20 Most Dangerous Books Ever Written

Books are magical gateways that transport us to different worlds. They hold the power to entertain, educate, and inspire. While most books bring us joy, some can be potentially dangerous if misused or taken out of context.

One Redditor asked, “What’s the most dangerous book ever written?”

This thread received thousands of comments, and we have selected the ‘20 most dangerous books to ever exist’ for you.

1. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History

This book, written by Alfred Thayer Mahan in the late 19th century, explores the need for naval power in shaping world events and history. It’s a fascinating read for history buffs and anyone interested in the role of the sea with geopolitical dynamics.

Someone said, “In the last 200 years, I’d like to make a case for “The Influence of Seapower Upon History 1660-1783” by Alfred Thayer Mahan.

All major powers of the world read this book at a time when technology was rapidly advancing. Kaiser Wilhelm, Jackie Fisher, Teddy Roosevelt, Isoroku Yamamoto, and more historical figures took this book as gospel. It’s also still required reading today at the Navy War College and many defense-oriented postgraduate schools.

This influence led to an explosive amount of shipbuilding and eventual conflict in the forms of World War I and World War II. I cannot overstate how influential this book was and how many billions of national capital were spent based on its words. Both historically and still today.”

Another added, “The dreadnought arms race of the early 20th century was wild; the rate of technological progress made in warship design and construction is comparable to that of the microprocessor in the latter half of the century. And this was with vessels that had acquisition timelines easily measured in years, so each successive class of battleship represented an almost quantum leap in capability compared to the previous generation. Then the treaty era of shipbuilding that came after WW1 was even wilder. All the loopholes, creative designs, or outright lies that countries came up with to build the strongest possible ships under treaty limitations are fascinating stories, and some of the designs that never left the drawing board during that time were insanity looking back at them.

In all, within a span of about 30 years, battleships nearly tripled in displacement while also almost doubling in top speeds, firing shells that were almost quadruple the weight paired with fire control systems that could accurately land shots from roughly triple the distance of the first dreadnoughts.”

2. Malleus Maleficarum

This medieval text, written by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger in the 15th century, is notorious for its role in the European witch-hunt craze. It’s a dark and disturbing piece of literature that offers a glimpse into the superstitious and fearful mindset of the time.

One Redditor wrote, “I mean, I think they believed it. I actually did my final paper in my postmodern theory class on witch beliefs as motivated primarily by a patriarchal society’s fear of women as an unknowable other with terrible powers. I mean, they had some idea of men’s role in reproduction, but like… How could you know the kid was yours? Unless you could account for everywhere, a woman had been… And if you believe that God impregnated a woman, what else might she bring into the physical world? Lol, p***s theft was also a major concern here.

Of course, a lot of this had to do with the church; folk beliefs and practices threatened them because their stance was that the only good “supernatural” power was from their God. Therefore, if those not in the church were able to do things… It must be coming from the other, evil side.

Now, before you say that men were accused of being witches, that’s true. But, contrary to what modern conservatives will tell you about how immutable, binary gender is a “natural” thing that only modern liberals contest, they had a different understanding of gender. They believed that a hot womb led to baby boys and a cool womb led to baby girls. Now, obviously, heat is more of a spectrum, and they believed something like a man could be feminine; he could be a woman in a spiritual sense, whether because he was born that way or because he stooped to being in league with the devil… Here’s one thing I found incredibly interesting: they believed that women were more susceptible to profane influence because they were more passive. However, they also believed this passivity made them more open to divine influence. Like, you know, St. Teresa of Avila? I’m generally a fan of mysticism, and I like her based on what I know of her.”

Someone else replied, “Yep, this one. I’ve read it a few years ago, and it’s really sick how someone can blame so many of his own problems on someone else.”

3. To Train up a Child

This book, written by Michael and Debi Pearl, has garnered criticism because of its harsh parenting techniques.

One person commented, “To Train Up A Child. It’s a “parenting” book about how to train your child like a dog using harsh discipline. A lot of the stuff in it is ab**ive. The book has been linked to the deaths of a few kids.”

