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Top 10 Most Controversial Non-Fiction Books

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

Having already covered controversy in movies, it is time to move on to controversy in literature. I have intentionally left off books that have been dealt with in other lists. Links are included for the purchase of any of the books on this list courtesy of This list also includes a competition. The details can be read at the bottom of the list.


The Hoax of the 20th Century
Arthur R. Butz


“The Hoax of the 20th Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry” is considered to be the book that started the holocaust denial movement. It claims that the Germans did not try to exterminate the Jews during the Second World War. Many attempts have been made to have the book banned from libraries and other attempts have been made to make it illegal to import in to Canada. The book was first published in 1975 and it has enjoyed many re-publications since that date. Dr Butz is an associate professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University and he recently caused controversy by publicly approving Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements denying the holocaust.

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The Population Bomb
Paul R. Ehrlich


This 1968 book predicted disaster for man due to population explosion. The book has been included as number 11 in Human Events most harmful books of the 19th and 20th century, as well as making the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s “50 Worst Books of the Twentieth Century”. The most shocking prediction made in the book was that the world would suffer the death of millions through starvation in the 1970s and 1980s. The author claimed that “radical action” was needed to prevent this from taking place. The radical action? Ehrlich recommended starving entire nations if they refused to implement policies to reduce or suspend population growth.

Buy this book at Amazon


The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln


In The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, the authors claim that Jesus had offspring with Mary Magdalene, and that a secret society (the Priory of Sion) was formed that ultimately created the Knights Templar and tried to protect the offspring of Jesus. They also included (as fact) sections of the Protocol of the Elders of Zion (an anti-semitic tract written in Russia). Unfortunately for them, it turned out that the entire book was based on a hoax by a Frenchman in 1961. This book was widely believed to be factual (by the authors and readers) until the hoax was uncovered. Dan Brown copied the basic ideas from this book for his “The Da Vinci Code” which he still claims to be based on fact. Historians and professionals in the field consider The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail to be an example of “counterknowledge” (misinformation packaged to look like fact).

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Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?
Jonathan Wells


This book is often cited by creationists as proof against evolution – and that was the intent of the author (a prominent promoter of intelligent design). Wells attempts to overthrow the idea of evolution by critiquing the manner in which it is taught. The author contends that the 10 case studies used to illustrate and teach evolution are flawed. The science behind this topic is very fascinating and it is worth reading the Wikipedia article on the arguments presented for and against. You can read the article here.

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The Skeptical Environmentalist
Bjørn Lomborg


Lomborg, in this highly controversial book, states that various environmental issues (such as global warming, overpopulation, species loss, and water shortages) are not supported by analysis of the appropriate data. Lomborg claims that the excess attention being given to this “insignificant” events is used politically to distract people from real and more important issues facing the world today. When word got out that this book was to be published by Cambridge University Press, efforts were launched by supporters of the theories he disputes to prevent it from being published – or subsequently banned if it was.

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Hitler’s Willing Executioners
Daniel Goldhagen


This book posits that ordinary Germans knew about, and supported, Hitler’s plans for genocide. One critic says of the book: “[It is] totally wrong about everything. Totally wrong. Exceptionally wrong.” Goldhagen claimed that a German “anti-semitism” had grown up over the centuries – starting from a religious basis and eventually becoming secularized – to a point that the Germans eventually became “eliminationist”.

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Silent Spring
Rachel Carson

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This book is credited with helping launch the environmental movement. Unfortunately it is also credited with the widespread ban of DDT (which was commonly used as a defense against malaria carrying mosquitos) which some believe is the reason that malaria has become rampant – leading to the deaths of millions. One critic is quoted as saying: “If man were to follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth.”

Buy this book at Amazon


The Bell Curve
Richard J. Herrnstein & Charles Murray


In this book, the authors contend that intelligence is a better predictor of crime, income, unwed pregnancy, and job performance than parent’s socio-economic background. It also made some claims regarding racial difference in intelligence. Consequently, critics said that the book promotes “scientific racism”. Many people rallied in support of the book, while many others rallied against it. The authors also recommended policy for the US government which completely ended all welfare assistance to poor unwed mothers as it “encourages” low IQ women rather than high IQ women to have children [more information].

Buy this book at Amazon


Hitler’s Pope
John Cornwell


Hitler’s Pope is a book written by John Cornwell (an English journalist and an ex-Catholic Seminarian) which claims that Pope Pius XII contributed to the demise of the Jews in the second world war by bowing down to Hitler. The book caused a huge controversy due to the fact that many Jews had spoken out in defense of Pius XII (during and after the war) and there was little evidence to corroborate the views in the book. Cornwell has since stated that he no longer believes the negative conclusions he came to in his book. Interestingly, Cornwell has also publicly criticized Richard Dawkins and his book The God Delusion, calling it “extremist and dogmatic”.

Buy this book at Amazon


The Holy Bible
Jewish and Christian religious figures

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It would be wrong not to include the Holy Bible on this list. It is probably the most debated book in existence and has been for a very long time. From controversy over what books to include (and what books to remove in the case of Martin Luther in the 16th century), to controversy over what it actually means, the Bible has been a source of constant difficulty for many people. Despite this, it is still one of the most popular sources of moral direction in the world today and it can not be denied that this book gave more to the growth of the West than any other.

Buy this book at Amazon


List Competition

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At 1pm GMT tomorrow, I will select one commenter from this list to win a prize of the great recently published book Top 10 For Men – a book of over 250 lists of interest to men (though women will no doubt love it also). Topics include What’s the most common murder weapon? What is the hottest variety of chilli? Who is the most searched for woman on the internet? To read an official excerpt of the book, go here.

The prize winner will be one randomly selected commenter – as usual you can enter more than one comment to improve your chances, but your comments must add value to this list – that means no comments designed just to have a better chance at winning. The winner must be a registered user of the List Universe. You can click here to register.

Finally, many thanks to Octopus Books for donating the prize for this competition.

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: The winner of the prize is Logar – for randomly selected comment number 353. Congratulations Logar!

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Mom424

    Great List; In all fairness you probably should have put the Koran up there with the Bible. It all depends which half of the world you live in.

  • green

    Great list! I’m tempted to read “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century” just to see how incredibly deluded it must be.

    As far as “Silent Spring” and DDT goes, the ban has been relaxed to allow for use in specified areas:

    “About 1,000 tonnes of DDT per year is still used today in countries where mosquito-borne malaria is a serious health problem.[27] Use of DDT in public health to control mosquitoes is primarily done inside buildings and through inclusion in household products and selective spraying; this greatly reduces environmental damage compared to the earlier widespread use of DDT in agriculture. It also reduces the risk of resistance to DDT” from Wikipedia Callaway,
    Ewen (May 7, 2008), “Melting glaciers release toxic chemical cocktail”, New Scientist, .

  • green

    Mom- good point! The various interpretations of the Qur’an among believers, plus the widespread apprehension and lack of understanding on the part of nonbelievers makes it quite the controversy!

  • NN

    Hehe, one could say that the Bible is actually fiction. Well, that is the very thing that makes it controversial.

  • Ro

    Why the hell do you gotta be a registered user?
    I can’t take all that trouble to register.

    Just as all the other book lists in this site, this is fantastic stuff.

  • mregan

    I do remember great brouhaha over William Manchester’s JFK biography back in the day. As I recall it was authorized, then de-authorized, temporarily suppressed, etc. When I read it, I never could figure out what all the to-do was about.

  • I’d say “The God Delusion” is pretty controversial. Nice list though.

    Even though I think the Bible is fictional.

  • Wow, very interesting list. I was a bit surprised to see Silent Spring up there, it has never been presented to me in my course of study as an environmental science major as controversial, but I am glad I know that now, perhaps I will actually read it and decide for myself! =p
    I did raise my eyebrows when I saw the Bible on there, but you’re totally right about it being controversial!

  • I agree with mom. Even though I still think they’re both fictional ;)

  • green

    warning- even if the Bible is fictional, it is put forward as fact. The accuracy of all of these books could be called into question- they could all be considered fiction by one group or another

  • Ah, warning brings up a good point: Much of these books contain false information, right? So what is fiction and what is not? I guess the intent is the only difference.

  • Ahmadinejad is like the Iranian Bush, he’s an idiot and looks like a monkey. I’m ashamed to call him my prez.

  • Sky

    Careful with the bible, the Christian bibles are all vastly different from the Jewish Torah.
    Make sure to never call the Torah the “Old Testament” in front of a Jew, unless you are specifically referring to the Christian’s version of the Jewish books, they’re dissimilar in tone and context. Plus it’s kind of insulting to tell someone their beliefs are old, it somewhat invaluates them compared to the “new beliefs”.

  • Is it bad of me to want to rush out to my library and pick up ALL these books now (if they’re even available in my podunk library)? I’ve read just one – “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” – but for some reason I want to at least check out “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”. I’m of some serious German ancestry and though my Great-Grandpa immigrated her and then fought on our side in WWII against his native country I bet it’d be an interesting read.
    Great list, by the way :)

  • I know some people think its fiction and others fact. I just wanted to say that I think its fiction and I’m sure many other listversers do to.

  • green

    homegrown- How was “Holy Blood”? I’ve never heard of it before! It seems like it could be a good story, as long as you take it as fiction, not fact.

  • Sorry

    seems lots of those books have to do with anti-semitism, what about all the books against other groups of people, i’m sure there were books on that topic, not that i don’t think anti-semitism is wrong, just seems to focus on it.

  • rushfan

    Fantastic list, as usual. I love a good controversy. It’s hard to believe there are still people who doubt the holocaust. I wonder if they deny all genocide or just that one.
    I’ve heard a lot about Silent Spring lately. There’s a new book out I can’t wait to get called The Really Inconvenient Truths by Iain Murray. It’s seven environmental catastophies liberals don’t want you to know about…because they helped cause them. How Al Gore’s hero Rachel Carson cost the lives of millions of Africans through her efforts to ban DDT is one of them.

  • Sean

    Great list!!

  • EricB

    It’s good to some recognition that the bible really is a controversial book.

  • green

    Rushfan, thanks for the info on the new book. I am very environmentally-conscious, but I always like to read about things from a different perspective. I’ll be checking it out from the library

  • rushfan

    Wow. You may very well be the first open minded environmentalist I’ve ever encountered. I’m glad to know there are people like you out there. :)
    I myself am extremely concerned about the destruction of rain forests, abuse of animals in factory farms, pollution, for example, but I feel the “climate change” issue is used to frequently as a political tool to intimidate people with opposing viewpoints.

  • Robeywan

    I am intrigued by the Skeptical Environmentalist. I see that Mark Ridley author of the great layman’s classic “Genome” calls it “a brilliant and powerful book” maybe the quote was taken out of context but it makes me want to read it now.

  • green: I read the first few pages of “Holy blood, holy grail” in my obsessed with the da vinci code period. It sucked.

  • I meant chapters*

  • BishopWhiteT

    How about “The Anarchist’s Cookbook” as a notable ommission? :)

  • Robeywan

    Great point on comment #2 green, like rushfan I have never met an open minded “humans first damn the environment type” yet. To blame Rachel Carson for the deaths of millions of Africans is silly. Very soon mosquitoes develop resistance to DDT, widespread use would have only delayed and intensified the problems of malaria.
    Meanwhile reducing the inevitable and current problems of global warming to a political tool is a great excuse to keep burning fossil fuels and avoid pursuing (green)alternative energy sources.

  • nick

    I think that jfrater is right about the bible because it has been discussed ever since it was written and some passages are comletely ridiculous

  • Kreachure

    Hehe, I got really exasperated when I saw the Bible in this list. “WTF? Since when is the Bible NON-FICTION???” I said to myself. But then I realized that most of the books (if not all) are based on fictional and untrue “facts” pretending to be non-fiction!

    Maybe it would have been clearer if the title was:

    Top 10 most controversial “Non-fiction” books (notice the quotes :) )

    but then it would make the list a little bit biased. Anyways, nice one.

  • rushfan

    I would also highly recommend The End of Faith by Sam Harris. It points out things like the fact that if we lived by the literal word of the bible the way some live by the literal Koran, we’d be just as violent as some Islamic nations.

  • green

    I agree that Global Warming is a political tool that is being manipulated. What concerns me most is our lack of respect for the planet that we evolved from, the planet that allows us to exist when no other planet in our solar system can support life.

  • green

    I find it very ironic about how many people keep comment on how the Bible is fictional when there is a book on the list that states the HOLOCAUST NEVER EXISTED. Just goes to show how much people get freaked out by religion

  • rushfan

    Robeywan ~ Using climate change as a political tool works against your intentions. It confuses the issue, turns people off because it becomes “controversial” and complicates what is actually a legit topic for discussion. Unfortunately, it hardly gets the “serious” debate it deserves. And maybe you should look around, you’ll see a lot of research on alternative forms of energy. It is, again, the politicians who have politicized things like nuclear energy and drilling off the Gulf of Mexico and builing refineries.

  • JwJwBean

    I had not heard of many of these books. I was also surprised to see the Bible up on the list. It seemed you had been avoiding adding religious texts as they were the obvious choices. I will have to go and look for some of these. Some I am not so interested in. Did you realize 3 out of 10 were about the holocaust? I like that you put up two opposing views of the environment.

    Nice list. Interesting choice of book to be added to the competition too. Yay to Octopus Books.

  • Ben

    In the case of “Hitler’s willing Executioners” I can only agree. However, not with the book. Not only am I German, but my great-grandfather was an active member of the NSDAP (National-Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei/National-Socialist German Workers Party, known as the Nazis). I freely admit it for I know that my great-grandfather was a great man. I never had the pleasure of meeting him since he died of cancer in an American camp for political prisoners in the 50ths. However, it is well recorded(locally) that even though he was the local mayor and as a member of the NSDAP had orders to put Jews into “protective custody”, he helped several jewish families with their flight to England, France, and Russia.

  • Green: Most people realize that you’d be an ass to think the holocaust never happend.

  • Randall

    Okay… the STRAIGHT DOPE on DDT. Last word. I still maintain that DDT killed my father. But the answer below vindicates *both* sides of this question, more or less… so kiwiboi, we’re even… kinda. You have more weight on your side of the argument, for sure. And then again, too… maybe DDT *did* kill my father… but then we know that cancer is freakin’ *weird* and, like a tornado, can kill the guy next to you while leaving you largely untouched. So maybe…. maybe… my dad was just unlucky.

    I’m eating crow, here kiwi… I don’t like the taste, and don’t think you’ll see it happen often.

    Oh, and I know I should just post this comment as a link, sorry. Jamie or the admin can feel free to remove it, if they like. I just thought it made great reading, as Cecil always does.

    Dear Cecil:

    Was Rachel Carson a fraud and is DDT actually safe for humans? According to Marjorie Mazel Hecht and [San Jose State University] professor J. Gordon Edwards at, DDT is safe and indeed saved and can save human lives, and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is full of lies. According to them, the banning of DDT was politically motivated and went against the majority of scientific opinion. Yet I consistently hear how dangerous DDT is. What’s the truth here? –Craig Sheldon

    Cecil replies:

    Claiming Silent Spring (1962) is full of lies is a bit harsh. Let’s say it contains certain statements at variance with the facts as we now understand them. I’m willing to believe this was a natural result of the fledgling state of environmental science at the time, whereas right-wing conspiracy theorists (who apparently include the parties you mention–Hecht supports crank-for-all-seasons Lyndon LaRouche) see it as evidence of a campaign of deceit by the liberal cabal. We could spend pages debating the details, but the bottom line is this: Soaking the biota in DDT like it was bubble bath, standard practice at the time Silent Spring was written, was a bad thing and Carson was right to condemn it. But refusing to use DDT because of exaggerated fears of environmental damage is, in some circumstances, far worse.

    Rachel Carson, a biologist and writer who worked for many years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is widely credited with catalyzing the modern environmental movement. Silent Spring was the first popular book to call attention to the dangers of indiscriminate introduction of pesticides and other chemicals into the environment. Carson’s principal target was DDT (if you really want to impress the ladies, Craig, tell them it stands for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), a cheap and effective insecticide first employed on a large scale during World War II to control typhus and malaria. After the war DDT was widely used in the United States in agriculture and in mosquito abatement programs.

    Part of what made DDT appealing was its broad spectrum–it can kill not just one or two but hundreds of insect species (not to mention various other types of wildlife, especially fish, if you aren’t careful about overspraying or runoff into streams). Carson took this fact and ran with it, rhetorically speaking–she claimed that DDT and other pesticides would destroy all living things, and that they should properly be termed “biocides.” In the chapter from which Silent Spring takes its title, she paints an apocalyptic picture of an environment bereft of life due to chemical pollution, in which “no birds sing.” Among other things, the book claims that DDT interferes with bird reproduction and causes cancer in humans; after its publication the chemical was linked to the thinning of eggshells in some avian species. The Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, in no small part due to Silent Spring, and two years later DDT became the first chemical it banned. Most other industrialized nations followed suit, and pressured third world countries to do the same.

    Many of Carson’s claims were overblown. While DDT is highly toxic to insects and fish and can poison other animals in large enough doses, in moderate amounts it’s not especially harmful to birds and mammals, including humans. (Ironically, the EPA’s own judge agreed, but was overruled by its chief administrator.) No one has conclusively proved that DDT can give you cancer. The cause of eggshell thinning is likewise poorly understood.

    On the other hand, DDT is demonstrably effective at controlling the mosquitoes and other insects that transmit malaria and typhus. Thanks principally to DDT, in the years after World War II malaria was eradicated in the U.S. and sharply curtailed in many tropical countries. Venezuela recorded eight million cases of malaria in 1943; by 1958 that number was down to eight hundred. The World Health Organization estimates that DDT saved 50 to 100 million lives during this period, and that’s just counting malaria prevention. In recent years, however, the disease has staged a comeback. Globally it quadrupled during the 1990s, and it’s even reappeared sporadically in the United States. The resurgence of malaria is due to a variety of factors, including changes in land use and possibly climate, and some experts say the phasing out of DDT is one of them.

    I don’t mean to suggest that DDT is benign. On the contrary, it’s a potent contact toxin, and though it breaks down quickly in sunlight, it’s much more persistent in soil and water and accumulates in plants and fatty animal tissues with long-term exposure. But its drawbacks have to be weighed against its benefits. Malaria currently infects 300 to 500 million people annually, mostly in Africa, and causes as many as 2.7 million deaths. Alternative methods of mosquito control cost more and are less effective. Some 400 scientists and doctors have signed a petition opposing the inclusion of DDT among the 12 persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to be banned under a United Nations treaty now up for ratification, and a few public health experts are campaigning to bring DDT back. DDT isn’t a panacea; India, which still uses it, suffered nasty outbreaks of malaria in the 90s, and insects in many parts of that country have become resistant to the chemical. But it remains an important tool, and in a time of rising global pestilence we shun it at our peril.


  • Domnick

    thought it was good to put the bible at no1
    no7 would be an nteresting read too

  • green

    doesn’t change the fact that the book was put on a “nonfiction” book list. As was the Holy Grail book. My only point is that they are all not factually sound, therefore could all be argued as fiction. People just feel they have to point out the Bible as fiction

  • coconutlemon

    great list jfrater! I love that the bible is on there. (And yes, I am still lurking around!)

  • papabear

    New member. First comment. Great list.

  • Kreachure

    green: I think the point is that these books are presented as (and/or embraced as) non-fiction, whether they may actually be totally fiction or not.

    That’s why they’re so controversial, and that’s why they’re on this list.

  • Robeywan

    rushfan, well I guess my definition of “politicize” would be to garner public support through methods other than complete honesty. When you consider how little federal money and grants are awarded to pursuit of alternative energy then I have to say the political clout that global warming carries is pretty small. At least this is the case in my country where many of us are more concerned with today’s cost of gas than the “big picture”. My government aids and abets oil companies and grain farmers while fruit and vegetable farmers and wind and solar energy get little or no assistance. Not to mention public transportation etc.I am amazed and humbled by the foresight and maturity of so many of my fellow humans around the world.

  • SoCalJeff

    Good list. I’ve seen the Bjorn Lomberg book used by virtually all conservative commentators opposed to climate change. Its a conservative blow-hard bible on this topic even though its been pretty well debunked along with Lomberg. But conservatives needed one published source they could cite and they got it in that book.

    A few years ago 60 minutes did a pretty revealing peace on Lomberg that I’m sure you could find on youtube.

  • green

    Kreachure, we agree, then. If you read all my posts you’ll realize I was only pointing out the fact that people felt compelled to point out the Bible as fiction, not one of the other books was called out as such.

  • Harsha

    I’m not sure but I think I read it right here on listverse that Rachel Carson’s Silent Springs was one of the most influential books ever(and it was written in a positive note).Why the sudden change of heart!? Anyway I had Silent Springs as part of my school syllabus and it is boring as hell yet insightful. Also, JF you are very wrong about the DDT effect.If it was still continued it would have created even more problems than it has now.

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  • JonnyB

    The Bible is not a non-fiction book. Period.

  • rushfan

    Harsha, please see comment #37 above. I know it’s lengthy, but it’s extremely informative regarding DDT.

  • green

    Rush- I think it is great that you and Randall can disagree on somethings but still respect each other for different things.

