The books in this section present some transformative crisis for a society or nation. While the focus may be on an individual protagonist, the goal of the story is grander. The authors saw in the people in their wider community, or in the hearts of people worldwide, something in desperate need of change. Through the pages of each book, the errant spot or its recommend cleanup method takes center stage.
Many of the societal defects highlighted in these books are things we take for granted as outdated today. But the problems and conflicts in each book are not aged relics from the dawning of civilization. They are all relatively close to us, and there are people around today who were still alive when these books first came out. (Click on a book to access its detail page.)
by Upton Sinclair
Cry, the Beloved Country
by Alan Paton
by Ralph Ellison
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
by John Le Carré
All of these books had an impact on the original readers. In one case, the book prompted government action. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was so shocking, it helped motivate American politicians to enact legislation and programs that would eventually become the Food and Drug Administration.