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12 Books That Changed The World (ITV1 2006, Melvyn Bragg)

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In documentary series 12 Books That Changed The World Melvyn Bragg delves into the essential books that he believes have changed the world. The impact of certain books is like that of the asteroid which destroyed the dinosaurs: an epoch-defining moment which ends the old world, and ushers in the new. Geographical contours may shape the physical world, but the intellectual contours in which six billion people live, are all shaped by books.

The 12 books were
NEWTON: PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA (1687)
MARIE STOPES: MARRIED LOVE (1918)
THE FIRST RULE BOOK OF THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (1863)
DARWIN: THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES (1859)
MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT: A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN (1792)
WILLIAM WILBERFORCE: SPEECH TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS (12th May 1789)
ADAM SMITH: THE WEALTH OF NATIONS (1776)
THE KING JAMES BIBLE (1611)
MAGNA CARTA (1215)
MICHAEL FARADAY: EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH IN ELECTRICITY (1855)
PATENT SPECIFICATION FOR ARKWRIGHT’S SPINNING MACHINE (1769)
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S FIRST FOLIO (1623)

Taking part were Lord Woolf, former Lord Chief Justice, Professor Harold Bloom, Professor Frank James, Jonathon Porritt Founder Director of Forum for the Future, William Hague MP, Germaine Greer, Professor Richard Dawkins, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Oxford University and Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Head of Theoretical Nuclear Physics Group, University of Surrey and Professor of Public Engagement in Science.

production details
UK / ITV1 Network / 4×60 minutes / April 2006

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Writer/Producer: Melvyn Bragg


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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