Another responded, “Why were the Pearls so obsessed with recommending flexible plastic tubing as an instrument of child ab**e, you might ask? Because in their personal experience, they found it to be the least likely to leave visible marks while still causing significant physical pain. They also were big proponents of homeschooling to further isolate these ab**ed children and make sure a pesky teacher or social worker didn’t notice signs of ab**e and call CPS on the parents who were taking their advice.

Another technique adapted from this child ab**e manual is blanket training, in which an infant or young toddler is placed on a blanket with one or two toys for a set period of time and hit with a flexible ruler, glue stick, or similar every time they crawl off the blanket. The Pearls claimed that this would train obedience, even before an infant has learned to walk or talk. In other words, it produces anxious, guarded, and docile victims of child ab**e who are too scared to move or speak without their parent’s permission. The Duggars were known to practice this method with their own children, and you can see how well that turned out. (TW: CSA, CSAM, inc**t).”

4. How To Cook Humans

Someone said, “For those who don’t, it’s a twilight zone episode that’s about translating a book given to humanity by aliens.

The twist is that Aliens solve all the world’s issues and share their tech, but in exchange, they get to eat a small number of humans periodically. The book title is To Serve Man, with the idea of its guidelines for humans to follow; instead, once it’s translated, it’s actually a cookbook for serving humans as the meal.

There are a lot of dumb ideas around the translation bit, like, how/why does alien syntax allow for an English double entendre? It literally wouldn’t occur had it been translated into, like, Arabic first or something. But the interesting idea is kinda similar to animal agriculture in that for a cow; we solve all their problems. Is it fair in exchange, we eat them?”

Pretty disturbing, don’t you think?

5. Mein Kampf

“Mein Kampf” represents the ideology that fueled the atrocities committed during World War II and the Holocaust. The book serves as a disturbing window into Hitler’s radical beliefs, anti-Semitic views, and desire for German racial supremacy!

Someone said, “It’s dangerous in part because extremist groups often use it as required reading for people they’re trying to indoctrinate. The danger is rarely that one text will convince someone of a terrible concept, but texts like Mein Kampf and Siege by James Mason are a part of indoctrination funnels used to radicalize vulnerable people.”

Another responded, “Took a speed readinclass in high school 🏫. I went in reading at a pretty high speech, so I was looking for a thick book. So I sped read Mein kampf. I don’t recommend doing this after you’ve made the decision to read it again at normal speed. There are a lot of intricate thoughts (albeit those of a madman) you need a moment to sit back and ruminate on, which cannot be glossed over in a speedy read. Books like Lee Michaels “jack reacher” series are easy to read. Stuff like Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt is great for speed reading.”

6. It

Now, if you’re a fan of horror novels, you’ve probably heard of this one. “It” is a spine-chilling masterpiece written by the renowned author Stephen King.

One wrote, “I was a kid when IT was published, and my mom was a HUGE Stephen King fan. She had all his books on guaranteed delivery; it was the 80s and a mail order program.

Well… me and siblings were staying with friends the night she received it. The next morning? I walked home because I’d forgotten my bathing suit, and I walked into the kitchen to see her sitting there with coffee and her nose in IT. I said, “Hi, Mom!!” She about jumped through the ceiling and screamed like I was a tarantula joining her for breakfast. I screamed too, and she dropped the book… it left a small dent in the hardwood. I laugh so hard now. Turns out she started reading it, and it was so scary that she just kept reading it, so she could finish the story. She assumed all three of us wouldn’t be back til dinner time. Then I walked in.

She hadn’t slept at all because that book scared her so badly. She said the movie wasn’t nearly as scary as the book. I believe her. And have never read nor watched the film.”

7. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is quite controversial and has a dark history associated with it.

This user said, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Written by agents of 19th Century Russian czars, it’s an anti-Semitic screed that accuses Jews of all sorts of horrible things. If you think of stereotypes and caricatures, this is where they all originated. This book spurred countless pogroms since it was written, and it was major propaganda for the Holocaust. To this day, the book is circulated among white supremacists. Literally, millions of people were killed by followers of this book.”

