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Adrift on an Ice-Pan

By: Sir Wilfred Grenfell

This autobiographical work describes the author's harrowing experience caught on a small drifting piece of ice, while crossing a frozen bay by dog team on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. (Summary by Sean Michael Hogan)...

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Tom Brown's School Days

By: Thomas Hughes

Tom Brown's Schooldays is a novel by Thomas Hughes first published in 1857. The story is set at Rugby School, a public school for boys, in the 1830s. Hughes attended Rugby School from 1834 to 1842. The novel was originally published as being by an Old Boy of Rugby, and much of it is based on the author's experiences. Tom Brown is largely based on the author's brother, George Hughes; and George Arthur, another of the book's main characters, is based on Arthur Penrhyn Stanley. The fictional Tom's life also resembles the author's in that the culminating event of his school career was a cricket match. Tom Brown was tremendously influential on the genre of British school novels, which began in the 19th century, and is one of the few still in print. A sequel, Tom Brown at Oxford, was published in 1861 but is not as well known. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

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Aus meinem Leben. Dichtung und Wahrheit

By: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Aus meinem Leben. Dichtung und Wahrheit ist eine zwischen 1808 und 1831 entstandene Autobiographie, in der Johann Wolfgang von Goethe seine Erlebnisse aus den Jahren 1749 bis 1775 liebevoll darstellt. Nach Richard Friedenthal ist diese mannigfaltig vorschreitende Lebensgeschichte einer der großen deutschen Romane - ein Hausbuch. (Zusammenfassung von Wikipedia)...

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Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys

By: Amelia B. Edwards

Amelia B. Edwards wrote this historical travelogue in in 1873. The book describes her travels through a relatively un-visited area in the South Tyrol district of Italy. The Dolomites are a part of that most famous of mountain chains, the Alps. In this book, the Writer and her friend and companion, L., travel from Southern Italy, having over-wintered there, to visit the Dolomite district. Her chatty style, dry sense of humor, accuracy of facts, and sympathy for humanity set her works apart. The slice of Victorian British life presented is quite captivating. She would later travel throughout Europe and Egypt at a time when most women didn't leave home. Later she was to become one of the pioneering Egyptologists of the age. This is her first travelogue....

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Confessions, volumes 3 and 4

By: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“The smallest, the most trifling pleasure that is conveniently within my reach, tempts me more than all the joys of paradise.” Here again is the youthful, hero-worshipping Jean-Jacques – displaying an emotional immaturity that leads him into picaresque escapades in the company of transients and misfits, always ending in reunion with mother-surrogate Madame de Warens. In a literally unprecedented gesture of self-revelation, Rousseau opens Volume 3 exposing himself indecently in dark alleyways. This 1903 edition fails to appreciate the humorous strangeness of the passage and removes it to protect the reader. (Summary by Martin Geeson) Volumes 1 and 2 of this book can be found /confessions-volumes-1-and-2-by-jean-jacques-rousseau/ here...

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Football Days: Memories of the Game and of the Men behind the Ball

By: William Hanford Edwards

A book reminiscent of the days when football was gaining popularity in America by MHAIJH85

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Cruise of the Snark, The

By: Jack London

The Cruise of the Snark (1913) is a memoir of Jack and Charmian London's 1907-1909 voyage across the Pacific. His descriptions of surf-riding, which he dubbed a royal sport, helped introduce it to and popularize it with the mainland. London writes: Through the white crest of a breaker suddenly appears a dark figure, erect, a man-fish or a sea-god, on the very forward face of the crest where the top falls over and down, driving in toward shore, buried to his loins in smoking spray, caught up by the sea and flung landward, bodily, a quarter of a mile. It is a Kanaka on a surf-board. And I know that when I have finished these lines I shall be out in that riot of colour and pounding surf, trying to bit those breakers even as he, and failing as he never failed, but living life as the best of us may live it. Excerpted from Wikipedia....

