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From Sail to Steam

From Sail to Steam by Alfred Thayer Mahan

From Sail to Steam by Alfred Thayer Mahan

Alfred Thayer Mahan, American historian and author, whose The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660–1783 became instrumental in the formation of naval strategy by many nations in the 20th century, here recounts his observations and experiences over forty years of active duty as a naval officer.

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Captain William Kidd and Others of the Buccaneers

Captain William Kidd and Others of the Buccaneers by John S. C. Abbott

Captain William Kidd and Others of the Buccaneers by John S. C. Abbott

Pirate stories galore! Pirate life was not always what it seemed from the outside.

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The Markets of Paris

The Markets of Paris by Emile Zola

The Markets of Paris by Emile Zola

The Markets of Paris is a remarkable work, and is the one which Zola calls his very best novel, and of which he is far more proud than of any others in his Rougon-Marquart series – prouder than of L’Assommoir. It must have been in his early manhood, when poor and friendless, he lived among the people, that much of the information which makes these pages so startlingly vivid, was acquired. How many mornings, long before dawn, must he have visited these markets – how many hours and days must he have spent there, to have mastered the habits, manners and ways of these people, who are a class by themselves, and of whom we do not lose sight, from the beginning to the end of the book. He introduces us to the Parisian charcutier – the cook shop – and in La Belle Lina, the mistress of the establishment, we find the sister of Gervaise, the woman who stirred the depths of our hearts with pity, in L’Assommoir.

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Palmetto-Leaves

Palmetto-Leaves by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Palmetto-Leaves by Harriet Beecher Stowe

After the Civil War, Harriet and her husband Charles bought an Orange Plantation in Mandarin, on the upper east coast of Florida, where they lived during the winter months. Over the years they expanded their cottage to accommodate many guests (now a museum open to the public). They opened schools to educate and churches to care for the recently freed negros pouring into Florida seeking refuge and opportunity. These charming essays, each describing a largely undeveloped rural land, became one of the first travel guides written about Florida and stimulated the first boom of tourism and residential development to that area. Stow describes its waterways, flora and fauna, the generosity of the people, the lush abundance of flowers, farmer’s efforts to develop crops, Negro relations with whites, correspondence with famous persons, etc

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Democracy in America – Volume 1

Democracy in America - Volume 1 by Alexis de Tocqueville

Democracy in America – Volume 1 by Alexis de Tocqueville

When Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in the 1830s he found a thriving democracy of a kind he had not seen anywhere else. Many of his insightful observations American society and political system, found in the two volume book he published after his visit, still remain surprisingly relevant today.

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Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Foxe's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe

Foxe's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe

The Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe, is an English Protestant account of the persecutions of Protestants, many of whom had died for their beliefs within the decade immediately preceding its first publication. It was first published by John Day, in 1563. Lavishly illustrated with many woodcuts, it was the largest publishing project undertaken in Britain up to that time. Commonly known as, “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs”, the work’s full title begins with “Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, Touching Matters of the Church.” There were many subsequent editions, by Day, and by other editors down through the years. Foxe’s original work was enormous (the second edition filling two heavy folio volumes with a total of 2,300 pages, estimated to be twice as long as Edward Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” This edition is much abridged from Foxe’s original

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Fort Concho

Fort Concho by J. N. Gregory

Fort Concho by J. N. Gregory

Fort Concho was a U.S. Army post in central Texas from 1867 to 1889. It figured considerably in the Indian Wars, notably against the Comanches. It mainly served to protect frontier settlers, stagecoaches, wagon trains, the U.S. mail, and trade routes. This book, published by the museum at the site of the fort, is the story of its activities.

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The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors & Architects, Vol. 1

The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors & Architects, Vol. 1 by Giorgio Vasari

The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors & Architects, Vol. 1 by Giorgio Vasari

The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times, or Le Vite delle più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori, as it was originally known in Italian, is a series of artist biographies written by 16th century Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, which is considered “perhaps the most famous, and even today the most- read work of the older literature of art”, “some of the Italian Renaissance’s most influential writing on art”, and “one of the founding texts in art history”. Vasari’s work has been described as “by far the most influential single text for the history of Renaissance art” and “the most important work of Renaissance biography of artists”. Its influence is situated mainly in three domains: as an example for contemporary and later biographers and art historians, as a defining factor in the view on the Renaissance and the role of Florence and Rome in it, and as a major source of information on the lives and works of early Italian artists. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Buffalo Bill from Prairie to Palace

Buffalo Bill from Prairie to Palace by John M. Burke

Buffalo Bill from Prairie to Palace by John M. Burke

William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody is one of the legends of the American western frontier. As a teen he rode for the pony expressed and then drove for the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. He later rejoined the army as a scout and was awarded the medal of honor for his valor during the Indian Wars. His fame became worldwide, however, through his flamboyant Wild West shows which toured not only across the American West but through England and Europe. John M. Burke served as Cody’s publicist and promoter for the Wild West shows, propelling him into celebrity status.

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The Facts of Reconstruction

The Facts of Reconstruction by John R. Lynch

The Facts of Reconstruction by John R. Lynch

After the American Civil War, John R. Lynch, who had been a slave in Mississippi, began his political career in 1869 by first becoming Justice of the Peace, and then Mississippi State Representative. He was only 26 when he was elected to the US Congress in 1873. There, he continued to be an activist, introducing many bills and arguing on their behalf. Perhaps his greatest effort was in the long debate supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to ban discrimination in public accommodations.

In 1884 Lynch was the first African American nominated after a moving speech by Theodore Roosevelt to the position of Temporary Chairman of the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. During the Spanish-American War of 1898, he was appointed Treasury Auditor and then Paymaster under the Republicans. In 1901, he began serving with the Regular Army with tours of duty in the United States, Cuba, and the Philippines.

Lynch retired from the Army in 1911, then married Cora Williams. They moved to Chicago, where he practiced law. He also became involved in real estate. After his death in Chicago 1939 at the age of 92, he was buried with military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. He was entitled to this as a Congressman and veteran.

After the turn of the century, Lynch wrote a book, The Facts of Reconstruction, and several articles criticizing the then-dominant Dunning School historiography. Dunning and followers had emphasized the views of former slave owners and routinely downplayed any positive contributions of African Americans during Reconstruction, as well as suggesting they could not manage any political power. Lynch argued that blacks had made substantial contributions during the period. Since he participated directly in Reconstruction-era governments, Lynch’s book is considered a primary source in study of the period.

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