The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the War (TLS)

Frequently Asked Questions

Who wrote this list?

See the heading above and the credit below to find out who wrote this list. If you don't like the selections in this list or the arrangement, take it up with the author(s).

Why isn't my favorite author listed here?

This list may not include your favorite author, but he or she may be on other Great Books lists. Check the author index to see.

See the Great Books FAQ for more about the Great Books and these lists of them.

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