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Love Letters of Dorothy Osborne

By: Dorothy Osborne

A lively, interesting and important collection of 17th century love-letters written by an English lady, against the background of the Civil War and the Restoration [summary by hefyd] After refusing a long string of suitors put forth by her family, including her cousin Thomas Osborne, Henry Cromwell (son of Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell) and Sir Justinian Isham, in 1655 Dorothy Osborne married Sir William Temple, a man with whom she had carried on a lengthy clandestine courtship that was largely epistolary in nature. It is for her letters to Temple, which were witty, progressive and socially illuminating, that Osborne is remembered. Only Osborne's side of the correspondence survived and comprises a collection of seventy-seven letters held in the British Library. (Summary from Wikipedia) Note: This reading contains all the letters in the correspondence but leaves out the editorial comments....

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Co. Aytch,' Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment or, A Side Show of the Big Show

By: Sam R. Watkins

Samuel “Sam” Rush Watkins (June 26, 1839 – July 20, 1901) was a noted Confederate soldier during the American Civil War. He is known today for his memoir Company Aytch: Or, a Side Show of the Big Show , often heralded as one of the best primary sources about the common soldier's Civil War experience....Sam’s writing style is quite engaging and skillfully captures the pride, misery, glory, and horror experienced by the common foot soldier. Watkins is often featured and quoted in Ken Burns’ 1990 documentary titled The Civil War ....

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Five Years of My Life 1894-1899

By: Alfred Dreyfus

Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish captain in the French Army was court martialed in 1894 on a trumped up charge of treason and condemned to life imprisonment on Devil’s island, a penal colony off French Guiana. His prison diary, published as Five Years of My Life in 1901 is a heroic tale of survival against daunting odds: isolation, deprivation, torture . . Alfred left behind in Paris his wife Lucie, who, forbidden to join her husband in exile, struggled to protect their two children from the rampant anti-Semitism that swirled about them, while she begged her husband to hold onto life as she tried to clear his name. Excerpts from the letters that Alfred and Lucie wrote to each other, between Devil’s island and Paris, are included in Five Years. Their letters are one of the great love stories of all times. “I live only by feverish will from day to day,” Dreyfus wrote to Lucie on September 4, 1897. Imprisoned in a walled-in hut in brutal heat, for months chained to his bed at night so that he could not turn over, watched 24-hours a day by guards who were forbidden to speak to him, denied books to read or any means of exercising, and only at se...

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Hospital Sketches

By: Louisa May Alcott

Alcott in 1862 served as a nurse in Georgetown, D.C during the Civil War. She wrote home what she observed there. Those harrowing and sometimes humorous letters compiled make up Hospital Sketches. (Summary by Aaron Elliott)...

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My Life and Work

By: Henry Ford

Henry Ford profiles the events that shaped his personal philosophy, and the challenges he overcame on the road to founding the Ford Motor Company. Throughout his memoir, he stresses the importance of tangible service and physical production over relative value as judged by profits and money. He measures the worth of a business or government by the service it provides to all, not the profits in dollars it accumulates. He also makes the point that only service can provide for human needs, as opposed to laws or rules which can only prohibit specific actions and do not provide for the necessaries of life. Ford applies his reasoning to the lending system, transportation industry, international trade and interactions between labor and management. For each, he proposes solutions that maximize service and provide goods at the lowest cost and highest quality. He analyzes from a purely material viewpoint, going as far as to argue that the need for a good feeling in work environments may reflect a character flaw or weakness. However, his unflinching focus on the ultimate material products and necessities of life provide clever insights in how ...

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Story of Mary MacLane, The

By: Mary MacLane

At the age of 19 in 1902, MacLane published her first book, The Story of Mary MacLane. It sold 100,000 copies in the first month and was popular among young girls, but was strongly criticized by conservative readers, and lightly ridiculed by H.L. Mencken. She had always chafed at living in Butte, which was a small mining town, and used the money from sales of this book to move to Greenwich Village where she continued to write books and newspaper articles. Some critics have suggested that even by today's standards, MacLane's writing is raw, honest, unflinching, self-aware, sensual and extreme. She wrote openly about egoism and her own self-love, about sexual attraction and love for other women, and even about her desire to marry the devil. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

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Small Boy and Others, A

By: Henry James

A Small Boy and Others is a book of autobiography by Henry James published in 1913. The book covers James's earliest years and discusses his intellectually active family, his intermittent schooling, and his first trips to Europe. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

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Autobiography

By: John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873), British philosopher, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. He was an exponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of it was very different from Bentham's. He was a forceful proponent in the fight for government intervention in social reform....

