how the other half lives 9781625584250_hrThe cover of “How the Other Half Lives” by Jacob Riis.Simon and SchusterThere are some books that are just good reads, and then there are others that fundamentally change the course of American history.

Business Insider compiled a list of books — including novels, memoirs, nonfiction works, and photography collections — that led to policy changes or a larger awareness of political issues.

Here are a few literary works (organized by publication year) that moved the needle in powerful ways: