Here's the 'Most Important Academic Book' Ever Written
Charles Darwin gets the honors
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2015 2:00 PM CST
This is a first edition of Charles Darwin's groundbreaking Origin Of Species.   (AP Photo /Christie's, ho)
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(Newser) – What does it take to be named the most important academic book ever written? Well, it helps if its publication "upended the way human beings think about where they came from, challenged millennia of religious dogma and left people wondering whether there really was a god," in the words of the Washington Post. Hence, your winner, as chosen by the Booksellers Association: On the Origin of the Species, by Charles Darwin. The book earned 26% of the vote on a list of 20 contenders compiled by publishers, booksellers, and librarians, notes the Guardian. In second was The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, followed by William Shakespeare's Complete Works, Plato's The Republic, and Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant.

Here is the full list of 20 finalists, in alphabetical order:

  • A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
  • On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
  • Orientalism, by Edward Said
  • Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
  • The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
  • The Female Eunuch, by Germaine Greer
  • The Making of the English Working Class, by EP Thompson
  • The Meaning of Relativity, by Albert Einstein
  • The Naked Ape, by Desmond Morris
  • The Prince, by Niccolò Machiavelli
  • The Republic, by Plato
  • The Rights of Man, by Thomas Paine
  • The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir
  • The Uses of Literacy, by Richard Hoggart
  • The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith
  • Ways of Seeing, by John Berger