    Randall- this applies to you, as well, and your compliments on Rush’s amazing list

  • Cheeshygirl

    Great list. I have only read one of these books but several of them sound interesting enough to glance through. I almost hate reading the comments on lists like these because people tend to get rude and disrespectful when it comes to controversial topics. I believe controversy can be a good thing if done right. We should never try to force our beliefs down other people’s throats but an intelligent debate helps to fire up our brain cells and promotes education and hopefully tolerance of other views. So, debate folks. Share your opinions. Just be respectful if someone else doesn’t believe what you believe. I shall step down from my soapbox now. Carry on.

  • rushfan

    all of the sudden it’s a love-fest. :)
    seriously, tho, it is possible to have a constructive discussion even if you have differing opinions.

  • green

    The problem with debating on the internet instead of in person is that tone and body language are gone.

    If at any time my comments seem combative or disrespectful- please know that it is all meant in the friendliest spirit.

    In fact, Rushfan, its a great way to grow and expand your mind is to have constructive discussions with those whose opinions and experiences differ from your own

  • Csimmons

    Awesome list, one of the best book lists I have ever seen on here! I agree with the Bible being #1, not surprised Dianetics isn’t on here. NON-fiction books please :)

  • rushfan

    I agree. And I also hope to not offend. I have apparently inadvertently offended in past comments, but it’s never been my intention.

  • Tempyra

    I’m going to keep an eye out for The Bell Curve and The Population Bomb now – they both sound kinda interesting. Interesting in the same way that that guy (Thomas Watson? 1940s?) basically said there was no future for computers. I think that quote got debunked though…

    The Skeptical Environmentalist and Silent Spring were recommended reading at uni, so I’ve read them. In defence of Lomberg’s book – I found his writing quite compelling, though I’m not so sure about the validity of his arguments.

    Oh and I’ve read the entire Bible too… hah

  • Lewis_RATM

    Hey Jamie,I was just about to write a comment when I realised that rushfan’s name and e-mail were filled into the boxes, just to give you a heads up.

    Great list though, but the bible in a Non-fiction list? :p

  • Cyn

    “love fest” ?
    *passes out magic brownies and tosses flowers about while queing up some Mamas and Papas tunes*
    it is entirely possible to engage in adult and critical debate w/out resorting to name calling and obscenities. really. i love ‘love fest’. :)

  • That guy

    Ah yes, i’ve read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, i thought of it as incoherent dribble, to be honest
    Great list must say though

  • rushfan

    Temp ~ I’ve tried to read the Bible, but it’s just so boring. But I’ve found this cool website with the whole thing online and I find it easier to read a chapter at a time that way.

  • Cyn

    Lewis –
    refresh your page should clear it. or might need to clear cache too. :)

  • Csimmons

    *grabs magic brownies* hey, these have nuts in them! I hate nuts Cyn!

  • warrrreagl

    I’ve always been intrigued by anyone who attempts to have any book banned. Several of the above examples mention how opponents of certain books attempted to have them banned for sale, publication, or import.

    If the ideas in those books are so wrong, then why wouldn’t persuasive facts dispel them? If someone is so afraid of the ideas in a book that they can’t argue them down (tey must outlaw the instead), then maybe there is a kernel of truth buried in there somewhere. But if it’s banned, we’ll never be able to test it and we’ll never know. And science doesn’t work that way. The worst thing scientists can do is stifle opposing viewpoints that challenge their own.

  • Cyn

    seeds dude! seeds.
    *mental note – clean stash better before baking…*


  • rushfan

    puff puff pass

  • Csimmons

    oh really! *eats brownies and takes a few puffs* who needs hate? lets go for world peace!

  • I agree that persuasuve facts dispel wrong ideas but not necessarily to the believer! The more a subject is discussed positively or negatively the more ground the idea seems to make. Case in point being Intelligent Design which keeps cropping up time and time again in scientific journals and each time I can’t help thinking why? Why?

    I think we’d do better just to ignore such trivia.

  • Cyn

    *giggles @ rushfan*

  • Tempyra

    rushfan – I only read the entire thing in a week for a bit of a joke in my early teens. I’m a ‘speed reader’ though, so it’s not exactly an accomplishment lol. Thanks for the linky – I started reading the Book of Job ‘cos I remember it as being the most interesting :-)

  • iamaneviltaco

    what about the 9/11 commission report? I think that at least deserves an honorable mention.

    and the bible is not non fiction.

  • rushfan

    mond, you’re right. not all ideas are worthy of debate. if someone insists something that is factually inacurate, why engage with them? it legitamizes their claim. however, in most cases, healthy debate and discussion can’t hurt, and it may even change some minds. douglas adams wrote very well on this topic in his essays in salmon of doubt. i miss that guy. :(

  • Cyn

    uh…i brought the brownies but who brought the doobies? :)

    seriously. though. is possible to have a sober, adult debate. er…i think. ;)
    so please resume on topic.

  • rushfan

    we should make a drinking (or smoking ;)) game out of people saying “the bible is not non fiction!”

  • Mr.Graves

    Good list; I would have steered clear of the religious tracts though, or at least thrown in an addendum that recognized the scriptures of all the major religions. I’m not religious but to be fair and equal, the Koran, the Bhagavad Ghita, the Buddhist Scriptures, etc are equally as powerful around the world.

    There is one that deserves at least an honorable mention and actually should have been #1: The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin. It has been debated since it’s inception and counters claims in every religious tract around the world. I’m surprised it was missed because many people consider it to be one of the most controversial works of all time; while remaining in the majority of scientific accuracy, it still had remiss minor theories and over all challenged the status quo in society and was very much the birth rite of science gaining predominance over the churches of the world in modern history.

    I think it deserves a mention. Good list. Cheers!

  • rushfan

    cyn : my motto: wake and bake and no one gets hurt :)

  • Cyn

    rushfan –

  • Mom424

    Randall; Just because it (DDT) is not causal, doesn’t mean it could not have been a trigger for a pre-existing predisposition. (Isn’t that a mouthful). Also your Daddy was a pilot in the War? My father was an IS tech (airplane electrician) and has very impaired liver function. Our family doctor said it is a common consequence suffered by ex-airforce fellows. Some chemical or other they were exposed to in either manufacture or maintainence of aircraft. They watch it to make sure it doesn’t turn cancerous.

  • Csimmons

    waking and baking-99% of all good ideas :)

  • d07

    People only think the bible is fake because they either havent read it or are afraid of it. whether or not you believe it is a good read but if you believed every word of it you’d be an extremist that would most likely buy into the other books on the list.

  • Dandelion

    Interesting list!

  • DK

    Very neat list JF! Amazon makes a lot of money off of your lists I bet! There’s a few I may just have to pick up.

  • smerkis

    I was suprised by the inclusion of the bible, but it makes sense when you think about it. Quality work

  • green

    okay, 1 toke every time someone else says the bible is fiction… come on people you are so lame!

  • green

    rushfan, cyn, csimmons- what do you think my name stands for, anyway?

  • Insaniac

    Man… This was an interesting list. The Bible is still somehow hated by people. Don’t get why, it teaches nothing but good things about life in general. On a side note, even if I don’t win the comp, I’ll still probably go and buy that book. >.>

  • Csimmons

    weed lover?

  • rushfan

    hippie :)

  • Robeywan

    I leave for 50 minutes and come back to an empty baking pan and everyone is giggling…dang, what did I miss?

  • green

    DK- Why don’t you check them out at your local library?

  • magnolia_snooze

    i read like only 3 books in this list… one of them is silent spring which i thought was a pile of balls… I mean DDT?!

    sorry… :/

    but i kinda thought Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ was going to be a list…

    Oh well that’s okay! The Bible is one of the oldest and most mysterious books in the world and it deserves to be in this list (but I thought not as #1 though) :D

  • Mom424

    green; I’m with you, its after lunch where I live, so the wake ‘n’ bake is out of the question.

  • green

    ding ding ding!

  • Csimmons

    mom424: just bake right?

  • green

    so go back to bed and try it again, Mom.

    Haha, I’ve always kind of wanted to tell my mom to smoke, so that was kind of cathartic- thanks!

  • Csimmons

    green: don’t we all wanna say that?

  • InfiniteJorge

    Regardless of how controversial these books are, or what potential consequences their might be from making them available to the public, they should NEVER be banned. Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights that every man and woman of this earth should ALWAYS be entitled to. If some of these books have distorted facts and false information, then it should be known that they are works of fiction, but they should still be available for all to read. This is what helps consummate free-thinking individuals, and not a society filled with robots.

  • rushfan

    “it’s a very mysterious and powerful devise whose mystery is only exceeded by its power” (sweet. dude, what does mine say?!)

  • Mom424

    I don’t mind being the ‘pseudo-mom’; pretty sure there are times when my own wish that I was. I have an inconvenient habit of blurting out the truth, and dishing out the shit to all who deserve it. And it doesn’t matter who or where.

  • green

    Good idea on Darwin- that was definately a hot topic

  • green

    I’m with you Infinite, have you ever read Fareinheit 451? SCARY!

  • Cyn

    who said ‘hippie’? i can honestly say i’m too young to have been considered a hippie. ha! for once i’m too young..
    okay so just barely. ;)
    and its been a long time since i partook *giggles* so think i’m regretting derailing this commentary w/ that kinda chatter.
    back to debating whether the Bible is fiction or nonfiction..the really critical stuff!
    btw..i think it belongs in the fantasy section of the library. ;)

  • MPW

    have you guys been drinking the bong water?

    great list, books rule

  • QwertyBop

    You should have put up The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a number of its own. What a load of evil bullshit that was, goddamn anti-semites.

  • rushfan

    howdy mp3 ;)

  • green

    I am no where near deciding whether or not I believe in the Bible. I mean, I don’t necessarily believe that everything happened just as it says, and I have big problems with a benevolent God damning his children to hell, but I also can’t discount it all as ficiton, either.

    Hello Rock, meet Hard Place

  • MPW

    “Pass that shit”

  • green

    sorry, you just missed the brownies, mpw:)

  • MPW

    mp3, mpg, mph….. oh i see its MP….W:)

  • MPW

    thats ok green im full of bong water

  • rushfan

    Green, do you read any books on spirituality by like Dan Millman or Eckart Tolle or US Anderson, etc.? I find them very inspiring personally.

  • Tempyra

    If the people who wrote each part of the Bible sincerely believed it to be the truth – does that make it non-fiction from their perspective (and from believers perspective too) and fiction from an atheist’s perspective?

    I am me

  • Tempyra

    Oh, the rest of my comment got lost :-(. Meh.. but basically, what if I wasn’t me? Would it be fiction or non-fiction?

  • MPW

    just kiddin’ drugs are awful…. dude

  • MPW

    Tempyra, you make a valid point

  • GTA

    I’ve read the population bomb….Weird book. Good thing my friend had it

  • stlouisrams81

    I would most likely read “Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?” or “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” they look very interesting. Great List!

  • Csimmons

    MPW: hmmmm…..bong water

  • green

    Rush- I have not, rest assured they have been added to my very long list of stuff to read.

    I’m a huge fan of Paulo Coelho- of “The Alchemist” fame. My favorite is “Veronika Decides to Die”

  • ringtailroxy

    i was glad to see “The Bell Curve” and “Icons of Evolution” on this list! (I knew the Holy Bible would be numero uno)

    as barbaric and anti-homo-sapien as it may sound, I feel that “Silent Spring” should NOT be here. Sure, it encouraged the banning on DDT. But so what if Malaria is rampant? The spread of malaria has more to do with human living conditions than mosquitoes. Put Mosquito netting when you sleep. Provide anti-malarial medications for free. Wear long-sleeves. Don’t hang out in bogs. Don’t release a deadly known toxin into a delicate environment that is intended to benefit only 1 species at the expense of hundreds of others! What a great example of “Western Worldview” that is! Sorry to sound callous, but our species, like all other species, needs some form of population control. With modern advances, and knowledge, we should be curbing population growth… not encouraging it! Exactly how many billions of humans does our species need to sustain itself.. we aren’t ants, people!

    If anyone has been paying attention, 2 aquatic mammals have been declared extinct so far this year-the Yangtze River Dolphin and the Caribbean Monk Seal. Sad? Maybe. Tragic? Not exactly. The basic fact of nature is that all species, every one, will eventually go extinct. Look at our friendly trilobite. Happy little things that lived for approx. 380 MILLION years. and then, a slow decent into obscurity. 99 % of all species have gone extinct. that means that only 1% of life the Earth has ever known lives NOW.

    I firmly believe that the eventual future of our planet is complete assimilation of environments. The tectonic plates seperated eons ago, isolating species that all evolved originally at one site-and man is now importing those species back and forth as he pleases. I know-Florida is home to hundreds of introduced exotic and often destructive species. There are Burmese pythons breeding in the Everglades, and Australian Pine Trees taking over the native hardwood Hammocks. There are Green Iguanas eating the eggs of native songbirds, and feral cats at every location. There are European Starlings in every states, and mussels in inland great lakes from far away ports on the other side of the world. Hell, JFrater, Australia is overrun with non-native species! Water Buffalo, Red Fox, Rabbit, Wild Boar, Feral Camels, Goats… to name just a few. I am certain NZ has more than it’s share of non-native rats, cats, and goats as well.

    Face it-although we can help a little, the damage is already done and we need to realize that although no effort is for not, it cannot possibly stop the tide of ignorance and human desire. People will always have “bleeding hearts” and say “we need to protect them, we brought them here” and “i like this plant… i won’t let it escape and invade a sensitive habitat…”

    *sigh* tis’ bitter times we live in… and yes… I was a happier person when I was ignorant and unaware of these real world problems. Ignorance truly was bliss… at least for me. Now that I have spent the past 10 years really learning about the world around me and my species impact on the environment, the more I wish I was born a female Anopheles mosquito.


    p.s. I’, not always so glum-but my father was just diagnosed with malignant bladder cancer and i’m a bit bitter about the whole thing… his oncologist told him it was most likely from the pesticides used on tobacco leaves that he’s been huffing for 30 + years in cigarettes… go fig.

  • Csimmons

    The Bible definately belongs in the fantasy section of the Library, just had to get that out there in between my weed talk

  • MPW

    Csimmons, hmmmm or mmmmm:)

  • green

    Ringtail- sorry about your father. words don’t suffice

  • green

    there is nothing mmm mmm good about bong water- gross! unless it is a Dirty Bong Water, which is a shooter

  • Csimmons

    either one really

  • green

    there is nothing mmm mmm good about bong water- gross!

  • MPW

    isnt that nuclear war supposed to begin today?

  • Csimmons

    but when you’re high as hell….

  • Csimmons

    oh yeah, where’s that at?

  • MPW

    i like to freeze it and have a bongcicle

  • rushfan


  • green

    looks like we’ll have Friday the 13th tomorrow, afterall

  • green

    yeah, oops- guess they forgot to tell whoever had the nukes to turn the key

  • green

    looks like we’ll have Friday the 13th tomorrow, afterall

  • Mom424

    Cyn; I think that parts of the bible are non-fiction. There have been archaeological digs supporting some of the tales. In general, I consider it fiction or better still, a set of parables or fables or folk tales common to most of humanity.

    Did you know the story of a baby born in a manger to save mankind has been around since the days of the mummies. Long before Christianity. He was called Horus, but the similarities are too many to be ignored. I found these little tid-bits nicely organized on some mysticism forum.

    Jesus was the Light of the World. Horus was the Light of the World.

    Jesus said he was the way, the truth and the life. Horus said he was the truth, the life.

    Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the ‘house of bread’. Horus was born in Annu, the ‘place of bread’. And in a manger/stable.

    Jesus was the Good Shepherd. Horus was the Good Shepherd.

    Seven fishers board a boat with Jesus. Seven people board a boat with Horus.

    Jesus was the lamb. Horus was the lamb.

    Jesus is identified with a cross. Horus is identified with a cross.

    Jesus was baptised at 30. Horus was baptised at 30.

    Jesus was the child of a virgin, Mary. Horus was the child of a virgin, Isis.

    The birth of Jesus was marked by a star. The birth of Horus was marked by a star.

    Jesus was the child teacher in the temple. Horus was the child teacher in the temple.

    Jesus had 12 disciples. Horus had 12 followers.

    Jesus was the Morning Star. Horus was the Morning Star.

    Jesus was the Christ. Horus was the Krst.

    Jesus was tempted on a mountain by Satan. Horus was tempted on a mountain by Set.

  • green

    I’ve never heard of Horus, sounds really interesting. Can you point the way to moer information?

  • rushfan

    whats going on my comment posted under rushfan’s name

  • MPW

    holy shit!?

  • green

    okay, since when as it ever let duplicate comments get posted- whats going on?????

  • MPW

    its back to normal now.

  • romerozombie

    I’ve never read any of these books. They don’t interest me.

  • xcar27

    Yes, what are the details behind Horus? Certainly interesting similarities — I agree with you that the stories of Jesus are like folk tales; it is difficult to consider them true non-fiction.

  • Csimmons

    Tell Russia to turn the key on the nukes, that guy looks like an asshole!

  • Csimmons

    green: its not uncommon

  • ringtailroxy

    mom-424- great quote from “Zeitgeist:the Movie” anyone interested can watch it and access all references at

    (I do disagree with some of the reasoning in Zeitgeist concerning the origin of the term “Sunrise” and “Sunset”)

    matter of fact, my boyfriend was slightly peeved at me for showing him the video AFTER he made major real estate purchases which resulted in his subsequent bankruptcy…

    may as well check out “Loose Change” while you’re at it.


  • MPW

    lets get high and nuke somebody

  • Csimmons

    MPW: who first? I say China

  • Cedestra

    Mom424, I also broke down and finally watched Zeitgeist. Proved my point that there’s nothing new under the sun/Son (haha, get it?). I admit I’m no Egyptologist, but I don’t remember all those things being attributed to Horus (and I always thought Ra was the sun god). I think I need to do some research; I just question the first third of the movie. Well, I question most of it, but that part the strongest.
    Very nice list. I’m predicting some assanine comment by S_R on the Bible being on here. Fair warning.

  • MPW

    China, Russia, that order

  • rushfan

    the epic of gilgamesh predates noah’s flood, too

  • TheBoonDockSaint

    How about The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie? This caused quite an uproar in the Muslim community in the late 1980s even prompting Ayatollah Khomeini to call for a fatwa on the author and publisher. This fatwa is still in place today.

  • rushfan

    how can you forget north korea?

  • Csimmons

    MPW: china, russia, iran, north korea, and then Australia, they are quiet, too quiet…..

  • rushfan

    and how about Canada, also known as “America’s hat?” :)

  • MPW

    rushfan, i could never nuke a middle aged man child in an army man suit.

    Csimmons, yes and then Canada.. America’s hat

    i would say Mexico but they are already here:)

  • MPW

    you read my mind rushy…

  • leinad

    what a great list. really wanna read more than one of those, especially the ones about religious debates.

  • rushfan

    Have you seen TEAM AMERICA?? I’m so ronery. I’m so ronery.
    When Kim Jong Ill sings? Hee-larious!

  • Lindsey

    I now have nine more books on my list of “books to read.” Thanks! :)

  • MPW

    one problem though where can we find these nukes you speak of??

  • rushfan

    I can’t believe I found a website where I can talk to other people who actaully like to read, can make badass weed jokes, and we can carry on an intelligent discussion about world events. I’m in heaven.

  • MPW

    yes that movie was funny.

    the sex scene was HI larious

  • MPW

    how did you find this site rushfan?

  • Magnolia

    I kinda want to read “The Population Bomb” now to see how messed up it is. Fantastic list, anywho.

  • Csimmons

    MPW: Ebay has the nukes! eBay has them!

  • rushfan

    I just stumbled upon it a few weeks ago websurfing here at work. :)

  • Csimmons

    rushfan: yes, now just go on the forums

  • JT

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but those Horus/Jesus comparisons originate from one eccentric man named Gerald Massey who lived in the Victorian era. His views were based on wild speculation and misunderstanding of Egyptology, and were all proven to be incorrect. No scholar takes him seriously anymore. He’s nice to read, but he’s about as factual as von Daniken and Velikovsky.

  • MzFly

    Awesme list as usual! I’m curious about The Skeptical Environmentalist. Has anyone here read it?

  • Csimmons

    I stumbled upon it through ebaums, and haven’t left, I have been here for months, and its my heroin!

  • MPW

    i found it through a website called Daily HaHa

  • rushfan

    csimmons, I KEEP TRYING!! I can’t get in. I try to login and it says I can’t. I try to register and it doesn’t work either. I’ve emailed JFra, but I don’t know what’s happening. :( I would really love to get into the forums.

  • kiwiboi

    I’m eating crow, here kiwi…I don’t like the taste, and don’t think you’ll see it happen often.

    Randall – you already know my view on this one, but (as you yourself say) who is to say for certain that DDT wasn’t, in fact, a factor in your father’s unfortunate early demise. We all have our own predispositions to various chemicals or environmental factors.

    And you’re not eating crow at all; you’re demonstrating open-mindedness and intellectual credibility, which is even more notable given your understandable emotional take on this issue. And which requires no small measure of moral fortitude.

    (Thanks for posting the very interesting article, by the way.)

  • MPW

    yes the forums are fun but i go by a different but similar username-MPWheeler

  • Csimmons

    rushfan: try using firefox, unless you are already using that of course. or get a new pc!

  • kiwiboi

    …and before anybody asks…No, Randall and I will not be getting a room ;)

  • JwJwBean

    Try opening a new mail like yahoo or hotmail or gmail. Then try registering in the forums again.

