Melvyn Bragg explores a controversial selection of British books and their huge impact on history
When we think of great events in the history of the world, we tend to think of war, revolution, political upheaval or natural catastrophe. But throughout history there have been moments of vital importance that have taken place not on the battlefield, or in the palaces of power, or even in the violence of nature, but between the pages of a book.
In our digitised age of instant information it is easy to underestimate the power of the printed word. In his fascinating new book accompanying the ITV series, Melvyn Bragg presents a vivid reminder of the book as agent of social, political and personal revolution. Twelve Books that Changed the World presents a rich variety of human endeavour and a great diversity of characters. There are also surprises. Here are famous books by Darwin, Newton and Shakespeare - but we also discover the stories behind some less well-known works, such as Marie Stopes' Married Love, the original radical feminist Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman - and even the rules to an obscure ball game that became the most popular sport in the world . . .
Bragg writes with passion...and once again, shows his capacity to make science and technology both exciting and accessible. - Independent
Bragg has established himself over the past decades as a fearlessly dedicated, popular educator . . . a highly and easily readable book. - John Sutherland, The Sunday Times
It can charm almost anyone of any age . . . yet again Bragg has displayed his extraordinary and unique gifts as a communicator - Christena Appleyard, Daily Mail
This is an inspiring, fascinating and stimulating book with marvellous illustrations - Niall MacMonagle, Irish Times
Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, the latest being The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.