Another shared, “I was looking for this one. Easily the highest direct death count. Many, if not most current-day conspiracies can be traced back to it as well. New world order and ‘X’ control the media conspiracies especially.”

8. The Turner Diaries

The book tells us the story of a fictional protagonist named Earl Turner, who joins a white supremacist group and becomes involved in a violent revolution against the government and minority groups.

One commented, “Honestly, my first guess would probably be the Turner diaries. It’s a prolific book found in many right-wing extremist militia groups and more or less created the main right-wing talking points that were very commonplace along internet spaces during 2016. It’s probably led to a lot of extremism, but I think it is a more interesting choice than the bible. It has also been used as inspiration for several white supremacist terrorist attacks.”

Another said, “Thank goodness someone is saying it! Witchcraft? The Bible? Yeah, okay, I’ll take em, but Turner Diaries, and more so Protocols, are like basic indoctrination for white supremacy and terror.”

Someone else agreed, “I actually read the Turner Diaries about 20 years ago. Yep, absolutely White supremacy.”

9. The Twilight Series

If you haven’t heard of Twilight, you might be living under a rock!

One Redditor commented, “Twilight series has entered the chat.”

Another replied, “100% agree. I could eat an entire game of Scrabble, then vomit out the letters and still create something more palatable than Twilight.”

10. Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey, written by E.L. James, took the world by storm and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. However, some readers argue that the relationship depicted in the series is unhealthy and problematic.

Someone said, “The 50 Shades of Grey books, I’m fairly certain that they cause brain damage.”

Another shared, “The amount of damage control the {redacted} and kink communities have had to manage for the newly interested after those books and films came out was immense. I remember teaching consent classes, and afterward people approaching me with questions where my answer was regularly, ‘That isn’t {redacted} that’s ab**e.’”

11. The Anarchist Cookbook

“The Anarchist Cookbook” was written by William Powell in 1971. It gained attention for its controversial content, which includes instructions and information on various topics like explosives and drug manufacturing.

Someone said, “The Anarchist Cookbook would seem like a pretty dangerous book in the hands of anyone with bad intentions.”

Another wrote, “Anarchist cookbook. Teaches how to make explosives and bombs, just for highlights…”

Another user added, “I’ve heard that many of the instructions on how to make chemical stuff are just flat-out wrong and extremely dangerous.”

12. The Rape of Nanking

“The Rape of Nanking” is a challenging read that confronts us with the darkest aspects of humanity. It serves as a stark reminder of the brutality of war and the depths to which human beings can sink.

This user shares, “iirc, a woman made a book describing the horrific details of the war (I forget if it was a Korean, Vietnamese, or Japanese one), but it described the most explicit and horrific details possible of rapist soldiers and the crimes committed on women and children. Pushback was so bad that she ended up killing herself and being seen as a traitor to her country.”

Another clarified: “That’s the one. The author Iris Chang did kill herself, although I don’t know where the ‘traitor to her country’ stuff is coming from. She was Chinese-American, and I can’t imagine China or assorted Chinese communities around the world having any objections, although there may have been some Japanese who protested — claiming that she was making their grandfathers and great-grandfathers in the Japanese Army who were part of this “look terrible!” Newsflash to those people: Your ancestors’ actions were horrendous, and they were as bad as the SS Guards in the Nazi death camps!”

13. The Communist Manifesto

Someone named: “The Communist Manifesto.”

Another user elaborated, “It’s dangerous because of what it led to. Would we have had Stalin or Mao without it? We can add more to that list as well, but the top two are fairly illustrative. It may have been written with the best of intentions, but the ideas went on to be perverted by despots that led to millions of deaths and suffering.”

Of course, “The Communist Manifesto” has sparked intense debates over the years. Some view it as a blueprint for a utopian society, while others criticize its implementation in real-world scenarios, which often led to human rights abuses!

14. The Prince

“The Prince” is a classic written by Machiavelli in the early 16th century. It’s a guidebook on political leadership and explores the dynamics of acquiring power!