  • Mom424: Ever heard of Mithras? He and Jesus were pretty similar.
    It starts at 3.20 pretty intresting.

  • Csimmons

    kiwiboi: go, you know you wanna

  • chunky lover

    Can you “officially” say all of these books are non-fiction?

  • MPW

    what specific problem are you having?

  • MPW

    is it possible to create a profile for someone on the forums

  • kiwiboi

    One interesting point about the Skeptical Environmentalist; Lomborg is an environmentalist who decided to actually review the statistics and data that many (including scientists) would habitually quote to support or underpin their pro-environmental arguments. And he was surprised at what he found.

    This book is a very interesting read. I recommend it.

  • MackZ

    I too am very interested in reading “The Hoax of the 20th Century” Sometimes even the crazies can be fascinating.

  • rushfan

    it tells me i specified an inactive or incorrect user name or password. was i supposed to get an activatin email? because i never got one. my husband says it may be my email, but i’ve tried both at home w/aol and at work w/outlook…please advise…

  • rushfan

    feel free to create me a profile and give me the info…

  • Guy

    “The most shocking prediction made in the book was that the world would suffer the death of millions through starvation in the 1970s and 1980s.”
    Didn’t that actually happen?

  • MPW

    somebody should create a website like netflix but instead of movies….books.

    you could call it netboox

  • rushfan

    mpw, you should totally do that :)

  • JT

    or you could call it a library

  • green

    This site is my heroin. I just hope my boss doesn’t find out…

    thanks kiwi- great point!

    I’m all for nuking china, russia, iran and north korea. But Australia? C’mon they’re great!

  • rushfan

    guy ~ not due to overpopulation

  • green

    Isn’t there a book trading website?

  • JwJwBean

    The shipping would be way too high and people can go to the library for free if they want to read through a book others have already read.

  • MPW

    JT, does a library mail you books…. no douche

    just like blockbuster doesnt mail you movies


  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie was, undoubtedly, highly controversial. The man had (perhaps still has) a bounty on his head merely for writing it. That book caused such a bruhaha in the Muslim community, I’m actually shocked it wasn’t included.

    As for the Bible being included. I agree it’s controversial, but aren’t most religious texts? If we’re going to include the Bible, why not the Qu’ran? Also, isn’t part of the controversy the veracity of the Bible? There are many who would claim it to be a work of fiction, despite its claims of being factual.

  • rushfan

    is there? that sounds great. although i find it hard to part with books that i don’t even like because i love to collect books. actually, i guess Looking Backward was the only book i’ve read that i actually considered donating to goodwill after i finished it

  • JwJwBean

    Rushfan. Create a free new email. Then try to rergister with the forums. JFrater said he had gotten an email form you. Did he not reply?

  • MPW

    rushfan create a new email address for yourself and try it again

    i had creating one with my aol account. try yahoo

    how about books on dvd

  • JT

    “Mom424: Ever heard of Mithras? He and Jesus were pretty similar.”

    Once again, those similarities are largely incorrect or too general. Mithras’ birth was celebrated on the 25th becasue that was the date of the winter solstice, and the Christians later adopted that for their God. He was not born of a virgin, he was born out of rock as an adult. He also never died, and thus could not have risen from the dead. He also didn’t have 12 disciples, that’s a common misconception based on a carving of Mithras at the centre of the zodiac. In fact, there are no return records of Mithras’ story, so all there is to rely on is interpretations of carvings and paintings, as well as second hand accounts of the mysteries of the Romans at that time.

  • MPW


  • green

    I don’t know about your area, but my local library sells donated books- hardbacks area $1 and paperbacks are .50!

    I also collect books- do you use bookplates? I LOVE them.

    I’m currently mourning the fact that I loaned three of my most beloved books to a friend who I have since had a falling out with- I want my books back!

  • yuriyv

    Interesting list, I didn’t know half of the books, time to look them up. I think, personally, it would be fair to include a book on the new chonology by A. Fomenko here – for instance, This is the most fascinating and controversial revision of the chronology of the historical events.

  • JT

    “JT, does a library mail you books…. no douche

    just like blockbuster doesnt mail you movies


    Yes but you could still go to a library. No need to be lazy. Libraries need support.

  • green
  • ravthewave

    I believe the title for this list should read Top 10 Most Controversial “Non-Fiction” Books.

  • green

    JT- I agree! Why buy a book to read it once. Get it from the library, check it out, and if you need it for your collection then buy it!

    The other great thing about libraries: Free dvds for rent!

  • rushfan

    mpw, i did already. i used my home email first. then my work email.

  • MPW

    sorry for calling you a douche

  • rotsocken

    Silent Spring should not be on this list. It established a policy of oversight for toxins which allowed us transparency and one could argue… eliminate asbestos, lead, and other deadly substances. Yes, using DDT can reduce malaria, but its a trade off of finding alternative means or allowing large numbers of deformities and sickness (primarily cancer).

    Really interesting idea for a list.

  • green

    thanks, rav, but that was already pointed out in #29

  • jimmyschaps

    Why isn’t The Da Vinci Code in here?

  • MPW

    when i tried for you it told me the email was already registered but your name isnt on the memberlist

  • JwJwBean

    Rushfan: Yes you should have gotten a confirmation email. Check your spam filters.

    JimmyShaps: The Da Vinci Code is not labeled as non-fiction.

  • jimmyschaps

    Sorry about the double post, and now triple post

    Oooh Non-Fiction, my bad

  • MPW

    because it is fiction

  • ravthewave

    netflix mails you movies…

  • MPW

    ravthewave, it sure does

  • Kreachure


    So the comments became a chat room just because of the prize. At least some of us noticed. (I hope)


  • gguy


    Good point regarding the Christian Bible being singled out as controversial, excluding other religious texts.

    In terms of inciting strong words, the Bible is in a class of it’s own. I’m fascinated by how upset and offended people get by a book they believe is fiction, when the Qu’ran and other religious texts seem to be viewed as less universally offensive.

    I guess everyone just loves to hate the Christians.

  • green

    Kreachure, it would seem that the contest was designed to encourage more traffic on the comments, and more discussion. Congrats for being a wet blanket

  • rushfan


    people are chit chating in the comments section of a website for people to read lists and comment on them.


    i had forgotten about the contest, so thanks for reminding me :)

  • MPW

    kreachure, refer to comment 139 on the top 10 notable people who disappeared list.

    honestly i did not know this was a competition

    if i win i’ll donate the prize to you

  • copperdragon

    have not read any of the books on this list, including the bible (at least, not all the way through).

    interesting to see it listed with the non-fiction, as the writers were not exactly historians.

    will have to add the others to my reading list.

  • miriah

    I will have to get a couple of those books, especially number 10. I have always been amazed that some people really think the holocaust was a hoax….complete stupidity.
    As with response to the first comment, all religous books should be included, but that would be a whole other list. Everything from the Satanic Bible to the Quran is controversial..but the bible has had the most impact.

  • Avi

    the problem here is that some people think all these books are bad. some are good but contreversial. thats not the same thing as bad.

  • Ernmas

    The most effective thing against mosquitoes is a DDT-based product! In addition, even though I was raised a devote Catholic, I have always had skepticism over the Bible due to the fact many things are found in the Bible, how much else was left out or altered. People writing about Jesus and his life who lived how many years after he did? As for Holy Blood, I have it and couldn’t finish it because it was so boring to me. Maybe I will try it again seeing as how it is “controversial.”

  • MPW

    does anybody have any brownies for kreachure he seems stressed

  • green


  • miriah

    Oh…and yes Kreachure…I have been on this site for months…although Im not a regular ‘chatter, we do have conversations on here…and I dont see anything wrong with that.

  • kiwiboi

    Yes, using DDT can reduce malaria, but its a trade off of finding alternative means or allowing large numbers of deformities and sickness (primarily cancer).

    rotsocken – please elaborate on the “deformities” and “sickness/cancer” caused by DDT.

  • two points: the Bible was added because it is “controversial” not “Bad” :) And second, the controversy around the Bible is not just between those who adhere and those who don’t – but also AMONGST those who adhere (hence different versions and meanings). That is why I chose it in place of the Quran :)

  • green

    JFrater- Isn’t interpretation of the Quran debated between Muslim extremists and more moderate members of the faith?

    By the way, I “stalked” this site long before I started posting- It’s a great site, good job!

  • copperdragon

    green said:
    Rush- I think it is great that you and Randall can disagree on somethings but still respect each other for different things.
    Randall- this applies to you, as well, and your compliments on Rush’s amazing list
    The problem with debating on the internet instead of in person is that tone and body language are gone.
    If at any time my comments seem combative or disrespectful- please know that it is all meant in the friendliest spirit.

    In fact, Rushfan, its a great way to grow and expand your mind is to have constructive discussions with those whose opinions and experiences differ from your own

    rushfan said:
    I agree. And I also hope to not offend. I have apparently inadvertently offended in past comments, but it’s never been my intention.

    these are great sentiments. they should be included in the posting etiquette.

  • dreamcatcher

    The bible is fiction, therefore does not have a place on this list.

  • Maheahlaurus

    To this list I would add The Turner Diaries by Andrew Macdonald. This book contains and has inspired much hate/racist propaganda in the United States. It is one of the four main books blacklisted by the FBI as domestic terrorism literature (along with the Anarchist Cookbook), and thought to be the inspiration for the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. There is my 2 cents.

  • rushfan


  • green

    haha, it’s toke time everybody!

  • MPW

    when my brother and i were graduating from HS my sister from Kentucky came to California for the ceremony and surprised us with In N Out burger and a bible. in Cali In N Out isnt that great and to me the bible isnt that great but its the thought that counts

  • gguy


    Thanks for the clarification about excluding other religious texts. It is a horrible message for Christians (including myself) to send to everyone else when we/they bicker over semantics and interpretations within the Bible, to the detriment of unity within the faith.

    Great list and great site.

    I am wondering why Dianetics was omitted. It was written a little before my time so I don’t remember the controversy, or lack thereof, when it was published.

  • gguy: I think the Bible gets more press because Christians tend to be quite a bit more vocal in the public eye. When religion is paraded in the Western public, guaranteed it’s a group that’s pounding on the Bible trying to raise as much stink as possible.

    Frankly, it’s only within the last couple of decades that most Americans even know what the Islamic holy book is called. Prior to that, many didn’t know/didn’t care and felt the only holy book of note was the Bible. Western civilization most heavily influenced phenomenal impact on human interaction and culture, ergo the Bible got the most press (pun intended).

    However, these days only listing the Bible as a controversial “non-fiction” book seems a bit western biased. Without a doubt the Qu’ran is not only just as controversial, it’s just as hotly debated. eg: Shiite vs Sunni muslim, radical vs conservative, people are slaughtering each other over these differences every day. Still!

    In the 21st century, I would actually say the Qu’ran is MORE controversial.

  • green

    Malheahlaurus- what do you mean by “blacklisted by the FBI” How many books are on this list? What are the ramifications of being on the list? Is this essentially book-banning or just suggesting that these books are harmful?

  • miriah

    OOO!!! In response to Number 22- Rushfan
    22. rushfan – June 12th, 2008 at 7:53 am
    “I myself am extremely concerned about the destruction of rain forests, abuse of animals in factory farms, pollution, for example, but I feel the “climate change” issue is used to frequently as a political tool to intimidate people with opposing viewpoints.”

    I wish I knew more people like you all…the climate changes are natural..thats what the earth does regularly. Ice ages, tropical ages..etc. Its what it does. Yes, we are doing plenty of wrong things..but we did not change the climate.

  • gguy: I agree – a house divided against itself cannot stand! As for Dianetics – it was controversial but not to same extent as the items here – I would have put it on a top 20 though.

    Tenebrae: I appreciate what you are saying though I also didn’t want the list to become overbalanced with religious items – and I KNEW someone would raise it anyway :) Someone always does!

  • rushfan

    There are people like you and I out there, miriah, we just need to be more vocal. :)

  • Blue Freshman

    I’ve got a pan in the oven right now for him.

  • Blue Freshman

    I guess I spent way too long reading the comments. I’m a little behind with my comment.

  • Maheahlaurus

    green – One of the ramifications of Sept 11th was the monitoring of certain organizations and literature published and sold in the U.S. In fact one of the first laws of the Patriot Act was to monitor certain books deemed dangerous to the public. It has been a few years since I read up on this stuff, but controversial books were marked by the government as potentially dangerous, and anyone who bought these books or checked them out of the library were flagged. Sounds conspiracy theory-ish, but it’s true. One of the first groups that spoke out against the Patriot Act when it first came out were librarians because it infringed on their reader’s rights. Libraries do not have to specifically tell you that someone has asked for you information either. Now they have signs posted in libraries that state that at any time government officials can check your records.

    I do not remember how many books are blacklisted, but I know it exists. I took a class or two in college on hate groups and terrorism, and this was covered. Essentially this is just suggesting that these books are harmful.

    Hope that clears up a few things.

  • miriah

    Would love to sit down with a person like you Rushfan and debate. Would be a fun time…spirited and would end in a drink :)

  • green: we like stalkers :) And yes – there is reason to add the Quran to this list – but I gave my reason for not above :)

    Oh – and I am very impressed that everyone is reading the comments before commenting – enjoy it while it lasts – I am sure it won’t be happening once we get to 500 :)

  • miriah: in my experience the best debates START with a drink :)

  • rushfan

    miriah ~ are you anywhere near Texas?

  • Tenebrae

    jfrater: Could have tag teamed as a tie – Bible/Qu’ran ;)

    green: There’s supposedly a list of books that are earmarked by the FBI as being of interest. The rumour states that if you purchase one of these said books, you will be red flagged by the FBI and observed through the duration of your life as a person of interest.

    The rumour is based around the Big Brother conspiracy that the gov’t is watching everything you do. It’s rooted in anti-gov’t paranoia. Supposedly, certain books will keep the FBI’s eye on you as a possible terrorist threat.

    However, as fascinating as that seems. It would be a bit difficult for the gov’t to track every individual who purchased or downloaded certain books. Not to mention if someone were a serious threat, would they use their real names? Credit cards? Other traceable information? Unlikely.

    It’s a fun paranoid theory that gives people a sense of dangerous titillation when one purchases one of these “naughty” books. It lends a sense of importance to one’s existance. As if somehow, now you’re so compelling the government wants to watch YOU because you decided to purchase “Mein Kampf” for a WWII book report.

  • rushfan

    jfra, you stole my line :)

  • MPW

    i’ll drink to that

  • JT: Thanks for the info, now I know ;)

    As for the comments being a chat section, its isn’t the first time :P

  • miriah

    Agree Jfrater…lets start drinking! hehe

    And no Rush…all the way accross the country :( In Pennsylvania.

  • Tenebrae


    Sorry but the “List of Books flagged by the FBI” has been circulating for decades. At least in the McCarthy era and probably before even that. The fact that most people cannot locate said list should be a ‘red flag’ as to the veracity of the list itself.

    As I said, it would be far too difficult to actually track people buying/reading/downloading said books. Not to mention how many of these books get passed around. How can the government truly know who is reading or buying them? Sure, I can give them my name.

    But I might do it with my fingers crossed.

  • gguy

    RE: #8

    Isn’t it amazing how many people want to believe all these conspiracy theories and cover-ups? I am still astounded at the number of people I encounter who are convinced “The Davinci Code” is a true story and that Dan Brown has some privileged information.

  • green

    Start and end with a drink- heck, throw one in the middle too

  • MPW

    sparkling cider that is:)

  • gguy: that is one of my pet peeves – I even did a list about it!

  • miriah

    In response to the ‘consiracy of flagged books’
    Its not a conspiracy..its the Patriot Act.
    For example:
    ‘Warning: although Santa Cruz public library makes every effort to protect your privacy, under the federal USA Patriot Act records of books you obtain from this library may be obtained by federal agents,’ it reads. ‘Questions about this policy should be directed to Attorney General John Ashcroft.’

    No, they dont track your every move…but if they see your name pop up under buying large amounts of fertalizer with the Ancharists Cook Book then they might investigate. No need to track with the data bases there are now adays…the computer does all the connecting.

  • miriah,green: Its only natrual for humans to get all paranoid when something like climate change happens and almost every scientist and politician blames it on us.

  • Maheahlaurus

    Tenebrae – It’s not that the government monitors EVERY single person that gets these books, but they do start monitoring people if they become suspicious. As in, if you start buying chemicals to make explosives and have no affiliation with anything to make explosives you become of interest. Then the government will start looking into your background for other suspicious things…such as the books. When the professor I took for the classes took a class herself in her PhD work everyone in the class underwent an extensive government background check. The government is more paranoid post-Sept 11 than you might think.

  • lost 654

    anarchist cookbook?

  • gguy: Haha true, I know a few people who claim they are christians and believe in Dan’s “version” of events.

  • Maheahlaurus

    Mirah: Thanks for you input :)

  • green

    so I should redo my garden and read the anarchist cookbook at the same time, huh?

  • Csimmons

    MPW: you will drink anything

  • Ok I’m a little behind here, what the hell is DDT?? Medicine?

  • Maheahlaurus

    lost 654: It’s a book telling you how to make small explosives (that yes can kill you) and harvest/extract/chemically create illegal drugs.

  • miriah

    The Anarchist Cookbook
    The Anarchist Cookbook, first published in 1971, is a book that contains recipes and instructions for the manufacture of explosives, rudimentary telecommunications phreaking devices and other dangerous and illegal items, some with merit and some dangerous if even attempted

  • Randall


    You’re hitting a little too hard and fast on the Horus/Mithras/Jesus parallels. No, they aren’t as specific as some have made out, but they can’t be offhandedly dismissed, either.

    I’m very short on time, unfortunately, though if necessary I can return to this topic later. But the bottom line is, there is a sort of “mythic resonance” in these characters that lines up. And not just between Jesus and Horus, or Jesus and Mithras. Jesus has parallels in various fertility gods going back to prehistory. The problem is when people get carried away with it and start to get too specific. Nevertheless, the parallels are fascinating and… interesting.

  • miriah

    Ahhh I just made a bunch of friends…lets meet in the middle of the country and get drunk and debate!!

  • Maheahlaurus/miriah: See, there’s a difference between “A list of books that will get you flagged”, which has been an ongoing conspiracy theory for decades that predates the Patriot act; and a series of actions deemed suspicious enough for the government to look into.

    Simply purchasing a certain book isn’t enough for the government to eyeball you. Buying a controversial book and subsequently taking other actions (buying lots of fertilizer, weapons, odd components, odd financial transactions, etc) would garner government interest.

    I’m pretty sure I would get some raised eyebrows if, while living in the middle of urban sprawl, I decided to buy Mein Kampf, Anarchists Cookbook, and several hundred pounds of fertilizer. :)

  • green

    DDT is a chemical pesticide widely used (and credited for) the eradication (sp) of malaria from the US following WWII. It’s use was later banned largely due to the controversy started by “Silent Spring”

  • green

    tenebrae- what scares me is the fact that the government can find out if i purchase those books, fertilizer, or weapons.

  • Csimmons

    green: whats silent spring? I’d Google it but I’m far too busy watching fight club for the 50th time today

  • green

    no need to google, check out number 4 on the list

  • Oh and miriah, I know exactly how paranoid the US gov’t can be. When I was in the Navy, we had internet access for gov’t email, etc. On our free time we would sometimes use those computers to surf the internet. You can bet your sweet bottom that certain sites did get people in lots of trouble.

    It was very well known that every thing we looked at was monitored on a daily basis. People got in trouble for things as banal as looking at porn (at work, on a gov’t computer? GG dumba**) and looking at extremely controversial sites spouting racism.. like s*********.org. People recieved jail time for that.

    While that’s not happening in the civilian sector, I am sure word of that has gotten around and fed the conspiracy theorists and paranoia of Big Brother.

  • JT

    Randall: Obviously, some parallels do exist, but none as substantial as people who propose Christ myths suggest. Richard Carrier is perhaps the best Christ myth scholar and he dismisses Horus offhand, while Mithras is more interesting, but one must be careful to differentiate between the Persian mithra and the Roman Mithras, which alot of people don’t. Generally the mythological similarities to Jesus, chock up to: unnatural birth, teacher, disiples, miracles, death-and-resurrection. Most of these are far too broad to make any meaningful comparison, while closer analysis on others indicates only superficial similarities. That is not to say that many myths in the gospels weren’t inspired by other previous myths, but I am simply trying to dismiss the copycat Christ mythers.

  • green: Realistically speaking, they can only find out if you’re making no efforts to hide it. If you use cash only and pseudonyms, they can’t. How can they trace someone without a name? With nothing to connect your actions, they wouldn’t even know to look.

    For example: If I order some books online, using PayPal with false information.. send it to a PO Box that isn’t traceable to me. Then head to Home Depot to buy fertilizer, using cash only and giving fake info to the cashier. How can I be traced? It really isn’t difficult to fall off the government map, if you REALLY want to.

    However, if I’m using my own name, address, and credit cards for all of these things – of course I can be traced. I’ve basically left a day-glo trail of my actions. ANYONE can look at my transactions, not just the government.

    If one is paranoid about being tracked, one should really stop using currency, internet, and any other media which leaves your specific fingerprint behind.

  • Jfrater: are these people giving you with their addresses to send them their gifts? i ask because i want to try it with my visitors in my blog but i’m afraid they think it’s a fraud!

  • JT: I thought they were the same… Can you explain the difference?

