Read All about It! Books that Changed the Course of History



This course covers what many consider the most influential political treatises ever written. Each treatise was profoundly influential on how people came to think about politics, as well as impact on human behavior. Works considered include Machiavelli, The Prince, Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can’t Wait  and Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique. These books truly changed history. The emphasis each week will be to scrutinize the content these treatises and attempting to ascertain why these works were so “great.” We will analyze all facets of the arguments to determine the sources of their enormous impact. Of the many great thinkers who penned their ideas, and the millions who read them, what was it about these works, particularly, that appealed to the human mind and imagination? Why these books? Why these arguments? Ultimately, we seek some sort of understanding of why certain works inspire well beyond the norm. Is there a pattern to the content of arguments that truly mesmerize people? Or is it some random function of time and place? All such questions and issues will be the analytical lenses through which we scrutinize these monumental works.

Instructor: Giulio Gallarotti

Mondays: October 21, 28; November 4, 11, 18
5:00–7:00 p.m.

Giulio Gallarotti
GIULIO M. GALLAROTTI is Professor of Government, Tutor in the College of Social Studies and member of the faculty of the College of the Environment at Wesleyan University. He has also been a Visiting Professor in the Department of Economic Theory at the University of Rome (1994) and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Columbia University (2018). He is widely published in both book and print on topics related to international relations, as well as the five disciplines: economics, politics, law, history, and business. His biography has been published in Marquis Who’s Who in America for several years, as well as in Marquis Who’s Who in American Politics 2014. He is the recipient of Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.