The Education of Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams records the struggle of Bostonian Henry Adams, in early old age, to come to terms with the dawning 20th century, so different from the world of his youth. It is also a sharp critique of 19th century educational theory and practice. In 1907, Adams began privately circulating copies of a limited edition printed at his own expense. Commercial publication had to await its author’s 1918 death, whereupon it won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize. (Introduction by Wikipedia)

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On the Irrawaddy

On the Irrawaddy by G. A. Henty

On the Irrawaddy by G. A. Henty

With the exception of the terrible retreat from Afghanistan, none of England’s many little wars have been so fatal–in proportion to the number of those engaged–as our first expedition to Burma. It was undertaken without any due comprehension of the difficulties to be encountered, from the effects of climate and the deficiency of transport; the power, and still more the obstinacy and arrogance of the court of Ava were altogether underrated; and it was considered that our possession of her ports would assuredly bring the enemy, who had wantonly forced the struggle upon us, to submission. Events, however, proved the completeness of the error. The Burman policy of carrying off every boat on the river, laying waste the whole country, and driving away the inhabitants and the herds, maintained our army as prisoners in Rangoon through the first wet season; and caused the loss of half the white officers and men first sent there. The subsequent campaign was no less fatal and, although large reinforcements had been sent, fifty percent of the whole died; so that less than two thousand fighting men remained in the ranks, when the expedition arrived within a short distance of Ava. Not until the last Burmese army had been scattered did the court of Ava submit to the by no means onerous terms we imposed

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Scrambles Amongst the Alps

Scrambles Amongst the Alps by Edward Whymper

Scrambles Amongst the Alps by Edward Whymper

Scrambles Amongst the Alps is one the great classics (some would say the greatest) of early mountaineering literature, and Edward Whymper one of the leading figures of the early years of Alpine climbing. He is best known, of course, for his many attempts on the Matterhorn, and for the loss of four members of his climbing party after the successful first ascent of the peak in July, 1865. Although the Matterhorn stands in ways in the center of his book, there are descriptions of many other ascents as well, in the Alps of France and Italy, as well as those of Switzerland.

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The Autobiography of Charles Darwin

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin by Charles Darwin

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin by Charles Darwin

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin is the autobiography of the British naturalist Charles Darwin.

Darwin wrote the book, which he entitled Recollections of the Development of my Mind and Character, for his family. He states that he started writing it on about May 28, 1876 and had finished it by August 3.

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Religio Medici and Hydriotaphia

Religio Medici and Hydriotaphia by Sir Thomas Browne

Religio Medici and Hydriotaphia by Sir Thomas Browne

Religio Medici (The Religion of a Doctor) sets out Sir Thomas Browne’s spiritual testament as well as being an early psychological self-portrait.

Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns lately found in Norfolk. Its nominal subject was the discovery of a Roman urn burial in Norfolk.

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The Trojan Women

The Trojan Women by Euripides

The Trojan Women by Euripides

Euripides’ play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves. However, it begins first with the gods Athena and Poseidon discussing ways to punish the Greek armies because they condoned Ajax the Lesser for dragging Cassandra away from Athena’s temple. What follows shows how much the Trojan women have suffered as their grief is compounded when the Greeks dole out additional deaths and divide their shares of women.

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Eighty Years and More

Eighty Years and More by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Eighty Years and More by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the premier movers in the original women’s rights movement, along with Susan B. Anthony, her best friend for over 50 years. While Elizabeth initially stayed home with her husband and many babies and wrote the speeches, Susan went on the road to bring the message of the women’s rights movement to an often hostile public. When black men were given the vote in 1870, Susan and Elizabeth led the women’s rights establishment of the time to withhold support for a bill that would extend to black men the rights still denied for women of all colors. The two women worked for over 50 years on the women’s rights cause, yet neither lived to see women get the right to vote when it finally came in 1920.
Elizabeth begins her memoirs with this quotation, “Social science affirms that woman’s place in society marks the level of civilization.” She dedicates this book to “SUSAN B. ANTHONY, MY STEADFAST FRIEND FOR HALF A CENTURY”.

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Through the Brazilian Wilderness

Through the Brazilian Wilderness by Theodore Roosevelt

Through the Brazilian Wilderness by Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt’s popular book Through the Brazilian Wilderness describes his expedition into the Brazilian jungle in 1913 as a member of the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition co-named after its leader, Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon. The book describes all of the scientific discovery, scenic tropical vistas and exotic flora, fauna and wild life experienced on the expedition. One goal of the expedition was to find the headwaters of the Rio da Duvida, the River of Doubt, and trace it north to the Madeira and thence to the Amazon River. It was later renamed Rio Roosevel. Roosevelt’s crew consisted of his 24-year-old son Kermit, Colonel Cândido Rondon, a naturalist sent by the American Museum of Natural History named George K. Cherrie, Brazilian Lieutenant Joao Lyra, team physician Dr. José Antonio Cajazeira, and sixteen highly skilled paddlers (called camaradas in Portuguese). The initial expedition started on December 9, 1913, at the height of the rainy season. The trip down the River of Doubt started on February 27, 1914.

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Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions, Volume 2

Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions, Volume 2 by Frank Harris

Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions, Volume 2 by Frank Harris

Consumers of biography are familiar with the division between memoirs of the living or recently dead written by those who “knew” the subject more or less intimately, and the more objective or scholarly accounts produced by later generations.

In the case of Wilde, as presented to us by Frank Harris, we are in a way doubly estranged from the subject. We meet with Oscar the charismatic talker, whose tone of voice can never be reproduced – even if a more scrupulous biographer had set down his words accurately – and we are perhaps already aware of him as Wilde the self-destructive celebrity who uneasily fills the place of the premier gay icon and martyr in our contemporary view.

Neither of these images will do. We need to read as many accounts as possible. Harris, though himself a self-advertising literary and sexual buccaneer, takes a wincingly representative view of Wilde’s homophile activity: for him it is a patrician excrescence, the abominable vice of the few, contracted at English boarding schools – though thankfully “not infectious” as far as he himself is concerned.

What a long road we have to travel to arrive at the essentially gay man of today! But there are many shortcuts to take us back to where we came from

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Greek and Roman Ghost Stories

Greek and Roman Ghost Stories by Lacy Collison-Morley

Greek and Roman Ghost Stories by Lacy Collison-Morley

A non-fiction work, comparing and collecting ghost stories by Classical Greek and Republican or Imperial Roman authors.

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