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Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great by Jacob Abbott

Alexander the Great by Jacob Abbott

Alexander the Great was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks.

Alexander the Great is one of many biographies aimed at young people written by Jacob Abbott and his brother. The biographies are written in such a way that makes them appealing and easily accessible to everyone.

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The Ordeal of Mark Twain

The Ordeal of Mark Twain by Van Wyck Brooks

The Ordeal of Mark Twain by Van Wyck Brooks

This book analyzes the literary progression of Samuel Clemens and his shortcomings (which are debatable). Brooks attributes Clemens’ increasing sense of pessimism to the repression of his creative spirit due largely to his mother and his wife.

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The Last of the Plainsmen

The Last of the Plainsmen by Zane Grey

The Last of the Plainsmen by Zane Grey

The Last of the Plainsman is about the outstanding true account of a trip made in 1909 by Zane Grey and a plainsman, Buffalo Jones, through the Grand Canyon to lasso a cougar. This part of the west was relatively wild and untamed at this time. Wolves, wild horses, buffalo and other wildlife were quite prevalent, and the Indians were not that friendly.

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The Code of Honor

The Code of Honor by John Lyde Wilson

The Code of Honor by John Lyde Wilson

A handbook of sorts on the rules and regulations in the refined and gentlemanly act of dueling.

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The Ten Books on Architecture

The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius Pollio

The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius Pollio

On Architecture is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect Vitruvius and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus as a guide for building projects. The work is one of the most important sources of modern knowledge of Roman building methods as well as the planning and design of structures, both large (aqueducts, buildings, baths, harbours) and small (machines, measuring devices, instruments). He is also the prime source of the famous story of Archimedes and his bath-time discovery. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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A Confederate Girl’s Diary

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

Sarah Morgan Dawson was a young woman of 20 living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when she began this diary. The American Civil War was raging. Though at first the conflict seemed far away, it would eventually be brought home to her in very personal terms. Her family’s loyalties were divided. Sarah’s father, though he disapproved of secession, declared for the South when Louisiana left the Union. Her eldest brother, who became the family patriarch when his father died in 1861, was for the Union, though he refused to take up arms against his fellow Southerners. The family owned slaves, some of whom are mentioned by name in this diary. Sarah was devoted to the Confederacy, and watched with sorrow and indignation its demise. Her diary, written from March 1862 to June 1865, discourses on topics as normal as household routines and romantic intrigues to those as unsettling as concern for her brothers who fought in the war. Largely self-taught, she describes in clear and inviting prose, fleeing Baton Rouge during a bombardment, suffering a painful spinal injury when adequate medical help was unavailable, the looting of her home by Northern soldiers, the humiliation of life under General Butler in New Orleans, and dealing with privations and displacement in a region torn by war. She was a child of her time and place. Her inability to see the cruelty and indignity of slavery grates harshly on the modern ear. Regardless of how one feels about the Lost Cause, however, Sarah’s diary provides a valuable historical perspective on life behind the lines of this bitter conflict.

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The Tiger of Mysore

The Tiger of Mysore by G. A. Henty

The Tiger of Mysore by G. A. Henty

During the Indian war with Tippoo Saib, 15 year old Dick Holland and his mother set out from England to find and rescue his father, shipwrecked 6 years earlier, and believed to be held prisoner by the ‘Tiger of Mysore’.

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Totem and Taboo

Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud

Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud

Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics is a book by Sigmund Freud, published in German in 1913. It is a collection of four essays first published in the journal Imago (1912–13), employing the application of psychoanalysis to the fields of archaeology, anthropology, and the study of religion. The four essays are entitled: The Horror of Incest; Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence; Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thoughts; and The Return of Totemism in Childhood.

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Commentaries on the Laws of England

Commentaries on the Laws of England by William Blackstone

Commentaries on the Laws of England by William Blackstone

The Commentaries were long regarded as the leading work on the development of English law and played a role in the development of the American legal system. They were in fact the first methodical treatise on the common law suitable for a lay readership since at least the Middle Ages. The common law of England has relied on precedent more than statute and codifications and has been far less amenable than the civil law, developed from the Roman law, to the needs of a treatise. The Commentaries were influential largely because they were in fact readable, and because they met a need. The work is as much an apologia for the legal system of the time as it is an explanation; even when the law was obscure, Blackstone sought to make it seem rational, just, and inevitable that things should be how they were. (Summary from Wikipedia.)

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Kepler

Kepler by Walter W. Bryant

Kepler by Walter W. Bryant

This biography of Johannes Kepler begins with an account of what the world of astronomy was like before his time, then proceeds to a look at his early years. Two chapters deal with his working relationship with Tycho Brahe. These are followed by a look at Kepler’s laws and his last years.

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