoated pansies or petulant whores. H.G. Wells literally invented the genre of Science Fiction, as well as stimulating the imagination of countless children who would grow up to become inventors, physicists, or Trekkies. Why it was radical: No one had yet written a book about alien invasions. Who it influenced: Tom Cruise
A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
This chick wrote the first manifesto for the Women's Rights movement. In it, she claimed that women were not property, deserved to have an education, and were, in fact, human beings. Believe me, that took some, er, balls. Why it was radical: Challenged the structure of patriarchal society. Who it influenced: Lil' Kim
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Speaking of powerful girls, this chick takes the cake. Her book exposed the terrible scourge of slavery, and its publication helped spark the Civil War. It became the best selling novel of the 19th Century. Why it was radical: Gave slaves a voice. What it influenced: Civil rights.
Guest post by Stephen Moramarco.