  • Csimmons

    tassadar: its legit, I’ve won a prize off of here, nothing bad has happened to me

  • JwJwBean

    Non-fiction can be fact based books, but they are also fairy tales, folklore, poetry, plays, and joke and riddle books.

  • i’m not saying that it’s not, i just wonder if there’s a way, i don’t know, to send a gift to someone without requiring personal information.

  • tassadar: I only get the email address to start with – once a winner is picked they give me their street address for posting the prize. It works very well – and as long as your readers trust your integrity, you should have no problem.

  • chershey

    I LOVE that the Bible is a part of this list. My favorite book is Leviticus. Not only does it contain a frequent part I’m sure we’ve heard from homophobic protesters, (18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”) but it also says if a man and woman have sex while on her period they should be shunned, (20:18, “If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has discovered her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from her people.”) and that one cannot wear poly-cotton blends. (19:19, “do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear material woven of two kinds of material.”) I mean, how fucking funny (er, controversial) is that?! (Not included are one can’t eat crustaceans, insolent kids should be killed, one can’t eat pork, etc.)

  • green

    sorry to post a “chatty” comment, but man people suck sometimes! I’ve been yelled at by clients about stuff that’s not my fault too much today! Where are those brownies?

  • rushfan

    what do you do, green?

  • green: you can post chatty comments – the rules are just to stop people posting repeated comments with no regard to the list or others just to win the prize :)

  • MPW

    almost anything.

    we should start our own fight club

  • spinks

    I’m an atheist and I call The Bible non-fiction. In literature, fiction doesn’t simply mean ‘made up’.

  • Christine

    chershey – why would a man want to sleep with a woman when she’s on her period anyway? i think that’s gross and i’m a girl!

  • SlickWilly

    I just find it kind of off-putting that a 13-year-old kid would be making weed jokes. You shouldn’t be doing that at your age, Csimmons. Oh, and, hows about reading the list before commenting on it? :)

  • Csimmons

    MPW: I’m Tyler Durden!

  • rushfan

    christine, not to encourage this topic, but you’re unlikely to get pregnant, so that appeals to lots of guys

  • Csimmons

    Slick: had a blonde moment, and I have been around people who were high

  • Csimmons

    and the smoke kinda got me buzzed

  • web design company

    “Unfortunately” ddt was banned. It was the reason Eagles and other birds sat on the brink of extinction. Downmoded for lack of research.

  • Csimmons

    oh, and Slick 14 year old thank you very much

  • Christine

    rushfan – that’s true although technically a girl can still get pregnant when she’s on her period. I just think it’s messy!

    Interesting list though, I haven’t heard of a lot of these books.

  • “web design company”: erm – and now malaria is killing millions of humans instead of birds. Good compromise – not.

  • incidentally everyone – I just wanted to let you know that we are now running on three servers and a load balancer – instead of two servers! All the bugs with commenting should now be gone.

  • Csimmons

    really? can you apply spell chck plse?

  • MPW

    a jokes a joke but to me in doesnt matter how old one is, weed is illegal to all, except people who use it as medicine

  • Aaron

    I’m not entirely sure I would call the bible non-fiction, though many would call it so, and I’m not neccesarily disagreeing with that, but I think it really is a book of debatable non-ficition-iality.

    Though to be fair, all of these books were published under the label non-fiction, though many of them were, for all intents and purposes, fictional.

  • Non-fiction means giving out facts and information, rather than stories, poems, plays, etc. Honestly, that would negate the Bible from being non-fiction as it’s FULL of stories, parables, and poems. Whether some of these stories are based in fact is rather irrelevent. You can have a story “based on a true event”, but it’s still considered to be fiction.

    Side note Christine, I am ashamed I couldn’t let this go. It’s only ‘gross’ if you’re one of those squeamish types who freak out about a little blood. Some people don’t mind it or find it gross. And it’s not just the ‘less chance of pregnancy’, for some women it actually feels better during ‘that time’.

  • Kreachure

    jfrater said:

    “green: you can post chatty comments – the rules are just to stop people posting repeated comments with no regard to the list or others just to win the prize :)”

    My point exactly. Many here have already had long conversations about things that have nothing to do with the list. To those who are actually discussing the list and its subjects, thank you.

    To the ones who are not, enjoy the book.

  • rushfan


    dude. it’s a book. he’s not giving out freakin’ gold doubloons. we’re not all in a mad scramble to stay in constant contact with each other in the hopes of winning. although it really sounds like a cool book :)

  • Mom424

    Csimmons; I’ve told you before that your too young for weed/weed jokes. Call again when you’re old enough to drink.

    The point about the Horus/Jesus comparison was not to take each one literally, but the overview has many similarities. And other ancient cultures have virgin births, and great flood stories, and stories of being consumed by animals and barfed out. They are all too similar to be dismissed.

    Here is a little less biased link to a jesus/horus comparison, with notes to let you know which ones there is debate over…
    (Interesting that it is a religious tolerance web site)

  • Joss

    This list is simply fantastic. I’m adding each book to my list of future readings. Thanks!

  • JT
  • rushfan

    I would add anything written by Ward Churchill to this list.

  • JwJwBean

    310. Tenebrae – June 12th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    “Non-fiction means giving out facts and information, rather than stories, poems, plays, etc.”

    If you go to the library religion is in the 200’s, Folklore is in the 398’s, 811’s in the non-fiction section.

  • JwJwBean

    oops 811’s is poetry.

  • MPW

    if it were only gold doubloons *sigh*

  • has everyone on listverse tried weed? :O

  • Schiesl

    I’m Suprised that Darwins work did not make this list…that is very controversial.

  • Randallphobia

    I read Hitler’s Pope, & I thought that it was crap. My copy was buried in a box for 3 years until I found it (coincidentally enough) yesterday when it was taken to a used book store.

  • JwJwBean – Boring as it sounds, I was just reciting the definition. :(

    WarningDontReadThis – Doubtful, but many of those who have love to make it public for some reason. Especially if they’re in the 13-19 age bracket.

  • Arabella

    No matter what kind of book you write you’re always going to piss someone off!

  • Tenebrae: Tell me about it.

  • Russ

    I was glad to see the bible included as well. No matter what your religious beliefs you can’t deny the amount of influence it has, be it good or bad.

  • MPW

    i used to be a pothead back when my life was shit but the weed only made it worse so i quit before it led to harder drugs, unfortunately the same cant b e said for my three older brothers. now their lives our ruined.

    it wouldnt surprise me if everybody here has tried weed at least once.

    i joke about it but in reality i would rather have nothing to do with it.

  • MPW

    my brothers would bring the scummiest people imaginable.

    i recall on one occaision they had a friend over who stole and sold some xbox games from some druggies and they sent a guy with a gun to our house and he attempted to break but somehow we prevented him from getting in

    i always thought that friend of theirs would get himself killed one day.

    two years ago he was struck by a car and died several days later it was ruled an accident but i had my suspicions.

  • MPW

    whenever i tell people my stories they are always amazed that i am able to speak of such horrifying events with such comfort.

    i usually just say “Hey I survived, im still alive so why let it bring me down years later.”

    plus i enjoy talking with people:)

  • Diogenes cares.

    screw the competition. let’s all pitch in and purchase all of the above from Amazon and have a good ole fashioned book burning!
    who’s with me?
    begin with a chant in low murmer, then slowly rising in crescendo:
    burn burn burn.

    except for the bible, because WE ALL then would burn.
    Then again there isn’t just ONE “bible” , as all groups and cliques and cults and underground dwellers of the apocalypse and backwoods survivorlists MUST have a “bible”.

    I sort of remember skimming through “The Population Bomb off somebody’s shelf once. What’s wrong with it excactly to garner such a declaration as one of the “most harmful books of the 19th and 20th century”

    DDT may be banned but aren’t extremely harmful insecticides still being used? Wasn’t there a chiquita bananas incident more recently?

  • rushfan

    I admire your strenth, mpw

  • MPW

    rushfan. I try:)

  • MPW

    oh yeah, any luck with the forums

  • Diogenes cares.

    I mean isn’t this what the global human entirety is doing. letting the starving continue to starve? Are there less or more today? I know I feel rich when I walk home with a jug of wine and crappy chinese take out.

  • MPW

    some people care unfortunately not enough

  • Diogenes cares.

    Along with “The Hoax–” theres the Leuchter Report, of which the film Dr.Death concerns. I haven’t read either but the film is worth thinking and talking about.

  • rushfan

    MPW ~ I’m in!!

  • Diogenes doesnt care anymore.

    of coarse MPW, some just wanna win a book

  • Diogenes

    oops, correction. Mr. Death is the movie about Leuchter, Dr.Death is Jack K.

  • me

    This is a list of most controversial nonfiction books, right? So why is The Bible on the list? It’s a work of fiction.

  • Mav

    ooo good list.
    Lists like these strike up great conversations.

  • Diogenes

    me- but it’s held as a book of non-fiction(or is it symbolic interpretation?) for those that use it within their religion and there are levels of fiction and non fiction in everything. I am of the thought within the moment of artificial intelligence creating a program that will compile “all and everything” into a goopy whole that then can be translated by any and all users.

  • MPW: Wow that sucks, nice to see you’re able to talk about it though :) You do seem like a chatty person ;)

    (That was a compliment by the way!)

  • berto

    Great List! The only book I have read is “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” which was required reading for a History seminar class on the holocaust I took my senior year at UC Santa Cruz. It is a very compelling read and makes a solid argument about German complicity during WWII. Our professor grew up in Germany as the son of a US military man and is someone I consider to be one of the smartest men I’ve ever met. So whether or not it is controversial, I believe it.

  • Davo

    the bible is fiction. unless people believe in talking snakes. And if this were a clever world, Richard Dawkins wouldn’t have to write books like the god delusion (it should be painfully obvious to everyone that god doesn’t exist.) the fact that there is debate over the bible bewilders me.

  • Melissa

    One non-fiction that has created very interesting conversations with many people would be “Return to Middle Kingdom” by Yuan-tsung Chen. From the sweeping arc of history to the invaluable nuggets of gossip from the drawing rooms of Peking (Beijing) and Canton, Chen’s story of the birth of modern China unfolds like a great 19th century novel.

  • JimmySchaps

    Diogenes cares: wooohoooo, book bonfire!!!!

    Which of these are banned in the UK?

  • MPW

    im very chatty, since theres never a soul to talk to at home, i gladly talk to you nice folks

    it suckED, i also learned a lot from those experiences

  • mecho

    Thanks a lot for including Silent Spring in this list. I recently had to write a dissertation for school and my topic was pesticide regulation, where I found out about the regulation of DDT. If only more people knew what the regulation of DDT led to (essentially the complete malaria boom in the late 1960’s in India and surrounding countries) they would be completely disgusted by Rachel Carson, her views and the book that launched the environment movement.

  • MPW

    congratulations rushfan:)

  • A Million Little Pieces was really controversial too but it wasnt exactly nonfiction. It was partly fiction partly nonfiction. The exaggerated truth.

  • Dr.Rockzo

    It’s rather mystfying to see people arguing whether or not x,y,z book belongs here. These are all controversial and these are all presented by their authors as truthful.

    My only disagreement with this list is that I can’t believe that they didn’t include Kinsey’s “Sexual Behavoir of the Human Male”. This book blew the lid off of 50s society and lead directly to the acceptance of homosexuality that people have today.

  • MPW

    Dr. Rockzo, that should be an honorable mention

  • Dr.Rockzo

    A Million Little Pieces was not that controversial compared to the other books on the list, which are still being vehemently argued about in the media 5+ years after they were published.

  • Logar

    Great list. I would include “The Greatest Generation” just because it pisses me off so much. Where do they get off? I think a generation should be judged by the actions of the following generation. If that’s the case, then it should be titled “The shitiest generation”.

  • Csimmons

    MPW: never heard of it, whats it about?

  • Dr.Rockzo

    Not to mention “Sexual Behavoir of the Human Female”. The author and most of his associates have insisted that all or nearly all women are bisexual (or have the potential to be, if they released their inhibitions).

    Obviously, I wouldn’t know if there’s any truth to this.

  • MPW

    what he said:)

  • Csimmons

    Dr Rockzo, only one way to find out….

  • Dr.Rockzo

    One wishes that modern society would treat male bisexuals the same way it treats female bisexuals…

  • MPW

    and that would be…??

  • MPW

    i could care less about sexual orientation

    after 19 years i just found out my twin brother was gay.

    he thought i was going to be mad but i was like so what you’re still my bro.

  • Ghidoran

    At first I thought that no.1 was a different book or parody of the Bible ://

  • MPW


  • SarahJ

    MPW #360. You have a twin brother and you didnt know he was gay – Just wow! I have boy/girl twins and I hope when they grow up they would know without being told!!

  • SarahJ

    oh and great list by the way!!!!

  • MPW

    there was never any indication of it, he acted just like me we did everything the same, he would even make jokes, i guess that was his way of hiding it from me and he hid it well.

    besides like i said i could have cared less if he was gay or not

    oh yeah, he also had sex with our female neighbor…my ex

    i appreciate your sensitivity though

    does the j stand for jerk

  • astraya

    I’m an Aussie in Korea, so I vote against bombing NKorea or Australia.
    I have read half of one of these books. I wonder how many people have actually read any of them. A lot of controversy stems from what people say a book says, rather than what it actually says.
    I’ve lost count of the score in the “Bible: fiction or non-fiction” match. Has anyone been counting?

  • smac

    I’ve only read portions of three of these books – numbers 1, 3, and 4. I don’t think I’ll ever finish any of them. Those books are a waste of my time.

  • MPW

    how about Kim Jong Il’s mansion?

  • SarahJ: Just because people are twins, it doesn’t mean they have some amazing mystical psychic connection which makes it so they can never, ever have secrets from one another.

    Why the hell would you even WANT that for a child? That would be monsterous, I think. Imagine having NO SECRET THOUGHTS OF YOUR OWN. You WISH that for your children?

    Not to mention, that was pretty damned rude of you to say to him. You inferred that he and his twin were somehow inferior twins because they actually had thoughts/minds of their own.

    Good luck raising your Borg twins.

  • Vera Lynn

    All I can say Is “Wow.” Joining too late.

    MPW: We were told to get a room. OK by me!

  • MPW

    sounds like a good idea

    its been quite a day

  • MPW

    so how has your day been going so far Vera?

  • Vera Lynn

    Tell me about it. My school has no AC. It was 91 today. Have to take a shower. Wanna come? :)

  • SarahJ

    haha, I was actually meaning that I hope my children are closer than you and your brothers sound! and now you have said that he had sex with your ex (apart from ewww!!)and the neighbour being female well I guess you wouldnt have had a clue

    Tenebrae – you also read much into what I said

  • MPW

    its hot here too but not 91, but its been about 110 in past summers.

    to answer your question….YES!

  • MPW

    Sarah we were young at the time.

    you know nothing about how close we are so you should probably let it go

  • MPW

    there is nothing funny about the situation Sarah

  • SarahJ

    I dont need to let it go. I was just letting you know what I actually meant rather than what you thought I meant. I certainly dont know how close you are

  • Vera Lynn

    It was only 88 here (only) but in my classroom, much hotter. As I am sure you are, MPW. Gonna go shower now. My imagination runs wild. Good nite, MPW.

  • SarahJ

    Yes there is MPW – your overeaction to my comment made me laugh

  • MPW

    how was i overreacting i only told the truth

  • SarahJ

    the j for jerk comment said it all MPW

  • MPW

    Vera Lynn, good night, sleep well.


    i love a woman with a vivid imagination.

  • MPW

    your comment was rude and you sounded like a jerk

    like i said i was being truthful

  • SarahJ

    Ok well you are truthful and sound very sensitive and I am rude and sound like a jerk, lets leave it at that

  • Vera Lynn

    MPW You are right, and she wrong. Be heathly and safe. We tease, but blood is blood. You know what is right.

  • Celso

    Just found an error: ‘The Bible’ should be in a list featuring the FICTION books that screwed up humanity. ;)

  • MPW

    Vera, thank you:)

    Sarahj, glad you see it my way

  • Vera Lynn

    Good night for real, MPW. Be well. I look forward to tomorrow. Again, you are important. Be well.

  • CRSN

    It’d take a year for me to read the comments, but the only book that i can think is missing (and sorry if this is a repeat)”The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”

  • MPW

    SarahJ, just relax,im not angry and im not sensitive about this topic.

    sorry for calling you a jerk. I mean it

  • MPW

    once you have a taste of MPW you want more and more:)

    you are important too. talk to you tomorrow

  • MPW: Wow again, seems like you’ve led a pretty interesting life. How old are you? *just wonderin*

  • MPW

    Warningdontreadthis, i’ll be twenty in December

  • I feel a bit dirty when I read the comments Vera and MPW send each other, I can’t be the only one :D

  • SarahJ – You’re coming across like a judgemental snot. He’s not being sensitive. There’s a reason you were the target of retaliatory remarks, not MPW. Just apologize and act human. It’s not difficult.

    Celso – That’s been mentioned several times in the comments, including comments by yours truly. ;)

  • MPW: Birthday around christmas, that must suck or am I wrong..?

  • CRSN

    Warningdontreadthis – (sorry, could be botherd putting the capitals in) yeah, MPW and Vera use it like chat, but it is an open forum, it funny when you go through old lists and see them chatting.

  • MPW

    i bet when people read our comments they think “i didnt know this what that kind of site”

  • I hope birthday around Christmas isn’t too terrible. I’m due on the 25th :/

  • CRSN: I know, I always feel like a bit of an outsider. There are a few listverser who even though they talk to the rest of us have in jokes and stuff, makes you feel like it’s their personal chat room. Not that I mind, I find it amusing to read them. :P

  • MPW

    it doesnt suck, i get presents for both days and i share my birthday with my bro and my mom

    we were her birthday gift.

    i would never make my kids choose between birthdays and christmas….if i had kids

  • Tenebrae: Do you get twice as many gifts? I’ve always wondered.

    MPW: I just keep thinking, those two need to meet up. Stuff will happen.

  • CRSN

    Warningdontreadthis – i agree in total, i come to work and read listverse and see them chatting or sending quick message, then i go home to my shitty wireless that takes for ever and their still talking.

    Vera and MPW – Are you guys at work? only asking because i see you guys in the comments constantly.

  • MPW

    warning, i have to admit my interest is peaked

  • MPW

    i use a laptop so i have easy access

  • CRSN: Haha, imagine if they become the first listverse couple or something. xD

    MPW: I bet it is, I’ve never read any one write goodbye to each other like you and I remember that at first you argued and now…

  • CRSN

    Warningdontreadthis – how would that work, i mean legally, and what if there was a divorce, who would get access to the child (Listverse) would they only be able to access it seperatly? or could there be joint custody?

  • MPW

    Warning: yep, i realized i was wrong so i apologized and now were friends.

    unfortunately, we live so far apart. i live in California and she lives in Illinois:(

    i’d love to meet her if i could

  • MPW

    CRSN, you are funny

  • CRSN

    MPW – Dont worry, i feel so isolated living on the West Coast of Australia, most of the other cities forget that we exist, most of my relatives are on the other side of the country, there are some pro’s and con’s i guess.

    if this posts a second time, i’m goona be pissed.

  • CRSN

    im gonna get back to work, ive been procrasternating (that looks so wrong) for the last 5 hours. catch in a while.

  • MPW

    i live near Los Angeles and those people seem to think nobody else exists

    isnt the West coast of Australia mostly desert?

    what time/day is it there?

  • MPW

    it is 10 pm thursday here

  • MPW

    good night everybody

  • SarahJ

    MPW my intention was not to be rude, I apologise to you if that seemed like the case. Jfrater is my brother I would not post something here to intentionally hurt anyone.

  • CRSN

    alright, last one then i got to do some work:

    good night MPW.

    OK, OK, 2 THEN.

    Warningdontreadthis – yeah, mostly desert, Western Australia is the biggest State in Australia, the south west coast is nice and green with patches of dryness, the northern part of the state is the most unforgivable part of australia, and at the moment, thats where a lot of young people are moving too, to work in the mines, worst off up there is $1000 per week wage, but because of the mining boom, renting a shitty little weather board built in the 40’s can cost as much as $800 per week, so i’m smart enough to stay south in Perth than spending aroung70% – 80% of my wage on rent.

    and yes, it gets bloody hot, think the exact oppisite on New Zealand.

  • CRSN

    TRUE, jfrater has a sister, well i’ll be f&%$#ed.

  • SarahJ

    haha he has two sisters and two brothers :)and hi from NZ

  • WAIT A MINUTE!!!! Sarah J you’re jfary’s sister and isn’t kiwiboi his brother?? Family ties on listverse. I freakin love it.

    CRSN: I’d love to visit Australia sometime, but my vision of the country is strongly influenced by “crocodile hunter” xD

  • SarahJ: You must be proud, listverse is amazing. The guy is a genius!

  • CRSN

    Warningdontreadthis – sorry, that last comment was for MPW, I’ve got around (let me count them) 12 windows open for the work im doing, and as soon as an email notification pops up, everything goes haywire on me, not the computer, MY BRAIN.


    Sarahj – hi from WA, I bet its nice and cold in NZ at the moment. i originally come from the Northern Beaches of NSW, so hopefully i dont sound as arrogant as a west australian

  • SarahJ

    yes Kiwiboi is one of our brothers. I am incredibly proud, he is a genius – I agree!! Actually I am incredibly proud of all my family

  • SarahJ

    it is lovely here at the moment CRSN, it is 15 degrees here in Wellington cool but not too cold – not that it gets too cold here in Wellington, just windy.