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Från barnaår till silfverhår. Första afdelningen

By: Anders Ramsay

Från barnaår till silfverhår (From childyears to silverhairs) by Anders Ramsay (1832-1910) is one of the most widely read autobiographies of Fenno-swedish literature. Anders Ramsay's eight volumes offer a great wealth of information about aristocratic life in 19th century Finland, as well as of life in Paris, on the grand tour in Italy and so on. Ramsay's style of writing is free and full of delightful humour -- often at the author's own expense. His life is also a good illustration of the process of industrialisation in Finland, as well as of the triumph of the capitalist spirit over older, aristocratic values. Born a nobleman and landowner, Ramsay felt forced to become an industrialist, but failed miserably. He then went into business, where he failed as completely. However, his autobiography, written at the very end of his life, became a huge critical and popular success, to his immense joy and pride. (Summary by Måns Broo)...

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From Plotzk to Boston

By: Mary Antin

An intensely personal account of the immigration experience as related by a young Jewish girl from Plotzk (a town in the government of Vitebsk, Russia). Mary Antin, with her mother, sisters, and brother, set out from Plotzk in 1894 to join their father, who had journeyed to the Promised Land of America three years before. Fourth class railroad cars packed to suffocation, corrupt crossing guards, luggage and persons crudely disinfected by German officials who feared the cholera, locked quarantine portside, and, finally, the steamer voyage and a famiily reunited. For anyone who has ever wondered what it was like for their grandparents or great grandparents to emmigrate from Europe to the United States last century, this is a fascinating narrative. Mary Antin went on to become an immigration rights activist. She also wrote an autobiography, The Promised Land, published in 1912, which detailed her assimilation into American culture. (Summary by Sue Anderson)...

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My Life in the South

By: Jacob Stroyer

My Life in the South is the vivid and touching autobiography of African-American former slave, Jacob Stroyer. It recounts experiences from his early childhood on the planation up to his involvement in Confederacy's war effort and eventually his experience of becoming a free man....

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Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant

By: Ulysses S. Grant

In preparing these volumes for the public, I have entered upon the task with the sincere desire to avoid doing injustice to any one, whether on the National or Confederate side, other than the unavoidable injustice of not making mention often where special mention is due. There must be many errors of omission in this work, because the subject is too large to be treated of in two volumes in such way as to do justice to all the officers and men engaged. There were thousands of instances, during the rebellion, of individual, company, regimental and brigade deeds of heroism which deserve special mention and are not here alluded to. The troops engaged in them will have to look to the detailed reports of their individual commanders for the full history of those deeds. (Summary by U. S. Grant)...

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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

By: Thomas De Quincey

“Thou hast the keys of Paradise, O just, subtle, and mighty Opium!” Though apparently presenting the reader with a collage of poignant memories, temporal digressions and random anecdotes, the Confessions is a work of immense sophistication and certainly one of the most impressive and influential of all autobiographies. The work is of great appeal to the contemporary reader, displaying a nervous (postmodern?) self-awareness, a spiralling obsession with the enigmas of its own composition and significance. De Quincey may be said to scrutinise his life, somewhat feverishly, in an effort to fix his own identity. The title seems to promise a graphic exposure of horrors; these passages do not make up a large part of the whole. The circumstances of its hasty composition sets up the work as a lucrative piece of sensational journalism, albeit published in a more intellectually respectable organ – the London Magazine – than are today’s tawdry exercises in tabloid self-exposure. What makes the book technically remarkable is its use of a majestic neoclassical style applied to a very romantic species of confessional writing - self-reflexive but a...

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