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The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52

Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe moved to California from Massachusetts during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800’s. During her travels, Louise was offered the opportunity to write for The Herald about her travel adventures. It was at this point that Louise chose the name “Shirley” as her pen name. Dame Shirley wrote a series of 23 letters to her sister Mary Jane (also known as Molly) in Massachusetts in 1851 and 1852. The “Shirley Letters”, as the collected whole later became known, gave true accounts of life in two gold mining camps on the Feather River in the 1850s. She described th...

Xenophon s Anabasis –by: Xenophon

Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move once more, to settle in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C. “Anabasis” is a Greek work which meane “journey from the coast to the center of a country.” This is Xenophon’s account of his march to Persia with a troop of Greek mercenaries to aid Cyrus, who enlisted Greek help to try and take the throne from his brother Artaxerxes, and the ensuing return of the Greeks, in...

The Innocents Abroad –by: Mark Twain

When you dive into Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens’) The Innocents Abroad, you have to be ready to learn more about the unadorned, ungilded reality of 19th century “touring” than you might think you want to learn. This is a tough, literary journey. It was tough for Twain and his fellow “pilgrims”, both religious and otherwise. They set out, on a June day in 1867, to visit major tourist sites in Europe and the near east, including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, “the Holy Land”, and Egypt. What Twain records, in often humorous, sometimes grotesque but always fascinating detail, ...

Rogue s Life –by: Wilkie Collins

"[T]he story offers the faithful reflection of a very happy time in my past life. It was written at Paris, when I had Charles Dickens for a near neighbor and a daily companion, and when my leisure hours were joyously passed with many other friends, all associated with literature and art, of whom the admirable comedian, Regnier, is now the only survivor. The revising of these pages has been to me a melancholy task. I can only hope that they may cheer the sad moments of others. The Rogue may surely claim two merits, at least, in the eyes of the new generation—he is never serious for two moment...

Our Old Home –by: Nathaniel Hawthorne

These essays, based on Hawthorne’s stay in England from 1853 to 1857 as American Consul in Liverpool, were first published in the form of a series of travel articles for The Atlantic Monthly.

In these writings, he displays his humor, his empathetic nature, his pride in his country, and sometimes his sharp judgment of others. He shares with us the difficulties of being a consul in the 1850’s, takes us on a tour with him through rural England and Scotland, shows us the splendors of London, and the horrors of the poverty that so many suffered. (Introduction by Margaret)

First Pag...

Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister –by: Ulysses S. Grant

Among the national leaders whose names will always hold an honorable place in American history is Ulysses S. Grant, the simple-hearted man and capable soldier, to whose patriotism, courage, persistence, and skill was so largely due the successful termination of the war between the States, the contest which assured the foundations of the Republic. We are interested not only in learning what this man did, but in coming to know, as far as may be practicable, what manner of man he was. It is all-important in a study of development of character to have placed within reach the utterances of the man ...

The Journals of Robert Falcon Scott

Capt. Robert F. Scott's bid to be the leader of the first expedition to reach the South Pole is one of the most famous journeys of all time. What started as a scientific expedition turned out to be an unwilling race against a team lead by R. Admunsen to reach the Pole. The Norwegian flag already stood at the end of the trail when Scott's party reached their target. All the five men of the Scott expedition who took part in the last march to the Pole perished on their way back to safety.

Robert F. Scott kept a journal throughout the journey, all the way to the tragic end, documenting all...

Over the Top

Arthur Guy Empey was an American who responded to the sinking of the Lusitania by enlisting with the British Army to fight in France. His experiences in the trenches, including his ultimate wounding and convalescence, became this book. When published in 1917, it was a major hit and helped the recruiting effort when America entered the Great War.

If you’ve heard of the horror of trench warfare in WWI and want to see it from below dirt level, Empey offers it all here.

Also included is Empey’s popular “Tommy’s Dictionary of the Trenches” which humorously demistifies the s...

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