  • SarahJ: I bet you’re all really creative. He was an oprea singer right. Pretty cool to go from that to listverse MASTER! Are there for fraters on listverse?

    CRSN: So I’ve been forgotten then? Allright… :(

  • CRSN

    Warningdontreadthis – unfortunatly, that is how the outside world perseves us, from what the australian public see’s of how our country is advertised i.e. the crodile hunter and co. we generally cringe, we are normal (except for that third testical) people just like the New Zealanders (wait for the jokes to start rolling in, get your countries right first peoples)

    nah, just normal beer drinking, V8 driving and hard working.

    are you from the Us yourself? or elsewhere?

  • Uh-oh! Where’s Cyn? Double comment alert.

  • CRSN: I live in Norway, on the other side of the world. But I’m not norwegian myself. I think its funny that some people think we have polar bears everywhere.

  • SarahJ

    WarningDontReadThis Yes Catriona and J.Coustark are family. There are certainly some creative fraters!

  • WarningDontReadThis and SarahJ: and don’t forget Kiwiboi – he is our brother.

  • SarahJ

    I said that a bit further up jfrater :)comment 423

  • CRSN

    Warningdontreadthis – i can understand, so many times i have been asked by an American tourist “were are all the kangaroos? dont you guys use them for transport?” my general reaction is “nah, there outdated technology, ever been out on a bush road and seen them on the side of the road, dont worry, its not road kill, the engine broke down or it ran out of fuel”

    funny yanks, got no idea at all.

  • Jfrater: My master there you are *worships*

    Does the entire family live in NZ?

  • SarahJ

    There are a couple of us in the UK :) Kiwiboi being one

  • CRSN

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Jfrater got told by his sister BWHAHAHAHAH!

  • CRSN: haha, use them for transport. I don’t believe you! Trust me the yanks aren’t the only ones who are a little predjudice. How many times haven’t I met people who think I’m gonna marry my cousin or something((I’m from Iran).

  • midknight

    CRS:many times i have been asked by an American tourist “were are all the kangaroos? dont you guys use them for transport?” my general reaction is “nah, there outdated technology, ever been out on a bush road and seen them on the side of the road, dont worry, its not road kill, the engine broke down or it ran out of fuel”

    Why do all the stupid Americans have money to travel and I don’t. It so on fair. There are so many place I want to visit because of the cultural and historical importance and I stuck here in the State.

  • SarahJ: He is so lucky, I can’t understand how any one would wanna leave England. *hints to jfray*

  • CRSN: Settle down. Hyper much?

  • trigster

    I’m agree the Bible is number one, without a doubt.

  • CRSN

    arningdontreadthis – yeah, bloody incestoius polygamists, we have an island for those kind of people, its called Tasmania, there state motto is”the family that stays together, sleeps together”

    Midknight – well, i dont know what your dollar is worth, but the australian dollar is worth aroud 97 cent in the US, thats the best in 20 years, i’m trying to save up to go to L.A. with my partner in the next couple of months, then planning on going to the middle east, i’ve always had this wired interest about those countries, and the pot theat they have is the Afgahn Kush from the Hindu Kush Valley, the most potent dope in the world.

  • SarahJ

    he is luckier to be back here in NZ with us. What would be wonderful is if the others came back home too :)

  • CRSN

    Warningdontreadthis – nah, dont hyper, just go through different channels/forums. too busy most of the time.

  • SarahJ

    oh I better go, its tea time here and my husband and children are hungry. You must have cars in Aussie then seeing as you dont use Kangaroo transport anymore CRSN, and WarningDontReadThis, so who do you marry if not your cousins? haha goodnight, was nice chatting!

  • Yeah gotta go too, and I’ll be gone for a couple of days. Finally a break from the web.

    I’ll miss you all, don’t write toooooo many comments now, oh who am I kidding I expect to read a few thousand by the time I’m back.

  • ac12

    Very good list.

    I was also surprised to see The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin not make the list. Another good one that could make the list is A Moral Reckoning, by Daniel Goldhagen but I guess it’s too much like Hitler’s Pope. Either way, great list.

  • scaramouche

    I’m glad I’ve never read some of these books, they sound terrible! I guess you can’t believe anything these days, tv or novels!

  • Jules

    I have written this elsewhere this morning but what the hell, here goes again because the Bible is being puported as non-fiction yet again;

    I just thought I would add a comment or two to this debate. My understanding and recollection of the Bible and all its works is that the first page has always been mis-interpreted from the original Greek. I am led to believe by several scholars that in fact what it should say is;

    “For my darling life partner Hercules and our love slave Norman”

    “All characters, character names and artwork displayed are © of Greek Love Entertainment. The names of all characters are fictitious. Any similarity to a living or dead person(s) is coincidental. Any similarity between the events in the book and real life situations are purely accidental.”

    Also for all of you New Zealanders and Welsh people out there I would like to introduce you to the largest web dating portal catering to your needs.

  • stormy617

    Rushes in from work very very late damn all the brownies are gone but I brought my awesome bong. So lets fill the bowl and pass it around.

    Just take care everyone this thing is very very good and if you are not careful you will blow your lungs out. And make sure you are sitting down cause this thing is known to cause massive head rushes!!!

  • CRSN

    Jule – Mate i’d be creful with the sheep jokes, jfrater and co. will most likley kick your arse.

    I’m Australian my self, so i prefer cows, but i’m partial to sheep too.

    try this site for your needs:

    then again, why bother with a cousin, when your whole family live in the one trailer together, you could have a mass orgie.

  • Jules

    CRSN: dont know if you have clicked on the link, suggest you try it out!!!

    Actually we never considered the Aussie market for sheepfinder dot com. Probably no pretty sheep there.

    I am Welsh by the way, so if a girl is not good enough for her family she wont be good enough for me!!

  • CRSN

    Jule – fair comment, didnt look at the link, probably wont, too busy, but if you could pass onto the CEO’s of the sheep site that there is a big market for sheep in australia.

    and at least we wont be subjected to reality shows like “Farmer wants a wife” because deep down (if you’ve seen the show) we know that a farmer in the middle of the out back doesnt want some pommy slapper whinging and whinning at him 24/7 – so the sheep option is better.

  • stormy617

    Jfrater, SarahJ, Kwiwboi, Catriona and J.Coustark: Correct me if I am wrong but hasn’t your mother also posted comments on here from time to time. I am thinking that her LV handle is Maman or something close to this.

    And Just Curious is J Coustark your other brother??

  • stormy617

    Ro regarding your comment: “Why the hell do you gotta be a registered user?
    I can’t take all that trouble to register.

    Just as all the other book lists in this site, this is fantastic stuff.”

    I am pretty sure, and dont quote me on this because i am not trying to presume that I know all of Jamie’s reasons for doing these competitions, that one of the reasons for this is to encourage people to register for his site.

    It is not really all that much trouble to register it takes just a few minutes actually!!!

    I myself won an awesome 9 disc set of the Alien Quadrology and it is an awesome set. It includes two different versions of all 4 movies and over 50 hours of bonus material. It is an awesome addition to anyones video collection.

    JayNu Rules!!! All hail the mighty Jaynu!!!! LOL

  • Ruffnekk

    Nice list, although the title doesn’t fit most of these books, since many of them are actually fiction — but I guess that depends on one’s opinion.

  • stormy617

    Edit: Quadriligy not Quadrology.

  • SarahJ

    stormy617 Oh I forgot, our mother has posted as maman, and J.Coustark is our dad :)

  • stormy617

    Oh ok i thought that I had read that your mother has posted on here and didn’t she contribute the list of three ingredient recipes?/

    I don’t comment very often on here but i read every list and try to read every comment and I remember little things like that LOL

  • SarahJ

    well you have a better memory than me then heh. I dont post often (sure doesnt look that way today!)

    And yeah she did contribute the three ingredient recipes – good on your memory!

  • stormy617

    LMAO……..I guess that just goes to show that being a life long pot head does not cause memory loss LOL ;)

  • thomas

    Are any of these books translated in Dutch? (except for the bible)

  • Banaas

    ok. I really dont care iff you dislike the bible, but to put it on number one? Infront of a book claiming the killing of millions of Jews was a myth??????????? Explain this to me.

  • My first comment on this site is going next to a very angry person.
    Banaas: No need to be angry. No body is saying it a bad book but it is a highly debated one and that’s why on the top spot.
    JFrater: I love your site. I have spent last 3 weeks in reading all the lists on this site and finally I have reached upto this latest one.

  • Banaas: the Bible has been controversial since its inception 2,000 years ago (older for the Old Testament part). The holocaust happened 60 years ago. Big difference no? This is not a list criticizing the books – it is rating them by controversy. I don’t say the Bible is bad – I don’t say it is good – I say that much controversy has occurred around it. Getting angry about my placement makes you look insecure in your beliefs.

    pankhudi: Welcome to the site! I am impressed that you read that many lists in such a short time – that is over 200 per week! Phew!

  • stormy617: You are right of course – My mother also posts – using the nickname Maman. That means that all but one of my immediate family post on the site :) 6 out of 7 isn’t bad :)

  • longball

    wow…that is alot of comments to read. i agree with the bible being the number one disputed and controversial book ever printed. i also agree with earlier posts that the koran should be included. I havn’t had the opportunity to read any of the others yet. :-( and that awesome that your whole family supports you.

  • Rocknopera

    Cool list. Thanks for not taking any gabs at us creationists… It was refreshing.

  • green

    apparently I missed a lot last night!

  • miriah

    Wow!! I went home from work..and this morning there are over 100 more comments!

    308. Tenebrae
    Yes it does.

    And MPW
    I have plent of family horror stories as well. Good for you that you picked your self up as I did.

  • Kreachure

    Jamie: 6 members of your family post here? WOW!

    Now I feel like I’m an uninvited guest to your home-page! :P

  • Ah! You beat me too it. “Bible…Nonfiction…Bah!”. Are there any brownies left?

  • Silarulz

    I dont see the Quran up there?

  • Loose_Cannon

    Without a doubt, ‘Silent Spring’ has had a direct result in more deaths then any other book on the list. The American Council on Science and Health estimates the world-wide death rate from the hoax portrayed in this book at between 30-60 million people.

    I am equally surprised as anyone that the Quran is not included, as it has given rise to the most troublesome scourge of our times: Islamic-Fascism.

  • jpx

    I thought that the “Origin of the species” would be on the list it has caused so much division amongst the church and schools as well as giving another perspective to creation.

  • deepthinker

    I love lists about books. With the exception of The Bible, I have not read any of these books. These kind of book lists make me want to read them all, to draw my own conclusions about them. I recently purchased “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand because of all that I have read on this site about it. I like radical ideas, and I like to read philosophy, even if it is something that I disagree with. I am curious about the opinions and thoughts of other people, and why they have the convictions that they have. I guess my husband was right- I really do just love to argue!

  • Ro

    Yo stormy617,

    The beauty of listverse is its simplicity.
    Registration mars some of that.

    Okay,fine I’ll register now.

  • D Holmes

    J Frater.

    That book only caused it to be banned in the U.S., where DDT almost caused the national bird the Bald Eagle to go extinct (since its ban, the Bald Eagle is no longer endangered).

    However, DDT is still PRODUCED in the U.S., thus it is still sent to Africa where the moquistos grow immmune to it. The real problem with malaria is that most people don’t realize that it IS the biggest killer of people in Africa, not AIDs.

    There is so much hooplah over AIDs, people donate all of this money to an as of now incurable disease. Whereas malaria vaccines only cost (American) pennies. Worse so, all of that money going to AIDs will not go to the only real way to help prevent AIDs; which is safe-sex practices. But that can’t happen because of the Mexico City Policy, otherwise known as the Global Gag Rule. Instituted by Reagan, removed by Clinton, and re-instated by Dubya, this policy makes it so that ONLY abstinence is taught in Africa. This policy cuts off a lot of funding that would go to contraceptives and the teaching of condom use. Thus, there are MORE illegal abortions (50% of the time, there is permanant damage or death to the woman). Hmm… but aren’t conservatives like Regean and Bush AGAINST abortion (guess they didn’t/ don’t realize they are causing more of them)? Yeah, if we can’t even teach our own teenagers abstitnece, what makes us think that we can convince an ENTIRE continent.

    Whoops, sorry for the rant.

  • Well, the Holy Bible may be controversial, but it should not be included with these other books. The Bible and its teachings have done more good than the harm that many of these other books have perpetrated. If you are going to place the Bible on this list, then you should also include the Koran. The 9/11 attacks stem from misreadings from that book, and I’d say that’s pretty damn controversial. In fact, why not put any religious book? Why not “Dianetics?” Why not “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?” The author should have thought this through a little bit more.

  • Nexusandroidsix

    I have read “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” and the author makes a rather good point about there having to be a thriving situation of racism to exist, for something such as the Holocaust to happen. If his research methods are sound however, I am not sure. He seems to take a few pieces of data and not cross reference them enough. He does not suggest in the book though that all German’s were racist, just that hatred of the Jews, not only in Germany but in Eastern Europe, was commonly held and dominant value in the early part of the twentieth century.

  • deepthinker

    Banaas- I don’t think this list is about which books we should “dislike”. Even being a Christian, I still think The Bible should be number one on this particular list… it really is the most controversial non-fiction book ever. Even though I have not read the other books, I think it makes sense to place it at number one. The other books will long be forgotten, and The Bible will still be argued. As long as mankind has the freedom of thought, there will be people against it, and there will be people for it. The debate will thrive forever.

  • Ro

    It says that my email is already registered, how can that be ?
    See, that’s why I avoid all these registrations.Get my point?

  • deepthinker

    HulkSmashNow- “Dianetics” is not non-fiction.

  • green

    Hulk- As a person of faith *what faith, who knows, but the Bible plays a part* I have to point out that the Bible HAS caused MANY horrific actions: The Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, heck early Christians were thrown to the lions. Christianity has been the justification (whether for or agaisnt) for many horrible things

  • green

    JFrater- I was surprised not to see a work about Scientology on the list? Is this because you’ve dealt with it in other lists? Because we were trying to remain objective? Or because non of their works is well-known enough to cause enough controversy?

  • kim

    same list as yesterday? Dont understand……..where is todays list??

  • JAKE

    In my opinion i believe there is no such thing as a fiction book. Every idea for every story ever, has been yielded by someone’s personal experiences or thoughts therefore the story’s plot and characters have actually come to happen in real life

  • That guy

    JAKE- you prove a good pont, however i do believe that book have to be fiction sometimes, some stories are just crazy

  • JAKE

    also i think mein kamph should have ben on the list because everyone considers it to be very controversial

  • Eleutheria

    We read Hitler’s Willing Executioners in history class. Yes, it’s very controversial, mostly around how Goldhagen conducted his research.

    Interestingly, when it came out, many Germans said the book was cathartic.

    Certainly it is at least half true – when the machinery of death is state-run, you can expect quite a lot of people to know about it.

    This is also the mirror argument against the 9/11 deniers – if the 9/11 events had been orchestrated by the government, quite a lot of normal people would have been complicit.

  • boaby

    Oh my goddess!! I didn’t expect over 400- comments here!!!!

    Wow I guess that this lowers my chances of actually winning the book (not a big book fan but lists rule).

    Good luck to all.

    Oh and since I just made this account to win the book ( I don’t really leave many comments here) I’d like to thank the ListVerse team. I only know of JFrater or something like that. Thanks for making this site. I hope it gets bigger and bigger until there are multiple lists everyday. I feel sad when I finish reading the list for the day. Thanks guys n gals.

  • blacksunshine

    Great list. Kinda interested in buying quite a few of the books on this list.

  • MPW

    good luck boaby:)

  • I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find I’ve read almost every book on the List.
    Of course, in a pinch, I’ll read the cereal box at breakfast.

  • joe legge

    fantastic list. is it wierd that i now want to read some of them to see what all the fuss is about?

  • Loose_Cannon: I felt the Qu’ran and the Bible should share top spot. I find ultra-conservative, right wing radical Christians to be just as frightening as fascist Islamics.

    For those that may be insulted by that, I am referring to those who fly the ultra-conservative Christian banner and are involved in such wonderful things as – Abortion clinic bombings, groups such as the KKK, protesting at FUNERALS for fallen soldiers, the lovely “god hates fags” crew, etc.

    Extremists from any religion are terrifying.

    segue: I’ve read the toothpaste in the bathroom, so I feel ya. ;)

  • jfrater: thanks for your help!

  • PinkMonkeys

    i took a sustainability class this past year at my high school, and “Silent Spring” was always being praised for changing so many people’s minds, and how it helped saved so many species that were being affected by DDT. in that environment, in a class full of students who cared only about the well-being of the earth, it never occurred to me that the boom in malaria might have been caused by the cesation of the use of DDT. thanks for posting such a great list

  • PinkMonkeys

    also, when i used to go to public school we weren’t allowed to discuss the bible. living in utah, though, all schools have a seminary where mormons are free to discuss the book of mormon

  • S_R


    Acts 5:
    35Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

    And despite myriad attempts to do away with Christianity and the Bible, they have both continued and, in fact, thrived. What’s the best selling book of all time? The Bible.

    Anyone who brings up the tired argument about what the OT says about things like blended fabrics and stuff (as someone did farther up) has no understanding of the Bible’s message, is ignorant and just takes scriptures they’ve found restated elsewhere (out of context) making the same tired argument and has not read it for himself, or is just plain trying to stir up trouble.

    And, while there have been atrocities committed in the name of the Bible, the majority has been by the Catholic Church in its never-ending quest for power and wealth. True believers know that Jesus preached love and forgiveness… Something about turning the other cheek, giving double to those who ask of you, caring for the poor, living moral lives; in fact, the whole of His teaching is summed up nicely in the greatest commandments:

    Love the Lord your God with all your soul, mind, heart and strength. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    Horrible, huh? Definitely a teaching that out to be destroyed, mocked, and simply not tolerated.

    Finally, let’s get it right: the majority of homosexuality opposers–notice, it’s the act and not the person that’s being opposed–are not homophobic (which implies fear), but rather disgusted by the acts. OK? OK!

  • kiwiboi

    That book only caused it to be banned in the U.S., where DDT almost caused the national bird the Bald Eagle to go extinct

    D Holmes – that is a total myth. Even the US Fish and Wildlife Service has now stated this.

  • S_R: Ahh, somehow I knew it would come to this. Many of the groups/extremists I had mentioned were not and are not Catholic. The KKK is vehemently opposed to Catholicism. The “God hates fags” group is not Catholic. The group that stands up and insults families, as they stand by the graveside of their fallen sons/daughters, are not Catholics.

    Honestly, by denigrating the Catholic faith you’ve only proven the point that the Bible is controversial and divisive. Catholics are Christians too and follow that self same Bible, yet you’re more than willing to castigate them, deride them, and throw them under the bus as horrific and terrible people.

    So much for “judge not”.

    Live your own words – you, yourself just said “Love your neighbor” then proceeded to belittle an ENTIRE sect of Christianity. That’s hypocritical, cruel, narrow minded, and sad.

    And you say the Bible ISN’t controversial or divisive? That’s ALL the list proclaimed. Hell, you should be thrilled it was listed as “Non-Fiction”. Many people here disagree with even THAT.

  • S_R: Ahh, somehow I knew it would come to this. Many of the groups/extremists I had mentioned were not and are not Catholic. The KKK is vehemently opposed to Catholicism. The “God hates fags” group is not Catholic. The group that stands up and insults families, as they stand by the graveside of their fallen sons/daughters, are not Catholics.

    Honestly, by denigrating the Catholic faith you’ve only proven the point that the Bible is controversial and divisive. Catholics are Christians too and follow that self same Bible, yet you’re more than willing to castigate them, deride them, and throw them under the bus as horrific and terrible people.

    So much for “judge not”.

    Live your own words – you, yourself just said “Love your neighbor” then proceeded to belittle an ENTIRE sect of Christianity. That’s hypocritical, cruel, narrow minded, and sad.

    And you say the Bible ISN’t controversial or divisive? That’s ALL the list proclaimed. Hell, you should be thrilled it was listed as “Non-Fiction”. Many people here disagree with even THAT.

  • S_R


    I meant to add in my previous post that I am not arguing the Bible shouldn’t be on the list, because I know it should be. In fact, I agree it should be #1. Jesus, himself, said it would divide people. Also, I meant to add that when I say the Catholic Church, I don’t mean the average, everyday Catholic who truly desires to worship God and live a moral life.

  • Sidereus

    Great list. I have mixed feelings over whether any books should ever be banned. Certainly they can be very harmful, like other media, but who’s to judge?

    Glad to see the Bible on there. Though we may not all agree with what the Bible says or doesn’t say, hopefully we can at least agree that it’s controversial!

  • Gman

    Excellent job keeping this list objective. Some seem to be overlooking the fact that the title of the list is “Controversial” Books. Not untrue or ‘bad’ books. That is left to the reader of the list to decide for himself.

  • Congratulations to Logar for comment 353 – he has won the prize for this list! I will be emailing you to get your info for posting the prize out.

  • MPW


  • logar

    I’d like to thank God, my agent, the academy, and my mother. And jfrater.

    You’ve got a great site- and I say that not because I’m getting a free book.

    I was going to buy a lotto ticket today, but it looks like my luck has just run out.

