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The Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge

The Book of the Dead by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge

The Egyptian Book of the Dead, or the Book of Coming Forth by Day, is an Ancient Egyptian funerary text consisting of spells to protect the soul on its journey to Duat, or Afterlife.

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My Inventions and Other Works

My Inventions and Other Works by Nikola Tesla

My Inventions and Other Works by Nikola Tesla

Between February and October 1919, Nikola Tesla submitted many articles to the magazine Electrical Experimenter. The most famous of these works is a six part series titled My Inventions, which is an autobiographical account of Nikola Tesla’s life and his most celebrated discoveries. This work has been compiled and republished as a stand-alone book several times under different names, but has been a cause of some controversy.

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By Right of Conquest

By Right of Conquest by G. A. Henty

By Right of Conquest by G. A. Henty

In perhaps the most audacious military enterprise in the history of human conquest, Cortez, with only a few hundred men, conquered a civilization of tens of thousands. This is the story of an Englishman who boards a merchant ship destined for the New World, but a shipwreck strands him in Pre-Columbian Mexico, and Roger must find a way to avoid becoming one of the many human sacrifices offered to the Aztec gods.

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Far Away and Long Ago

Far Away and Long Ago by W. H. Hudson

Far Away and Long Ago by W. H. Hudson

William Henry Hudson was an author, naturalist and ornithologist. Hudson was born of U.S. parents living in the Quilmes Partido in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, where he spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier. ‘Far Away and Long Ago’ is a classic memoir of a boy, fascinated by nature, on the Pampas in the 19th century.

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Seven Men

Seven Men by Sir Max Beerbohm

Seven Men by Sir Max Beerbohm

In order to liven up the literary history of Great Britain in the 1890s (as if Oscar Wilde, Stevenson, Kipling, Hardy, etc., were not lively enough) Max Beerbohm wrote short biographies of six imaginary writers. Though their works of course no longer exist, he leaves the impression that the literary world is really none the poorer. It is, of course, the six men themselves (Beerbohm himself is the seventh man of the title) who are worth our attention.

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Adventures of a Nature Guide

Adventures of a Nature Guide by Enos A. Mills

Adventures of a Nature Guide by Enos A. Mills

Enos Mills, naturalist and conservationist, was instrumental in the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. Like his mentor John Muir, Mills was an intrepid solitary high country rambler, as well as an accomplished Colorado mountain guide. There are mountain tales aplenty in “Adventures of a Nature Guide.” At one point, Mills climbs Long’s Peak alone in a gale with winds topping 170 mph., “carried away with the wild, elemental eloquence of the storm.” Near the summit, the wind is so fierce he cannot make headway, so he concludes to “reverse ends.” “Putting a shoulder against a rock point, I allowed the wind to push my legs around. This . . . enabled me to brace effectively with my feet, and also to hang on more securely with my hands. . . There was no climbing; the wind sucked, dragged, pushed, and floated me ever upward.”

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Personal Narrative of Travels – Volume 2

Personal Narrative of Travels - Volume 2 by Alexander von Humboldt

Personal Narrative of Travels – Volume 2 by Alexander von Humboldt

In 1799, with extensive travel permissions from the Spanish government, Alexander von Humboldt and the botanist Aimé Bonpland departed for the Americas on a journey of exploration that would last well into 1804. In writing the “Personal Narrative…”, von Humboldt combined a description of the places and people of their travels with diverse scientific observations; but particularly of plants and animals, geology, weather and astronomy. von Humboldt’s narrative (and Thomasina Ross’s translation) of their adventures is marvelously well written and at times poetically descriptive. Volume I of the “Personal Narrative….”, covers their preparations, departure from Spain, and their travels to the Canary Islands, Tobago, Cumana and vicinity, and Caracas and vicinity in Venezuela. Alexander von Humboldt was a member of the Prussian aristocracy. He was well educated and as a young man worked as an inspector of mines. After receiving an inheritance from his Mother, he was able to follow his desire to explore and follow scientific pursuits, and was sufficiently wealthy to equip and fund his scientific expeditions. Although not a household name today (unless you live in one of the 18 places named after him), von Humboldt was the best known naturalist of his day, and his published observations and interpretations have a very important place in the history of science. For example, he strongly influenced Charles Darwin. He aimed to find the universal principles that integrate all aspects of nature (the Unity of Nature) rather than to just describe and as such is considered to be the founder of biogeography; and he is recognized as being among the first to describe the effect of human activity on climate.

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Unaddressed Letters

Unaddressed Letters

Unaddressed Letters

I had a friend who loved me;” but he has gone, and the “great gulf” is between us. After his death, I received a packet of manuscript with these few words:—“What I have written may appeal to you because of our friendship, and because, when you come to read them, you will seek to grasp, in these apparent confidences, an inner meaning that to the end will elude you. If you think others, not the many but the few, might find here any answer to their unuttered questionings, any fellowship of sympathy in those experiences which are the milestones of our lives, then use the letters as you will, but without my name. I shall have gone, and the knowledge of my name would make no one either wiser or happier.” The writer was, by trade, a diplomatist; by inclination, a sportsman with literary and artistic tastes; by force of circumstances he was a student of many characters, and in some sense a cynic. He was also a traveler—not a great traveler, but he knew a good deal of Europe, a little of America, much of India and the further East. He spent some time in this neighborhood, and was much interested in the country and its people. There is an Eastern atmosphere about many of the letters, and he made no secret of the fact that he was fascinated by the glamour of the lands of sunshine. He died very suddenly by misadventure, and, even to me, his packet of letters came rather as a revelation.

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The World’s Storybook – Volume 1

The World's Storybook - Volume 1 by Eva March Tappan

The World's Storybook – Volume 1 by Eva March Tappan

This is the first volume of the 15-volume series of The World’s Story: a history of the World in story, song and art, edited by Eva March Tappan. Each book is a compilation of selections from prose literature, poetry and pictures and offers a comprehensive presentation of the world’s history, art and culture, from the early times till the beginning of the 20th century.

Topics in Part I include China, Korea, Japan and the Islands of the Pacific.

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The South Pole

The South Pole by Roald Amundsen

The South Pole by Roald Amundsen

In contrast to Scott’s South Pole expedition, Amundsen’s expedition benefited from good equipment, appropriate clothing, and a fundamentally different primary task (Amundsen did no surveying on his route south and is known to have taken only two photographs) Amundsen had a better understanding of dogs and their handling, and he used of skis more effectively. He pioneered an entirely new route to the Pole and they returned. In Amundsen’s own words: “Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.” Short accounts by other members of the party are appended.

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