Some books are just destined to stir controversy. In the past, a book could become controversial because of its content and message. Lately, books become controversial because they were intended to be that way. Controversy sells.
When a book becomes controversial, more people want to read it. So a book that others want to ban will only become more popular. Some writers have seized on that fact and have consciously stirred controversy with their writings. It’s a quick way to get the attention of readers. It might not seem like a legitimate way to get readers, but if it works some writers are willing to try it.
Here are some of the more controversial books in history:
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
Do you remember when Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code came out? That made a lot of stir and everyone wanted to get a copy of the book and find out what it was all about. The hype about the book was so intense that they even made a movie out of it. But The Da Vinci Code is a novel and although it started many conspiracy theories, at the end of the day everyone has to agree that it is still fiction. But Dan Brown got most of the ideas that he used for The Da Vinci Code from an actual non-fiction work.
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln and served as the main source for the things that stirred controversy in Dan Brown’s book. The writers questioned the divinity of Jesus, claimed that he had sexual relations with Mary Magdalene and that they had children. The book also claims that the descendants of Jesus and Mary founded the Merovingian Dynasty. All these ideas were put forward in The Da Vinci Code.
Holy Blood, Holy Grail was published in 1982 in the United Kingdom and you can understand why it was more than a bit upsetting for many Christians. But the three authors did not offer any evidence for all of their claims.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain’s masterpiece is considered to be one of the landmarks in American literature. The book is about Huckleberry Finn’s attempt to escape from his drunken father. He teams up with Jim, a runaway slave and together they float down the Mississippi. In the process, they encounter all kinds of characters. Twain’s book has been admired for its portrayal of a part of America that is now lost and gone. But the book also generated a lot of controversy.
The problem with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is that it uses the word “nigger” a lot to refer to black people. In this day and age of political correctness, such a term is automatically considered to be racist. But when Twain wrote his book the term “nigger” did not carry the same derogatory weight that it does now. His book was also a condemnation of slavery, but that does not matter to some people. To them any book that uses the word “nigger” should be banned.
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a holy book of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints together with the Bible. This book is controversial because other Christian religions say that it is against a specific verse in the Bible. That verse which can be found in the Book of Revelations states that no one should add or take away anything from the book. Other Christians believe that the Book of Mormon is going against that commandment. Mormons on the other hand, say that the verse was only meant for the Book of Revelations which means that it is perfectly okay to add to the Bible.
The controversy generated by The Book of Mormon is only one of the other controversies faced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have other beliefs as well that are frowned upon by other religions.
The God Delusion
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is probably the most famous treatise regarding atheism. Atheists see it as their scripture, theists see it as the work of the devil. It is also the bestselling work on atheism with over 2 million copies sold. In The God Delusion, Dawkins goes about attacking religion and the idea that there is a God. He also offers some insights into morality. Richard Dawkins together with Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens form a triumvirate that leads atheistic thinking today.
If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer
O. J. Simpson is no stranger to controversy. His arrest, trial and acquittal were followed by a whole country. It is not surprising that he would try to cash in on that notoriety, but the method that he chose was more than a bit disturbing. He decided to come up with a book in which he states that he did not commit the crime that he was accused of, but if he did it he described the way that he would go about with it. Sounds like a stupid idea, but Simpson actually went through with the book. There are those who see the scenario stated by Simpson on the book to be near perfect that it’s almost a confession to the crime.
The Communist Manifesto
The short work by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels states the aim of communism as a movement. They believe that all of history is class struggle and that working class should rise up in order to seize power. That is exactly what happened in Russia. The book has generated a lot of controversy, especially at the height of the Cold War when the whole world was under the threat of being destroyed in contest between communism and capitalism.
Niccolo Machiavelli’s work is a piece on philosophy but it has gained a notoriety down the years because it seems to advocate tyranny. Machiavelli states that the ideal leader is someone who is beloved by the population, but the problem is that a leader like that is rare. The second best type of leader for Machiavelli is someone who is feared, because people will follow him out of fear. People hate the book because it sounds like an instruction book on how to become a tyrant and the world has had so many of those already.
Muslims believe that The Q’uran is the word of God, just as Christians believe that Bible is also the Divine word. But those who do not understand it especially other religions believe that The Q’uran instructs Muslims to commit acts of violence against non-Muslims.
The Bible is the most read, the most quoted, the most published, and most translated book in the history of man. It just follows that it is also the most controversial. Even the different Christian religions cannot agree on what the Bible says on certain things.
These are just some of the most controversial books today. More often than not, the controversy is generated by the people reading the books and not by its actual content. The way people interpret what they read is often the cause of the problem. If people just become more open-minded then there would be a lot less controversy in the world.