  • MPW

    great speech logar

    i bought a ticket yesterday and one 10 dollars

  • MPW

    WON not one

  • Cubone

    WHY, OH WHY do non-believers insist on spouting off “the Bible is fiction”?!
    Is there a drive in some people to insist on saying that?
    I do not believe in the Qur’an, but I do not insist on saying it’s not true at every opportunity!
    What’s up with you pseudo-intellectual fight pickers?

    Had to get that off my chest.
    Great List!

  • Cubone

    and thank you Tenebrae-

    S_R . . .do some learnin’ before you preach!

  • There are so many things to say, I barely know where to start.
    No way will I be able to include everything, or even remember everything I wanted to say. So, in no particular order:
    1. It’s not strange to have read this list and suddenly have a desire to read these books. It is a sign of curiosity, which is quite often linked to high intelligence.
    2. Fiction is not true, made up. Non-Fiction is true, factual.
    3. A Christmas Birthday is fine. My eldest child was born on Dec. 24, her best friend on Dec. 25. No biggie. We just made sure she had a special day of her own despite the overlap.
    4. The Qu’ran is extremely similar to the Bible. Try reading the two side by side (better yet, include the Torah and read all three), and you’ll be surprised at how much we actually have in common (barring extremists from any group).
    There’s a lot more, but you’re all bright, you get my drift.

  • Csimmons

    what were the odds?!?!?!?!? one off again! holy hell this one big curse! give me some damn brownies!

  • MPW

    segue, #3 depends on the parents

  • MPW

    Csimmons, better luck next time pal:)

  • Mortivore

    Cubone, #512: People feel the need to insist that the Bible isn’t real because they really think it isn’t. It just bugs some people that what they consider fiction is number one on a non-fiction list. Would you have left it unsaid if JFrater had put the Qu’Ran up there instead? I don’t think so… But that’s just me.

    I know what ya’ll mean about stereotypes… I just said ya’ll. Yeah, I’m from Texas. But I don’t wear a ten gallon hat, ride a horse, wear boots (Well, I wear motorcycle boots, not cowboy boots), own land, wear wranglers, spurs, listen to country… The list goes on, yes? I always have people ask me on the internet “Why do you still ride horses when cars are so much faster?” Makes me laugh. Although the weird looks I get when I say ya’ll is kinda annoying. Truth be told, I wear motorcycle boots, black jeans, and usually a T-shirt covered in skulls of one type or another. It’s pretty amusing.

  • Csimmons

    well the bible is part fiction, people from it were real, but the things that happened, no, they did not happen.

  • MPW

    you mean to tell me that Noah never actually put two of every animal on a handmade wooden Ark for 40 days and nights, while it rained nonstop

    I’m speechless………….

  • Csimmons

    MPW: I was too, I planned to build an ark at a very old age, put two of every animal from every continent, and sail with my kids and wife for 40 days, but then I met reality….

  • MPW

    tell me about it, reality is a cruel bitch

  • Csimmons

    yeah, fuck reality, but a man can dream, a man can dream…

  • MPW

    dream on my friend dream on

  • Sheldon Roy

    I, myself wouldn’t classify the bible as non-fiction

  • MPW

    Why not

  • MPW: The Bible doesn’t say Noah put 2 of every animal. He put 2 of the unclean animals and 7 of the clean ones. :P

    I think there’s even a list on here stating that…

  • ****
    516. MPW
    segue, #3 depends on the parents
    Don’t I know it! That’ why I put in the caveat about making sure she had her own special day, quite apart from Christmas…though, I must say, that her ego was quite intact. Until the age of 4 she was convinced that all the hoopla was for HER!
    Now that’s a child who knows she’s loved.

  • I’d like to address the Bible as Fiction v Non-Fiction for a moment.
    Having attended parochial schools for 13 years, K – 12, I’ve had more than a little bible teaching in my life.
    The upshot of the teaching is this: many of the stories in the bible were written as parables; tales to make a point to a less sophisticated, less educated populace. As much of the new testament was written years after the death of the man named Jesus, some of the actions attributed to him were written by men whose knowledge was second hand, so some of it is to be taken with a grain of salt, though the words of Jesus are (somehow) to be taken at faith value (yes, I said that on purpose).
    It wasn’t that liberal back in the late 50’s, early 60’s. At that time it was all pretty much just as God had dictated it.
    Then, of course, we had the Baltimore Catechism! If you have never been taught this particular book, I don’t know whether to congratulate you or pity you. It certainly is a life changing book.
    Take that any way you want.

  • MPW

    tenebrae, sarcasm my dear, sarcasm

  • Boniface

    Why did you put the bible in the list? I thought the list was for “non-fiction books” only.

  • ****
    328. Diogenes cares.

    screw the competition. let’s all pitch in and purchase all of the above from Amazon and have a good ole fashioned book burning!
    My son’s High School was a magnet school for the highly gifted only. All the classes were A.P. (Advanced Placement; college level classes), and the kids studied like crazy all the time, so they got stressed and all believed they needed to work even harder because everyone else was somehow smarter than they were.
    I realized how much they required a stress reliever, so the day after the last A.P. final was over I had my son invite all of his friends over to the house, and had them bring the book which caused them the most stress for “a good old-fashioned book burning”, followed by swimming and a barbecue.
    We burned the texts in the barbecue, and I have to say, you could watch the stress flowing out of those kids like water out of a hose, even though I would NEVER ordinarily condone censoring or buring a book (barring certain forms of pornography). Word of the event got back to the school, with kudos from the A.P. department, and horror from the main school.
    I followed this regime every year. The kids, their parents, and the teachers supported the event.

    Like I said, I’ve read most of these books, and most of them aren’t worth reading.

  • D Holmes

    Kiwiboi, it is not a myth. The bald eagle did see a very steady incline. DDT is not directly fatal to the bird, however once it gets into the bird’s metabolism, it causes all of its eggs to become very brittle. So when the mother goes to cover her eggs, she squashes them. Worse, they only have one to three eggs per year (and even if there are three, its rare for all of the chicks to learn how to fly).
    DDT wasn’t the only problem, but it was one of the main. In fact, since the banning of DDT, their population has risen.
    DDT is not only harmful to the enviroment, but bugs can become immune to it. Its a lose-lose situation.

    The people who call it a myth are the same people who call climate change a myth. Pro-business people.

    Again DDT is still MADE in the U.S., just not used. Trust me, I did a lot research on this topic for Public Debate. The topic for last year was public health assistence to Sub-Saharan Africa and Malaria was covered A LOT.

  • kiwiboi

    The people who call it a myth are the same people who call climate change a myth. Pro-business people.

    D Holmes – that is a laughable and ridiculous statement.

    And whilst nobody is saying DDT is 100% safe (same as most chemicals), it is relatively harmless. What is known is that DDT was not responsible for eagle mortality rates or shell-thinning.

    Here’s something for starters :

    “US Fish and Wildlife Service biologists fed large doses of DDT to captive bald eagles for 112 days and concluded that DDT residues encountered by eagles in the environment would not adversely affect eagles or their eggs, according to a 1966 report published in the Transcripts of 31st North America Wildlife Conference.

    The USFWS examined every bald eagle found dead in the United States between 1961 and 1977 (266 birds) and reported no adverse effects caused by DDT or its residues.

    One of the most notorious DDT myths is that it thinned bird egg shells. However, a 1970 study published in Pesticides Monitoring Journal reported that DDT residues in bird egg shells were not correlated with thinning. Numerous other feeding studies on caged birds likewise indicated that DDT is not associated with egg shell thinning.”
    [ ]

    In fact, since the banning of DDT, their population has risen.

    You need to do some research on both your topic and on statistical causality :

    “As early as 1921, the journal Ecology reported that bald eagles were threatened with extinction 22 years before DDT production even began. According to a report in the National Museum Bulletin, the bald eagle reportedly had vanished from New England by 1937 10 years before the pesticide was used widely in agriculture.

    Just as incredibly, by 1960 20 years after the Bald Eagle Protection Act and at the peak of DDT use the Audubon Society reported counting 25 percent more eagles than in its pre-1941 census. US Forest Service studies reported an increase in nesting bald eagles, from 51 in 1964 to 107 in 1970, at a time when DDT was still being used all over the United States, according to the 1970 Annual Report on Bald Eagle Status.” [ ibid ]

    Trust me, I did a lot research on this topic for Public Debate.

    Where? Silent Spring? And, as in most matters, I prefer to trust my own judgement…which goes double when people say “trust me” ;)

  • ringtailroxy

    uhm… I just took a college Environmental Science course and the thing with ANY chemical in the environment is not that direct contact is very bad-it’s the accumulative effect of feeding on things that have an accumulation in their bodies over a lifetime. As far as I was taught, just last semester, the women’s breast milk is so contaminated with such things as DDT, PCB’s, dioxin, trichloroethylene, perchlorate, mercury, lead, benzene, arsenic. Toxins such as PCB’s and DDT can remain in living tissue for DECADES, and even be passed on to another generation via breastfeeding! Makes me want to put a skull and crossbones sticker on my tits…

    SO let’s see…

    Mr. & Mrs. Eagle have been eating fish from River A that has heavy runoff from a local residential area that is regularly sprayed with DDT. So all the tasty things eagles like, such as fish, snakes, squirrels, and rabbits have a build-up of these toxins in their muscles and organs, accumulated over the prey’s lifetime of eating contaminated foodstuffs and drinking contaminated water. Therefore, over the lifetime of mr. 7 Mrs. eagle, these toxins from DDT have a higher ratio in the predatory species as opposed to the prey species. When Mr. & Mrs. Eagle mate and have eggs, those chicks are actually born with DDT in their bodies already! SO now Mr. & Mrs. Eagle feed their growing eaglets the same food they eat from the same DDT contaminated sources. When those eaglets leave the nest and find their own mates, it is highly likely that they will also have high concentrations of DDT in their bodies, contributing to high mortality for young eaglets and week shells.

    something like DDT affects on eggs and young cannot be assessed by a 112 day experiment. And yes, the eagles where already in species decline, due to hunting and habitat destruction. Whenever a species reaches a certain threshold, and the relative individual numbers may still seem high, the species may reach a state of unsustainablity and any natural disaster, disease, further habitat loss, or pollutants can weaken the species further.

    remember- the current head of the EPA is Stephen L. Johnson, who Bush nominated because he would push the “Clear Skies Act” thru congress, which actually will allow dirtier skies in certain areas…
    see here

    but enough of that.

    Global Warming is Real… but we are not the soul cause of it… and it is highly unlikely we will have any impact on it now. We will just have to evolve,adapt, and that is that.

  • kiwiboi

    uhm…I just took a college Environmental Science course

    Well, gee. Have you shared your superior insights with those US Fish and Wildlife Service biologists? I’m sure they would slap their foreheads in shame and tear up their PhD’s in light of what you learned on last semester’s “environmental science” course. And then poor old “Mrs Eagle” can start blaming DDT for those thin-shelled eggs again – instead of the calcium deficiency et al that was most likely responsible.

    Roxy, notwithstanding the fact that chemicals do, indeed, generally have a persistence in the food-chain, DDT is now widely acknowledged by the experts as being relatively harmless and certainly not responsible for eagle mortality. Even with humans, the Lancet (British Medical Association journal) had an article not so long ago referring to a scientist who has demonstrated the effects of DDT on humans (ie. virtually none) by regularly eating a teaspoon of it during lectures on the topic.

    Why not do some original thinking and research for yourself? The information is all out there.

    Makes me want to put a skull and crossbones sticker on my tits…

    Or an “out to lunch” sticker on your forehead.

    Global Warming is Real…but we are not the soul cause of it; and it is highly unlikely we will have any impact on it now. We will just have to evolve,adapt, and that is that.

    And thanks for clearing that one up too. Makes me wonder what all the controversy is about.

    Why not try a semester of Pure Math next, so you can solve the Riemann hypothesis or Goldbach’s conjecture ;)

  • ringtailroxy

    wow, kiwiboi! i have always held your opinions and comments in high regard… and i still do! yes, i may only have 1 semester of basic environmental science… but i also know that if there is one constant in science it is that there are always new ideas, theories, hypothesis, and answers cropping up all the time.

    i also know that one, or two, or even three studies does not make a hypothesis real. i believe that many environmental government offices, including the US Fish & Wildlife Service, are grossly underfunded. which may mean that conclusions are drawn before the very scientists doing said experiments are satisfied with their results-because the US Government IS.

    my father is a seismologist with the USGS and he has been having a hard time of it getting funding for the past 10 years. his theories and research is often barreled over by other scientists, sometimes with more education but less true world experience, because they are chummy-chummy with a bean counter or department head or even (yikes!) an elected official!

    i do not believe i was being snide, but your response was a bit underhanded. i love a good debate, and i might be wrong, but i am willing to admit that for the time being no man-made toxins are SAFE for any living thing in the environment.

    slightly hurt but woman enough to take it… and able to be respectful and polite about it too..


  • R

    Oi, it says on like page one of The Da Vinci Code that the book was based on fiction, not fact.

  • kiwiboi

    Roxy – what do you really expect when you oppose my point of view without offering any specific counter-argument to the scientists/studies I quote (including those of USWF officials) and add an inane inference that political conspiracy is involved. And all on the basis of a semester’s studies. All of which is fine. Unsubstantive and pointless…but fine.

    And I’m not denigrating your semester’s work in “environmental science”, btw…but read how you started your first posting; (the supercilious “uhm…” certainly set the tone).

    Moreover, if you think that you can escape a comeback from me when you offer an extremely patronising little parable about “Mr and Mrs Eagle” whilst trying to explain the foodchain in terms that most 11 year olds would find condescending, then you are mistaken.

    I notice that your response to me still continues with this anecdotal tone that, to be frank, adds absolutely nothing to the debate. As to whether your father is a great scientist or otherwise, I haven’t a clue. I’m sure he is (and being originally from NZ, I have great respect for seismologists); but all of this conjecture about needing to be chummy-chummy with a bean counter or department head or even (yikes!) an elected official! in order, as a general rule, to get science published sounds like a foolish conspiracy theory. As does the underfunding comment about the USWF.

    i do not believe i was being snide, but your response was a bit underhanded

    Nobody is saying you were trying to be “snide”. Your response was shallow and patronising and so I bit back. “Underhanded”? – not at all. Blunt – yes.

    slightly hurt but woman enough to take it…

    Good for you. I would not set out to upset you needlessly (and I can assure you that I feel foolish myself getting heated over an entertainment list on the internet).

    and able to be respectful and polite about it too..

    Well, maybe it is the vagaries of the written word that hides this element of your comments – to me, the first posting read as being very dismissive and condescending.

    And, Roxy, believe me…if you had presented a solid case in opposition to my view, I would afford it every respect and maybe even change my own opinion. I’m not an expert on the DDT-effect on eagle mortality – but I’ve certainly read the prevailing views of those who are.

  • Bob

    Oh, that old bugbear of Martin Luther “removing” scripture! A lot of mileage to be had out of that one, isn’t there?

  • rushfan

    kiwiboi is my hero

  • ringtailroxy

    very well said! as I mentioned earlier, I always enjoy and respect your posts!
    I WILL do further research on this topic… but I feel that your reference of
    a little narrow minded. not that YOU are, just that this entire website is, well, very pro Homo Sapien and pro-little-else concerning the environment. i am often disenchanted by our species blatant “speciesism” above all other living things in importance.

    I am ordering the book, Eco-Imoperialism, from this week after payday and will read it. However, I by no means ever allow one publication to alter my views-but I also acknowledge that to be a fully informed individual, I must educate myself on all points of view, even if I disagree with them. Because as Carl Sagan said…

    “it seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between 2 conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypothesis that are served to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it though to you. You never learn anything new. (this (which I am learning right now how to do, in part, do to your encouragement)

    On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish useful ideas from worthless ones. If all ideas have equal validity, then you are LOST, because then, no ideas have any validity AT ALL.”


    p.s. i am still learning, as we all are… and the one thing i can honestly say is that the more i learn, the more i realize i really know nothing at all.

  • kiwiboi

    Roxy – you are correct that the site I quoted is not exactly without its biases, and right to mention this (apologies for that, I should have pointed it out myself, as I usually would). Actually, I had not been there before, but of the 2 studies I was specifically searching for google gave me that site, and as they were on the same page I opted for convenience. Having said that, I often enjoy reading the views of the more radical adherents to various issues (know thy friend / know thy enemy etc.)

    As for the Eco-Imperialism book, if you’re a student don’t feel you need to spend you hard-earned money on a copy, as there is plenty of free information on the ‘net, as you know.

    Your sentiments about being aware of more than one point of view is one after my own heart! If you haven’t already read it, you should put Richard Feynman’s book “Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman” on your reading list; aside from being a totally off-the-wall (in a good way) type of guy, the book is full of fascinating insights into the life of one of the true modern scientific geniuses. And the reason I mention this is that one of Feynman’s most endearing qualities was his ability to retain an open mind and then cut through the BS and get to the issue…by using science. He also worked on the first atomic bomb, won a Nobel Prize, enjoyed cracking safes, and sketching nude women in strip joints :) Everybody I have recommended this book to has loved it. (Sorry to bleat on about this if you have already read the book).

    Excellent quote from the great Carl Sagan, BTW. Have you read Cosmos? An eminently readable book.

    Anyhow, Roxy..sorry for being a little harsh with you, and thanks for taking it so graciously.

  • I’ve been reading the DDT-related comments with interest… and now I have some questions for the DDT/Silent Spring critics (Kiwiboi, ringtailroxy, D Holmes etc):

    Why is it that people focus so much on the issue of whether DDT was good or bad? Why argue over the past? DDT is banned in most places now, correct?

    Even if it was un-banned, wouldn’t it cause enough controversy (can you imagine the protests?!) that it would be simpler and more effective to develop or promote an alternative that doesn’t have the same emotive response DDT has?

    Surely in the 60 years since DDT was first used as a pesticide someone has come up with a better idea?

  • I define my last question:

    “Surely in the 60 years since DDT was first used as a pesticide someone has come up with a better idea?”

    A better idea = one that achieves or surpasses the goals of DDT; controlling typhus/malaria and as an agricultural pesticide.

  • dr. Hannibal Lecter


    “What’s up with you pseudo-intellectual fight pickers?”

    I love it how everyone who disagrees with you is a pseudo-intellectual while you are obviously The Real Intellectual(TM).

    Great list BTW, most of these would surely be an interesting and/or amusing reading material.

  • kiwiboi

    Why is it that people focus so much on the issue of whether DDT was good or bad? Why argue over the past? DDT is banned in most places now, correct?

    Tempyra – Yes, it is still widely banned – though, interestingly, not in most places where malaria is a problem. Also, the World Health Organisation itself now promotes the prudent use of DDT in risk areas.

    The issue as to “whether DDT was good or bad” surfaces because there are many people of the view that millions of lives were/are lost to malarial (and related) diseases unnecessarily (based on the premise that DDT is not nearly as harmful as Silent Spring and environmentalists suggest). It does have to be said, though, that Silent Spring was not the sole cause of the controversy, and nor can it be said that DDT is 100% safe; current scientific thinking is that it is relativey safe.

    Even if it was un-banned, wouldn’t it cause enough controversy (can you imagine the protests?!) that it would be simpler and more effective to develop or promote an alternative that doesn’t have the same emotive response DDT has?

    Absolutely. There would be huge protests, especially as the environmental movement has grown considerably in recent decades, and people are much more receptive to environmental issues. But also note my comment above (about DDT not being as “banned” as some might think).

    Surely in the 60 years since DDT was first used as a pesticide someone has come up with a better idea?

    Yes. There are a number of problems, not least being safety concerns. Similarly, alternatives are by their nature much more expensive, as they tend to be patented (DDT is not).

    Bear in mind, too, that – notwithstanding one’s view of DDT – like any pesticide there is a good probability that its effectiveness will erode due to rapid adaptation on the part of mosquitos and other pests to its effects.

  • Thank you for answering my questions Kiwiboi :-)

    I didn’t know that DDT isn’t patented. And I imagine that any company that developed a viable alternative would prioritise their profit margin ahead of human lives (maybe I am being overly cynical?) thus making it harder for countries severely affected by malaria to implement and easier for narrow-minded environmentalists to oppose.

    Setting aside the issue of whether people are currently at risk from DDT, surely it’s unproductive to argue over its use in the past? It just seems to me that people are more interested in playing the blame game with regards to DDT/all pesticides than discussing what can be done NOW.

    Oh and is it true that malaria is most common in equatorial regions, which would make it overlap with the area where genetic modification occurrs the fastest (tropical climates = faster generational turn-over) and so DDT/pesticide resistance is most likely to happen in the worst place for it? Does that make sense? Haha… I should look it up myself :-D

  • kiwiboi

    Tempyra – I think that any DDT-specific debate is possibly largely redundant now. In fact, I wonder if it tends to raise its head these days when books/issues such as Silent Spring are mentioned? And the most problematic malarial areas seem to be confined to the African continent, where high levels of poverty (national as well as individual) contribute to its persistence. Not to mention if, as a nation, you need to choose between buying food or buying chemicals…you probably choose food. But, this is merely conjecture on my part.

  • kiwiboi

    sorry..typo :

    In fact, I wonder if it only tends to raise its head these days when books/issues such as Silent Spring are mentioned?