One shared, “The Prince- by Niccolò Machiavelli. Basically a guide on modern political philosophy.”

Another claimed, “My choice as well. This book pioneered the self-righteous idea basically. Pretty important for its time. You can underline each sentence.”

Someone else wrote, “Didn’t he get exiled? Shows you what happens when you follow Machiavelli.”

15. 48 Laws of Power

This Redditor said, “48 Laws of Power is pretty toxic.”

Another person commented, “I was gonna say this one. I saw it in my college library and tried to read it. Couldn’t finish it. It should be called “How to be a completely disingenuous person” Or “How to become Patrick Bateman from American Psycho””

Many readers argue that it promotes manipulative and unethical behavior in the pursuit of power!

16. Foundations of Geopolitics

“Foundations of Geopolitics” is a book written by Russian political scientist Aleksandr Dugin in 1997. It outlines a strategy for Russian dominance in Eurasia and the world at large.

One said, “Foundations of Geopolitics. Written by a far-right political theorist in 1997, it’s become Russia’s playbook over the last twenty years. Describes how they can maximize their geopolitical influence by basically de-stabilizing the West.”

Another agreed, “Yes!!! Came here to say this. If WW3 happens, it will be because of Russian imperialism, which is largely informed by this book.”

17. Capitalism & Freedom

“Capitalism & Freedom” is a powerful argument in favor of free-market capitalism and its compatibility with individual freedom.

This user said, “”Capitalism & Freedom” by Milton Friedman (1962). Anything you hate about the current social, economic, or political environments probably has at least a root or two in the concepts cooked up by this muppet.

Great rough takes include: Racism won’t happen in neoliberalism because it isn’t cost-effective (whoops there). Licensing shouldn’t exist because fields will naturally self-regulate (another miss, but he’s trying). The concept of a socially responsible company will lead to quasi-dictatorships and societal controls (lobbyists really scream SJW to me)

Finally, my personal favorite: People should be educated, but making it free balances the system out too much, so privatize that bad boy (no major consequences to see here)

This guy is the grandpappy of monetarism, and this book is a really solid distillation of both the dearth of evidence for his opinions (shocking for economic academia of the time \s) as well as the underlying triggers for this neoliberal foolishness most of us currently occupy. Worth a read for anyone who wants to make fun of that cousin at a big 4 firm over the holidays or understand the malicious patterns of the system that keep the grindstones spinning.”

18. The Big Book of Mischief

“The Big Book of Mischief” is a collection of pranks, tricks, and mischievous activities. It’s a book that celebrates the playful side of life and encourages readers to embrace their inner mischief-makers.

Someone named this book: “The Big Book of Mischief by David Richards.”

Another added, “Put many tenants of terrorism in the hands of every Rando in the world.”

19. Age of Reason & Agrarian Justice

“Age of Reason” is a book written by Thomas Paine in which he challenges religious institutions and advocates for science and individual freedom. Paine questions the authority of organized religion and promotes a more critical approach to understanding the world.

“Agrarian Justice” talks about Paine’s views on social justice and inequality. He proposes the idea of a social welfare system funded by a tax on inherited wealth! Paine argues that land is a common resource and everyone has a natural right to share its benefits.

One user shared “Age of Reason & Agrarian Justice by Thomas Paine (covers politics and religion). I doubt many people in power would like those 2 books widely read.”

The books sparked controversy and faced strong opposition from religious leaders of the time.

20. The Necronomicon

“The Necronomicon” features in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the renowned horror and weird fiction author. Lovecraft described it as an ancient tome, said to contain knowledge of forbidden and dangerous occult practices!

This Redditor said, “The Necronomicon, first written as Al Azif by Abdul Alhazred. It has since taken on many names and translations, but the original text has been lost to time. Everywhere this book went, death and suffering would follow.”

Someone wrote, “Came here for this!”

Another joked, “It isn’t dangerous as long as you say the words, “Klaatu barada necktie”.”


Books have the power to disseminate misinformation and manipulate readers. Certain books may promote conspiracy theories or violence, making them dangerous.

Are there any dangerous books you’ve read?




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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.