  • ringtailroxy


    i would like to call you “kiwiman” from now on… this discussion has really been a joy and I am glad we have engaged in it!

    Because I am a college student is why I only order books from instead of going to Barnes & Nobles or Borders… I used to spend 50-70$ a month on books there prior to school… but after I began going back to school 2 years ago as an adult student, luxury items such as books, food from only Whole Foods Market, weekend trips to the Keyes,and going out to dinner once a week had to be nixed in my pursuit of higher learning. Now I realize that all the jokes about college students and Ramon noodles have credibility…

    I was under the impression that many people in Australia and new Zealand get their education payed for by the government? Here, I can only afford Community College, (which does offer a nice education…) I spend around $6,000 a year on tuition, with another $1400 easy on books a year. My friend goes to FAU and he spends $35,000 a year on tuition, is 30, and lives at home with his parents. I have another friend who is a Dentist that lives at home with her mother because she pays $1400 a month in student loans, which is 1/4 of her monthly income!

    It’s almost ridiculous… and here in Florida, since all the uneducated voters wanted lower homeowners taxes, they voted with the republicans, and now public schools are laying off substitute teachers, janitors, school psychiatrists, and the state has fired over 12,000 librarians!

    Local libraries now have reduced hours, local parks are not being maintained as well, and the saddest of all? The protected county nature reserves and parks have abolished their ranger programs and a private security firm, Waccamaw, is in charge of the park now. These “toy cops” have absolutely no knowledge of the native flora or fauna, may of them cannot speak English well enough to communicate in any tangible way, and the deterioration shows to those of us who are more than occasional visitors to these parks and recreation areas.

    I had predicted that the media was showing only a very narrow view of the house-tax issue, and never once showed what the communities of Florida would loose. It was almost as if voters thought the government would still be able to afford all these things without question, as it always had been. Now people are boo-hooing about it, and all I can say is I didn’t vote for the homeowners tax to be cut, because I saw everyday the modern conveniences and enhancements our communities had because of it. Where did they think the money for such things where going to come from?

    whew… sorry about that. the reason for this whole tirade is that i just found out that there will be an 8% hike in tuition this fall, and then another 2% hike during Winter semester, for an overall 10% hike over the 2008/2009 school year! that’s an additional $600 I need to produce, and my pay rate hasn’t changed in almost 2 years!

    hope the local government in NZ is much more geared to helping those in poverty, or lower middle class, get a foothold and rise in economic status, instead of forcing millions of people to stay where they are and continue to be the gas station attendants, McDonald’s workers, and other low-income jobs so that those with more privilege and opportunity (i.e. money) can have an easier life at the expense of others.


  • Heh… I studied in NZ so I can tell you the government ‘sort of’ pays for your education (if you’re a New Zealand citizen) by heavily subsidising it (about 50% I think, not sure) and giving relatively low interest student loans to cover the rest of your tuition costs. It’s not a bad deal, typical study costs are $6,000 (~$4500US) to $10,000NZD per year I think – mine were $8,000 (Bachelor of Applied Science, environmental major lol) – and they don’t charge you interest while you study.

    My problem was finding a job I liked after I finished. I couldn’t and promptly contributed to New Zealand’s overseas ‘brain drain’ problem.

  • I made a mental typo ^ my study costs were more like $4000NZD/year, not $8000! Thank god…

  • Actually, I completely screwed up ALL the numbers in comment 552 and doubled them all… sorry.

  • ****
    543. kiwiboi …(contents edited *only* for space)
    *Richard Feynman’s book “Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman”
    …And all of Richard Feynman’s other books. While some are more concentrated on one or the other of the Maths, they are all filled with glorious visions and tales of his own life, and some suggestions (I’m unsure one would call them warnings) of what could come.
    Also, while we’re on incredibly intelligent mathematical/metaphysical minds with the ability to make an almost impossibly difficult subject available to the lay reader, give Freeman Dyson a read. He is a gifted Physicist and a talented writer.
    *Carl Sagan, BTW. Have you read Cosmos? An eminently readable book.
    After devouring Cosmos, read each and every Sagan book, including the ones he wrote in concert with Ann Duryan. He gives us not just a perspective of our place in the Solar System, or in the Universe but, in a very different, very touching sort of way for a scientist, our place between each other. Not between human and human, if you read carefully, and read ALL his books, but between human and the creatures we share this planet with.
    I could give you at least half a dozen brilliant biologists to read as well. The list above will keep you busy for some time.
    Get back to me when you’re ready for further ready on biology. Do I have a list of names for you! And when you’re through with those, how about a bit of Anthropology, or Paleontology to help flesh out the larger picture?
    Did I ever mention I’m a reading/knowledge junkie?

  • kiwiboi

    Roxy – I’m glad you enjoyed our conversation, despite the rocky start :)
    I did too.

    It sure sounds like a struggle having to give up on some of life’s little niceties in order to study; stick with it…it’s well worth it (not that you need me to tell you that).

    My university days are well behind me (I did an undergraduate degree in literature and my postgrad work was in finance). I’m a CPA by profession, but have spent nearly all of my working life in stockbroking and banking. I shudder to see what it costs for higher education these days; I went to university in NZ (I live in London now) and it was not only free, they paid me an allowance! And I just took this for granted at the time.

    Have you decided on your major subject yet? Or what you want to do when you complete your studies?

    As for the “kiwiman” thing – funny you should say that. I used the “kiwiboi” nick to play a prank on my brother (jfrater) when I first posted on ListVerse, and I’ve just stuck with it by default. I really should think of changing it ;)

  • kiwiboi:
    Funny you should be thinking about changing the nick. I actually have a long-standing affection for the term “boi”, as opposed to “boy”.
    To me, boi is a term of endearment, a chum, a fellow one knows one can always count on, play with, cry with.
    Maybe it’s just me.

  • rushfan

    **I shudder to see what it costs for higher education these days; I went to university in NZ (I live in London now) and it was not only free, they paid me an allowance! And I just took this for granted at the time.**

    Kiwiboi ~ I’ve been pondering your statement since you made it. What are your taxes like in NZ to pay for people’s education? You’ve got me thinking about how much I would be willing to pay in taxes to get a free education. My biggest regret is not having a college education. The problem here in the US would be that we can’t trust our government with our tax dollars. The literally build bridges to nowhere.

  • ringtailroxy

    kiwiMAHN- ahah! so that’s why you always sound so well versed… you’re blood relatives to the original ListVerser himself! i am just ticked to learn that!(insert big smile and sick fantasy…)

    I just got accepted into the Veterinary Technician Program at Miami Dade College in downtown Miami. It’s over an hour away from my house, but is the only school in my immediate area that offers the curriculum. After an intense 5 semesters of coursework & clinicals, I will graduate with as A.S. in Veterinary Technology, and then be eligible to sit for the state & national boards. Then I will be a Certified Vet Tech, which is similar to being an RN, but for species other than humans.

    if all goes as planned, I would like to teach other technicians at this program while doing externships at local zoological gardens while I continue to pursue my A.A. in Zoology.

    That’s the 5 year plan. I haven’t any clue as to what I will do after that.

    In Florida, it is not required to be a graduate of an AVMA accredited Vet Tech Program to practice as a vet tech-but sadly, many individuals are trained by the vets themselves to just perform technical duties with little regard or desire to know why they are doing them… I call them “robot techs”. I have always striven to learn as much as I can by attending seminars, veterinary conferences, and the like, but I finally realized for me to completely understand what I want to, I have to get my education from the proper source.

    It is extremely challenging to go to college after a 14 year hiatus after high school… but the way I see it, I was too loopy, stoned, drunk, or disorganized prior to 2006 to actually concentrate and excel in school.

    Getting an education has forced me to be more responsible for my actions, has allowed me set realistic goals, and made me extremely financially unstable. But I love it and will probably be one of those “permanent” students… so long as I always take 6 credits a semester, my college loans won’t need to be paid!!!


  • ringtailroxy

    rushfan-Have you heard of Bush & mcCain’s new plan to allow continental off-shore oil drilling? Congress was set to vote on it today, but it was postponed. Seems like the little puppets in office think that by overturning the 1981 ban on off-shore oil drilling will help offset America’s dependence on foriegn oil.

    consider this…

    “The 574 million acres of federal coastal water that are off-limits are believed to hold nearly 18 billion barrels of undiscovered, recoverable oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the Interior Department. The country each year uses about 7.6 billion barrels of oil and 21 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.”

    so let me get this straight… if Americans use 7.6 bil. barrels of oil, and off-shore drilling may produce 18 bil. barrels… then… if my college algebra is correct… that means that after the 2 years it would take to find the deposits & build the oil rigs, drill the oil, refine the oil, and get it onto the market, we will get approx. 2 years and 3 months of usable oil afteryears it takes to get it out of the earth and make it usable?


    or am I just ignorant?

    sure, it will create jobs for a few years… then what? what of the cost to the environment? American oil companies do not have the best record of shipping oil… as oil spills could spell economic disaster to pristine beaches and tourist cities such as Miami, Savannah, Ft. Lauderdale, etc…I could go on and on…

    is drilling off shore in our waters worth only 2, maybe 3 years worth of oil? this just goes to prove my statement about short-term benefits with long-term consequences. I hope that this election, the guy I vote for WINS. (because we all know that Al Gore won the popular vote in Florida, but the Electoral College voted for Bush. what did we really expect when his own Brother was our governor at the time? hmmmm…)

    no more rant. big *sigh* going to do an hour of yoga and send an e-mail to my congresswoman…


  • ****
    560. ringtailroxy
    …so let me get this straight… if Americans use 7.6 bil. barrels of oil, and off-shore drilling may produce 18 bil. barrels… then… if my college algebra is correct… that means that after the 2 years it would take to find the deposits & build the oil rigs, drill the oil, refine the oil, and get it onto the market, we will get approx. 2 years and 3 months of usable oil afteryears it takes to get it out of the earth and make it usable?
    Yes, roxy, to McPain and Bushed. Other than those two, no one.

  • SlickWilly

    ringtail: So wait…you think that if we drill off-shore and find oil…that we are going to abandon foreign oil sources? What kind of sense does that make? They are trying to offset the influence foreign oil has on the American economy. Even if we only subsidize our foreign oil needs by 20% (2 billion from off-shore drilling stations a year), that could be enough to stimulate the economy and increase business confidence enough to find more sources of temporary oil and increase funding to finding alternative fuels. At the very least, it would buy us an extra decade of economic growth and greater independence from foreign economies. I don’t pretend to be an economics wiz, but common sense dictates to me that we can’t just stand around getting screwed by foreign oil companies. We need to do something, anything, to increase the consumer confidence and corporate spending that are essential to a strong economy, because what we’re doing now is not helping anyone, besides sending massive amounts of American dollars into pockets all over the middle east.

  • Randall

    Slick (and everyone else):

    Couple things being missed here.

    A) Whatever benefit is gained by allowing this off-shore drilling, it will take years to show up in a practical, direct sense (if it ever really shows up at all). Indirectly, perhaps, yes… it may spur investment, and speculation that will allow the price of oil to come down a tad in the short term. But directly? Years. First, it takes time to build off-shore oil rigs–at least a year, if not longer. (I would assume longer). Then more time to place them and get them up to production speed. Even before you start all this, you have to firm up your exploration of the area, and determine which sites allow for stable drilling, etc. More time. And then, along with this–our refining capacity is still low. When you suck all that oil out, it has to go somewhere and be refined. So without more refining capacity, the price of oil just isn’t going to be terribly affected. Dependence on foreign oil reduced? Sure, perhaps. But again–none of this would happen for at least five years–probably closer to ten.

    B) Of course all this is moot. The crunch in oil availability is coming. Whether production has already peaked or will peak hardly matters–the peak is coming. And even if we started going ape-shit about alternative sources of energy and conservation NOW, we’d still be facing, in a few years, some exceedingly hard choices. And this means we’ll be forced into exploring for oil where we haven’t allowed ourselves to go before, and becoming more desperate about where we get oil from. The other sources–solar, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear–just aren’t up to compensating for our needs. We may, therefore, be also forced into accepting the dangers and costs of building more nuclear plants, as time goes by, to offset the dwindling availability of oil. The choices ain’t great.

    It seems to me that it would be smarter (actually we should have already done this) to start NOW on finding ways to A) make fission plants safer, if possible… B) safely and reasonably deal with nuclear waste and once and for all make up our minds about what we’re going to do with it… and C) invest HEAVILY in getting fusion to work. Even this, if we could manage it, would be hugely expensive. In the meantime, sure… put more on to wind, solar, etc. But I believe it’s a fantasy to think that those alternatives can ever take the place of oil without us investing also in more nukes. I wish it wasn’t so, but reality sez that’s the way it’s going to be, folks. The days of cheap energy are gone. Maybe not forever, but gone for nonce. We have some truly tough decisions to make now, and it’s best we just face up to them instead of being children about it. We need to start being responsible, finally… as well as face that nuclear might be a needed evil… and know that the only other alternative is to give up on our modern world and its modern technologies. The latter isn’t going to happen. So let’s find ways to address this problem without being A) reckless and B) too idealistic and pie-in-the-sky about it.

  • rushfan

    *sigh* Here we go again with Gore really won. blah. For those of you who so love to bash Bush and other Republicans, are you as indignant that a prominent Democrat (Robert Byrd) is a former KKK member? There are others worthy of scorn in our government, but all I hear is those of you on the Bush sucks bandwagon.

    Oh, and I say drill offshore, drill in ANWAR. Drill everywhere. It’s a matter of national security. I don’t think it’s as destructive to the environment as you might think. And RTR, you should email your congresswoman to support nuclear energy.

  • kiwiboi

    segue – yep, I’ve read a few of Feynman’s accessible physics books; he was great at explaining deep concepts in terms a patient layman could understand. But I dislike other biographies of him; “Surely You’re Joking” is far and away the best (besides, it’s in his own words). I haven’t read much Sagan. Cosmos is a must, but I’m not big on astronomy – it’s not that I have no interest, but I don’t have the time to do it justice. He was a wonderful writer, though, and was eminently capable of covering many fields of science.

    Now…about that biology offer. Coincidentally, I have just bought a book on cellular biology, so if you have any spectacular recommendations in the fields of genetics or human biology…then I’m all ears :)

  • kiwiboi

    Roxy – a Veterinary Technician? That’s great! And doing it as an adult student certainly suggests that this is a vocational thing for you – which must be doubly satisfying.

    And living in sunny Florida too! Speaking of which, if you come across Gloria Estefan, ask her why she hasn’t responded to my letters…or answered my emails…OR RETURNED MY CALLS!!! LOL, I think she’s great :)

  • kiwiboi

    I’ve been pondering your statement since you made it. What are your taxes like in NZ to pay for people’s education?

    rushfan – I’ve been away for some years now but, from memory, the highest marginal tax rate is currently 39% (it was 33% in my day). And students pay tuition fees these days (repayable student loans are available). I’m sure some other kiwi with more up to date information could enlighten us with the current facts.

    You’ve got me thinking about how much I would be willing to pay in taxes to get a free education.

    Aaah…but would that really be a “free” education? You either pay directly or indirectly :)

  • rushfan

    Yeah, you’re right. I realized that well after I had posted the question. I should just save up and go to school and quit whining.

  • kiwiboi

    I should just save up and go to school and quit whining.

    rushfan – go for it!! :)

  • kiwiboi, I do have book to recommend. I’ll make up a list and post it tomorrow…well, tomorrow for me, day after for you.
    btw, I spent several childhood years in Australia. Spent many happy days at Bondi and Manley. I started school in Campsie, at St. Mel’s.
    My Brother was back there, doing a long shoot a couple of years ago, and went back to our grandmothers street, to see the house we lived in…it was an industrial complex. All of the houses across the street were still there, and still exactly as I recalled them.

    Anyway. You’ll get your list tomorrow!

  • CRSN

    Segue – did you ever venture down to Avalon, Whales Beach and Palm baech?

    i used to go to school in Avalon and all my older brothers went to Pittwater House.

  • CRSN

    Found another, “The Turner Diaries”

    Quoted from the archives, thanks

    This is the white supremacist, anti-government hate literature that inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. It was written in 1978 by the now-deceased Dr. William Pierce, founder of the white supremacist organization known as the National Alliance. (The listed author, “Andrew Macdonald,” was just a nom de plume.)

  • CSRN:
    Yes! Avalon, how could I have left that out? At every beach I remember always being warned to stay within the “shark-proof netting” and to look for the surfmens flag, and to always obey the shark siren. Do they still use those?
    I don’t remember Whales Beach or Palms Beach, but we made several trips to the Great Barrier Reef.
    One of the memories which stand out so distinctly is a trip to a cousin’s sheep station during shearing season. He raised Marino’s (if I remember the name correctly…the ones with the circular horns), and watching the station-hands shear the sheep in a matter of seconds, as it seemed to me, was like magic.

  • kiwiboi:
    did you get my list of books?

  • kiwiboi:
    Well, I wrote the book list, but it disappeared into the ether somewhere. Not so odd where I live.
    “Get A Grip On Genetics” by Martin Brookes.
    You’re going to take one look at it and think “She’s off her bloody rocker! This is a cartoon book!”
    Well, yes and no. I am a bit whacked and the book is hand drawn on brown paper, *BUT* it is required reading at UCLA in genetics 101. It’s a fabulous little book, gives you all the foundation in genetics you’ll really require. From there you can go on to whatever else strikes your fancy.
    The Darwin books are wonderful, but don’t really deal with human genetics, except by extension.
    Likewise, Stephen Jay Gould. A fabulous writer on the genetic/biologic changes of the animal and plant families, but precious little on humans.
    However! Jared Diamond, who won the Pulitzer Prize for “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, has two books which fit neatly into your requested list:
    “The Third Chimpanzee” which you must read first (of his) and
    “Why Is Sex Fun?”
    Diamond is a professor of Physiology at UCLA, but these two books deal with where the human race came from and where it may be going (genetics, in other words).
    My science library is large, but deals mostly with species other than our own, except for the Neurology section and those which deal with viruses.
    I hope I’ve helped, and if I come across any others amongst my books which I hadn’t thought of, I’ll add them to the list.

  • kiwiboi

    segue- many thanks. I’ve read genetics before (at university, for Statistical Methods courses) so I have a reasonable grasp of the topic. I’ll check these out, as I don’t recall having read them (judging by their titles at least).

    Thanks again…

  • kiwiboi

    My science library is large, but deals mostly with species other than our own, except for the Neurology section and those which deal with viruses.

    segue – heh, I wanted to be a neurologist at one point, but the thought of 8 years of university put me off (so, of course…I ended up unintentionally spending 7 yrs at university anyways!!)

    But I still read on neurology, not so much the technical materials, as I just don’t have the science background to make sense of it all. However, I can say that Harold Klawans would have to be one of all time favourite non-fiction writers. Sachs is up there too (very similar, of course), but Klawans’ books are brilliant! I was sorry to learn that he died at a relatively young age.

    Many people don’t realise (though, why should they, LOL) that Freud was a neurologist before he found another use for that cigar and sofa :)

  • *kiwiboi*
    If you already have a decent grasp of genetics, then you MUST get the Brookes book! The drawings are just wonderful! I bought it for the drawings, having been reading genetics for many years previous.
    The Klawans books are new to me, so thanks to you I have a new way to spend my book money!
    I’ve read all of Sacks of course, as well as V.S. Ramachandran, who I actually have come to appreciate more.
    Back to biology/historic biology/anthropology, have you read David Quammen? Brilliant mind!!! He can take you through his subject matter and make you understand it easily.
    Damn. I read too much.

  • *kiwiboi*
    At least Freud wasn’t president of the USA.

  • kiwiboi

    segue – re Klawans : you are in for a treat. I’d recommend Toscanini’s Fumble and Other Tales of Clinical Neurology for starters; a bunch of neuro stories based on Klawan’s own experiences. And you’ll get most of them as cheapish paperbacks.

    Ramachandran..LOL, yep, I’ve also got one of his books (Phantoms in the Brain). Actually, there’s a strong similarity with Klawans there…but Klawans was such a nice, engaging writer.

    And I will get the Brookes book and check out Quammen.

  • ****
    *580. kiwiboi …
    ….Ramachandran..LOL, yep, I’ve also got one of his books (Phantoms in the Brain)….
    LOL! Phantoms in the Brain! When I read the story about “neglect syndrome”, I laughed, for real, and cried, at the same time. It had happened to my mother after a major stroke.
    It was eerie. She once accused me of leaving *my* arm in her bed!
    There were so many bizarre neurological after-effects that *I* could write a book on the subject.
    I don’t buy “cheapish paperbacks”, mores the luck (a bad habit I picked up in University, but have nothing against used hardcover which can often be found at costs below paperbacks. The internet has helped in this enormously. I used to have to use a book-finder service. Anyway, the point being, I am going to find and buy a selection of Klawans, and Toscanini’s Fumble and Other Tales of Clinical Neurology sounds right up my alley!
    Thank you!

  • JohnT

    I’m surprised that the Book of Mormon didn’t make your list. Its very existence has generated thousands of books, pamphlets, and articles denouncing it and just as many in support thereof. There are more than 150 anti-Mormon “ministries” dedicated to debunking Mormonism, not counting the hundreds of individuals who have taken up this avocation. The number of defenders is also numerous.

  • Aisley

    Found your site while looking for something else. It is soooo good that I forgot what I was looking for previously, and I’m reading the lists one by one. This is just fascinating, and I love that you don’t just give the list but also information on each entrance.

    If you all so allow I would like to share with you a book that, although came out in the early 80’s, is still controversial: “In the Name of God” by David Yallop. Allegedly is not fiction. It’s supposed to be the final report of the investigation on the death of John Paul I. He does not tell you what is his final finding. He just give you all the “clues”, “facts” and doohickies he “found”. I can’t tell if it is for real or not; wouldn’t dare, I’m not Catholic. But it surely makes for a great reading.

  • jared

    I find it interesting that so many of you get bent out of shape when the Bible is mentioned anywhere. If its fiction, don’t worry about it! Laugh at those who believe it. None of it ever could have happened, just like the Koran. Oops, I wasn’t supposed to say that last thing, was I?

  • Dan777

    the bible should be considered fictional and most people think that its the fundies who dont accept evolution like that guy who wrote the book about how its a ”myth” when its u know…pretty much fact

  • Mark

    584. Dan777 : Wow, unbiased and well researched and articulated argument. No need to knock fundies, there’s already a place to do that on this site anyway :)

  • Aaron

    Wouldn’t the book claiming the holocaust never happened be considered fiction because facts are that it did? Historical fiction? The Bible IS historical fiction.

  • Norman

    Great list, apart from the fact the Qu’ran should be on here.

  • Garash

    I’ve read about half of the god delusion (about as much as i read any book), and i gotta say that he made some exceptional arguments.

    I don’t find that too controversial seeing as he actually made most of his points from a valid source or basis, but i can see why other people would.

  • Dan777

    Oh come on. You really think the bible is NON fiction. I’ve read it, its fiction

  • Aaron

    why is the bible in non-fiction when it is clearly fiction?

  • blah

    sorry, but the author of DaVinci code has exasperated himself numerous times on trying to explain to people that his work is just a fictional story.

  • Dilvish

    How come the Bible is “non-fiction”? That’s a non-sequitor par excelance…

  • dalinean

    The Bible, ‘non-fiction’???

  • diligentdave

    Post 581 regarding “The Book of Mormon” is on spot. Furthermore, posts 592 and 593, among others, regarding the Bible (considered in this list to be #1 of most controversial books), is both refuted and confirmed, by The Book of Mormon.

    The Book of Mormon, that is, confirms that the Bible is true! It does so more and better than any other book. And it does it by showing that God is (and always has been) ‘in charge’ of this world and the entire universe!

    The Book of Mormon also delineates and defines what the Bible means. For example, it clearly points out that the creation, as described in Genesis, is largely meant to be understood literally. Again, that is, that man was and is, literally, made after the image and likeness of God (hence, God looks like man, since man was fashioned after God’s likeness), and that ‘gods’ (the plural is used in Genesis, as it is in other places throughout the Bible, including by Jesus Christ) is correct—since they, “the gods”, come in both genders, ‘male and female’.

    Furthermore, the accounts in ‘The Book of Mormon’ point out why (and how) Jesus and God the Father “are one” god. And, it shows that corporeally, they are, technically, “two gods”—but, since they act in unison, with the ‘Son’ always and forever submitting to the will of ‘the Father’, as Jesus did during his mortal ministry 2000 years ago, they are (as) ‘One God’!

    The necessity of divinely administered authority (otherwise called ‘priesthood’) is underscored in ‘The Book of Mormon’, as well as ‘worthiness’ in the use of it is pointed out clearly!

    Also, that God is god of the whole world, is shown in that (and how) God revealed himself to two civilizations upon the American continents, with ‘Jesus’ manifesting himself as a resurrected being immediately following his resurrection in the meridian of time.

    The Book of Mormon also clearly alludes to a third group of Israelites (indicating that at least some of the inhabitants of the Americas have been, and are, literally, descendants of Jacob or Israel), which apparently have yet to be manifested, as a people, to the world (the ‘lost 10 tribes’).

    The translation of ‘The Book of Mormon’, and its approval by God, also underscores the veracity of the ministry and claims of Joseph Smith Jr as a prophet and an apostle of God; as well as the legitimacy of ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ as God’s ONE TRUE CHURCH upon the face of the earth.

    Indeed, nothing is no more of a lightning rod than is the truth, especially books that give the truth as divinely dispensed, as it typically has been throughout the history of mankind, in ways and in times and by means that are indeed miraculous.

    Joseph Smith was shown where the gold plates were hidden, and directed by an angel who came to him from the presence of God. However, equally or even more controversial, is that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith three years prior to him (Joseph Smith) having this angel initially appear to him at the age of 17. (Deity appeared to him at age 14, when he went to inquire which of all the various Christian churches he should join). [He was told by Jesus Christ that of the then extant churches, that he should join none of them].

    Other books later produced by Joseph Smith prove to be equally controversial. The Doctrine & Covenants, mostly a compilation of revelations received by Joseph Smith between about 1829 and 1843 or 1844, reveals doctrine that is itself a further lightning rod of controversy. In section 132 of the ‘Doctrine & Covenants’ (D&C), “the new and everlasting covenant’ of eternal (including plural marriage) were revealed. This section of the ‘D&C’ points out ‘why’ “God is the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (at least Abraham and Jacob practiced plural marriage, and all three ancient patriarchs are, themselves, now, gods, sitting upon their thrones, clearly indicating the extent of the promises of posterity and power and dominion made to all of them by God in the Bible. The injunction of Jesus to “…be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect…” is made understandable both in light of this revelation on Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as the manifestation of the resurrected Christ to the ancient inhabitants of the American continents, when Jesus declared to them “Be ye therefore perfect, even as I or your Father in Heaven are perfect.”

    These revelations, among many, many others in ‘The Book of Mormon’, the book of ‘Doctrine & Covenants’, as well as the book “The Pearl of Great Price” with its translation of the first part of Genesis in ‘The book of Moses’, and its inclusion of a revelation of “The Book of Abraham”, in which aspects regarding our pre-earthly or premortal existence are brought to light, including some of what happened during this perioed, before the earth was formed (as we now know it), and prior to Adam and Eve being placed upon it.

    Combined, these three books, “The Book of Mormon”, “Doctrine & Covenants”, along with “The Pearl of Great Price” both corroborate and clarify accounts found in the Bible, as well as demonstrating that God is as much alive and active in our time as he ever has been in mankinds’ affairs during the history of this planet.

  • diligentdave

    I meant “spot on”, not “on sport”.

  • diligentdave

    Rather, “spot on” and not “on spot”

  • ArtyomNKVDh

    Really? the bible and the quaran? I’m pretty sure that they aren’t non-fiction. Its completely relative based on personal beliefs. And seeing as not all of the information in either can be supported with evidence, I would say thy are not able to be called nonfiction. What are you OP, five? I guess I’ll we should just add books about unicorns and fairies to the list too….

  • A.B.

    @diligentdave [594]: Ok fine, the book of Mormon confirms the Bible. What confirms the book of Mormon? And give me facts please, not the whole “GOD said so!” thing.

  • diligentdave

    @A.B. [598]: A.B. The Spirit of God (also known as the Holy Ghost), who is a personage of spirit, confirms to everyone who reads the Book of Mormon, and inquires of God in all sincerity of heart and purpose if it is true, manifests this fact to any and all who so do.

    But, just as Joseph Smith’s first inquiry to ask God (in prayer) which of all the churches professing to be Christ’s in his day (circa 1820), followed the admonitions of James, the apostle and half-brother of Jesus Christ, so anyone approaching God must follow his proscription strictly (for God knows the thought of our minds and the feelings of our hearts, and cannot be fooled, and has said also that he will not be mocked). And it is God who, via the Holy Ghost, who is a personage only of spirit (God the Father is a personage of flesh and bones AND of spirit, can communicate with anyone and everyone (whom God the Father will have him communicate to/with) simultaneously. Now, certainly, we are unable, as mere mortals to do this. But God is not limited to only be able to do what his children can do.

    Some ‘sweat’ equity, in studying the contents of the Book of Mormon itself, and that, directly, by oneself, is recommended. Most individuals I “joust” with resort to reading commentaries of The Book of Mormon by anti-Mormon individuals and groups. How predictable is the bad press on “Mormons” and “Mormonism” from that camp?

    You can get a free copy from LDS missionaries, IF YOU DARE! (Most are too afraid to do this). There are one or more commercial editions of the Book of Mormon in print you can buy. You can also go to and read the Book of Mormon online. Or you can even go to,18692,5297-41,00.html – download The Book of Mormon by books, and play it back either on your computer, or on an Ipod or portable music player device, if you choose.

    Checking out The Book of Mormon yourself is, I believe, the best way to begin to determine if it is what it claims to be, and what we claim it to be— inspired by God to man, or not! It is either one or the other. It is either true, or a hoax.

    Most won’t check it out. Most people are, especially in matters of religion, prejudiced. That is, they pre-judge a matter before they hear it, or genuinely know it.

    Nicodemus, whom Jesus taught, said, “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

    (New Testament | John 7:51)

    I would add, does anyone judge a matter before they hear it (or read it), and fully consider it, giving it a fair (and not a partial) hearing, reading, and reasoning?

    Moroni, the last prophet-warrior in the Book of Mormon wrote– “…behold, the same that judgeth rashly shall be judged rashly again; for according to his works shall his wages be…”

    (Book of Mormon | Mormon 8:19)

    Most will and do dismiss The Book of Mormon out-of-hand. They are either too lazy (with the excuse that they are ‘too busy’), or they are afraid of the implications of what they will have to do (differently), if The Book of Mormon is true, or they are prejudiced, and are out merely to try to “prove” or show that The Book of Mormon is not of God, that Joseph Smith was not the prophet of God he claimed to be, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which he help found, Jesus Christ directing the work, is not “the only true church upon the face of the earth…” which is what we believe and affirm that God has so declared.

    For you, or anyone, there is really no other way to confirm or disprove that the Book of Mormon came of God. You must read it. You must ponder on it. You must pray, and ask God whether or not it is of him (i.e., that it is true).

    I declare to you and all that I know the Book of Mormon is from God. He inspired ancient prophets who occupied the lands we call “America” then to write we he showed them by inspiration, by revelation, and by heavenly manifestations, just as he did those who wrote the Bible.

    There is one God. There is one (godly) plan. God is our Heavenly Father, or the father of our spirits. A spirit is what makes our body live. Our mortal bodies of flesh, bone, and blood are fashioned after our spirits. (If you could see a spirit, and many have, you would see that it looks just like a human being), only it lacks the ‘veil’ of flesh and bones (and, for mortals, blood).

    God wants his children (us/mankind), to be happy. The Book of Mormon declares, among other truths, “wickedness never was happiness”. It also shows that the “fall” of Adam and Eve was fully anticipated by Him (He [God], indeed knows ALL THINGS from the beginning–and has contingencies to deal with every one of them). The Book of Mormon clarifies this, in explanations like this—

    “Adam fell that men might be. And men are that they might have joy.”

    In other words, Adam and Eve, representing all of mankind (we sustained their choice in a premortal/primordial [or ‘before the world was’] council for this couple to make this decision for all of us. Eve first partook of the forbidden fruit (there really was fruit). Adam followed her example, and her exhortation to do as she had done. Because Adam was trying to keep all of the commandments God had given them. And he understood that unless he went with her, there would be no children born to them. And, God had already commanded them to “multiply and replenish (fill) the earth” ‘after their own kind’.

    Hence, we all receive our chance (this life is that chance) to live on the earth, and during our relatively brief stay here, we will show to God, while we do not remember our premortal life with him, what we want to do, and what we each want to be, by the choices we make, and by the kind of people we become.

    You said, “And give me facts, please, not the whole “GOD said so!” thing.”

    Let me respond to this request directly.

    I believe God gave you a brain. And, he gave you a heart, or feelings. We use both to make decisions. But I believe that we can (and are) influenced by beings both from heaven (God) and from hell (the devil / Lucifer / aka ‘Satan’ – the adversary). God, I believe, is and will lead those who will follow to the winning side of things. Lucifer or Satan (and he has no horns, cloven hooves, or any such things of Faustian fictions), will lead all those who choose to hearken to his ideas and sentiments, will fight against that which promotes that all people should be honest, morally upright, and “do unto others” as they would “have others do unto them”.

    The choice is ultimately yours!

  • Jay

    By the early 40s there were millions of copies of "Mein Kampf" in print. If we assume themajority of these were sold in Germany, there must have been many millions of Germans discussing Hitler's ideas on genocide, spelled out pretty clearly. It's easy to jump to the conclusion that the average German knew what Hitler was doing. From there the author probably dedeuced that, since the German people didn't revolt, they must have agreed with Hitler's policies.

    This chain of logic falls apart when you look at it closely and provides little support for the author's thesis. But I can see how he got there. He took a basic premise and never questioned it. There's a lesson in this for all of us.

  • @longmanai

    the bible … non fiction?

  • Polesch

    Oh come on, the Bible is a book of fiction!

  • Anonymous

    The Bible doesn’t count, it is a Fiction book and not even a book at that. It is a collection of books.

  • waxx21

    um it says NON fiction…. whys the bible in there?

  • Diligent Dave

    Incredible things may seem to be fictional. But, over the years, it is the historical stuff that is typically far more incredible than the fictional. For example, the fact that George Washington’s person was never hit by a bullet, though he had many horses shot out from under him. Even some Indians, allies of the French, who were sent to shoot him, couldn’t. They remarked that the “Great Spirit” was with (protecting) him.

    Napoleon and Hitler arriving in Moscow during two of the worst winters there is extremely coincidental.

    The Japan Earthquake and Tsunamis of today are incredible, but true.

    Many things found in the Bible seem fantastic, and hence many suppose they are fiction. But the photos of the girl from Thailand with a werewolf appearance with hair that grows all over her face, also is incredible (but true)!

    Some scientific experiments seem to suggest that some sub-atomic particles seem to arrive at one place before they even leave another place. Not everything fits into the explainable.

    The Book of Mormon, purported to have been translated by Joseph Smith, gives the account of an instrument left by the door of a tent, supposedly by God or one of his angels. The device had spindles that moved in different ways, and writings could appear on the item with a message. All of this seemed laughingly ridiculous in the late 1820’s, when the book was first published.

    But since the advent of items like cell phones, and GPS devices, in the last decade or two, such a device seems like it would fit fine in something possible in the 21st century. Many might doubt the report of the item, because it appeared in the 6th Century B.C. in the Middle East, and was taken with a group that built and arrived on a boat/ship in the ‘New World’ (the Americas), and seems to be totally anachronistic.

    However, as was asked of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

    The Urim and Thummim that Joseph Smith received with the gold plates, that allowed/helped him to translate a portion of that record into “The Book of Mormon” is an item mentioned that Moses and Aaron had and used. David Whitmer’s account of what Oliver Cowdery told him that Joseph Smith could see through it (J.S. saw how David Whitmer read signs on his way to meet for the first time, Joseph Smith). Joseph Smith could tell enough of Whitmer’s activities at that time, that he and Oliver Cowdery went out to meet Whitmer just as he arrived, because Joseph could tell where Whitmer was at!

    Ants may suppose no one can do certain things, because they can’t (as incredible as are the things that ants CAN do). However, if a human can do it, doesn’t mean that an ant can.

    Because God can do many things we can’t do, does not mean that He can’t do them. It just means that those things are beyond our ability!

  • Bobbi

    Where is In Cold Blood?

  • LovestoSpooge

    Er, the Bible IS fiction.

  • godricg9

    “it can not be denied that this book gave more to the growth of the West than any other.”

    Umm, sorry, but the bible STUNTED the growth of the West. Ever hear of a little thing called the dark ages? That set technology back centuries? Not to mention that the extremely similar qu’ran was responsible for the Middle East getting rid of science for good in the 1200s.

    • diligentdave

      The Bible didn’t stunt the growth of the West. Paganism had overtaken Christianity. The Bible, without the true Christian church had to have centuries to work on people, and they had to go through A LOT, until the renaissance gradually helped civilization evolve into what it became at it’s zenith. Of course, when the sun is rising in one part of the world, it is setting in another.

      Today, paganism, heathenism, and hedonism are taking over the whole world. Many feign to be religious, including many as Christians. But true religion, as defined in the Bible, is NOT what religion, by-and-large, has become in this day and age. Religion has become in Christianity, a world of slogans, verbal declarations, and empty shells.

      Hedonism plunged the world into the Dark Ages. Priestcraft and those practicing it used their ability to read and to control those who couldn’t, into forms of worship that were distanced from how they were when they were originated.

      Science, so-called, while it has brought and brings many truths to light, even today, is becoming (and has long been) the domain of many scam artists, par excellence. Look at “climate change” ‘science’. “Chicken Little” is as much “science” (if ‘climate change’ is science, as “science” is, then!

      What holds true for religion, holds true for “science” or anything—

      3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

      4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

      (New Testament | 2 Timothy 4:3 – 4)

      Ditto religion; ditto science; ditto politics; ditto commerce; ditto anything!

      • Dalek6450

        Scams using “Science” are usually found by other reputable scientists or by the average person of at least average “intelligence”. Science has proof of findings and makes progress. What does religion do? Apart from being used to “control” the opinions of it’s followers. It has created wars and needless deaths (e.g. the Crusades). All religions seem to do this in one way or another-Christianity, Islam, Scientology (although viewed as more of a cult). Religions and cults do seem awfully similar. What use does wasting time worshiping a non-existent being, supplying funds for the continuation of this belief, creating conflict, blocking the development of science and attempting to discredit or stop the teaching of proven scientific fact (e.g. Evolution).

    • Dalek6450

      Sorry I just saw your comment my comment said pretty much the same thing.

  • godricg9

    Also, how the fuck is the bible nonfiction?

  • Great list! Just like the Bible, the Quran should also be in that list.

  • Ricardo

    Why is the Bible in non-fiction books list?

    • Dalek6450

      *Thumbs Up*

      I think Listverse needs a way of adding “Thumbs-up”, “+1”, etc.

  • I’m Amazed that “The Satanic Verses” by Salmin Rushdie is not on this list.

  • Dalek6450

    About 1#
    “…it can not be denied that this book gave more to the growth of the West than any other.”

    On the contrary, in history a separation of church and state promoted science and therefore growth and advancements. It is what allowed the West to fend off the East during the time of the Ottoman Empire, whereas the Ottoman Empire shrank due to a lack of education and religion blocking science.

  • Michael

    This list is supposedly non fiction.

    If so, why is the bible here?!

  • So, now we have it. An Excellent list and very educational and profound. But here is how I look at it : # 10, # 5 and # 2 should be MANDATORY reading for Neo-Nazis, The KKK, Racists, and the complete and utter pea brains that do not believe that the Holocaust never existed. I suppose that June 6, 1944, D-DAY, the turning point of World War II never existed either. If Eisenhower were still alive would you not believe him as he saw the utter carnage and suffering that these Holocaust survivors had to endure, on a first hand basis when the War ended……….# 9 should be mandatory and required reading for the country of India. And I’m not talking about just schools, but every last citizen that lives int that country. It has been said that that the population of India will exceed the population of China by the year 2050. The dictionaries in that country don’t seem to have the word Co*dom or safe s*x in them. I will be long gone before that population explosion comes to fruition, I hope………..#7. That one is my favorite as I get to admit that I am a very firm believer in the Theory of Evolution and would love to rub it into the faces of Creationists, Fundamentalists, Southern Baptists, Born Again Christians, Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps Jr. and any conservative Right Winger that live across of this nation of ours. Select anyone of the following that I have mentioned for Book # 7 and ask them if they have ever heard of the words “fossils”, “The Big Bang Theory or even ask them what Carbon-14 dating is and see what kind of an answer you get from them……….# 6, I wonder if former Vice-President Al Gore has this book lying around somewhere in his house. Chances are, that is a negative. And for those of you who do not believe in Global-Warming, better think again. ITS OUT THERE, AND IT EXISTS !!. Watch VP Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and really take it in. If you should happen to live another 200-300 years from now, you’ll find out………….#4, I honestly really did not know that DDT was supposed to eliminate mosquitos carrying malaria, in which “vice versa” occured and spread malaria to humans. I am not an entomologist, however on YOU TUBE, you can find in its entirety a made for TV movie entitled “The Hellstrom Chronicle” a documentary how insects may take over the world in a few million years from now. Its quite interesting. It comes on as 13 parts on YOU TUBE………….# 3, Mind Blank on that one for me, which leads to………No. 8 and No. 1. I am an agnostic bordering on being atheist. I was baptised as a Roman Catholic. But the only time I ever go to church is for weddings and funerals. People like the aforementioned Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps, and right-wing republican should shoved into a time machine with me at the controls and go back to the Spanish Inquisition to live out their lives and see what comes of it. I would return to present day earth and live a bit less worry free………that’s all

  • shannon

    The inclusion of Silent Spring is APALLING! Yes, the book was controversial, but how DARE you belittle the courageous work of Rachel Carson? I am speechless at how unintelligent, backwards, and simply WRONG your brief review is. If DDT hadn’t been banned, millions of people would have gone on to develop cancer and produce children with birth defects. Hundreds, if not thousands, of animal species would be currently extinct. I am stunned at your utter lack of effort or care in writing this article, it is shit. Why write one at all? Your misinformation is worse than reading no information. I feel stupider for having read about half the article. You owe me some goddamn brain cells back!

  • Graham

    It was probably a good thing we got rid of DDT. Not that malaria is a good thing, I just thing DDT was pretty bad

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