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By: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Book cover King Henry VIII
Book cover King Henry VIII

By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities

Its immortal opening lines, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." set the stage for a sweeping narrative that combines drama, glory, honor, history, romance, brutality, sacrifice and resurrection. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is one of the most widely read and famous works of historical fiction in the English language. Dickens had recently launched his magazine All the Year Round in 1859. In the same year, he began featuring A Tale of Two Cities in 31 weekly installments in his new magazine...

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens Our Mutual Friend

As the last published novel of a writer whose career spanned over a dozen novels, innumerable short stories, plays and nonfiction, Our Mutual Friend is indeed a great composition by Charles Dickens. Considered to be one of his most mature, insightful and refined works, Our Mutual Friend takes a long, hard look at what many Victorians loved but hated to admit they did—money. Dickens uses satire, irony, symbolism and biting wit to portray this unlovely picture of a society obsessed with material comforts and its hypocrisy about the means it uses to achieve its ends...

A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens A Child's History of England

A Child’s History of England first appeared in serial form, running from January 25, 1851 to December 10, 1853 and was first published in three volume book form in 1852, 1853, and 1854. Dickens dedicated the book to “My own dear children, whom I hope it may help, bye and bye, to read with interest larger and better books on the same subject”. The history covered the period between 50 BC and 1689, ending with a chapter summarising events from then until the ascension of Queen Victoria.

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens Barnaby Rudge

One of the two Historical novels Charles Dickens wrote, Barnaby Rudge is set around the ‘Gordon’ riots in London in 1780. The story begins in 1775 with Barnaby, his Mother, and his talking Raven Grip, fleeing their home from a blackmailer, and going into hiding. Joe Willet similarly finds he must leave his home to escape his Father’s ire, leaving behind the woman he loves. Five years later these characters, and many others whose lives we have followed, find themselves caught up in the horrific Protestant rioting led by Sir George Gordon...

Book cover Master Humphrey's Clock
Book cover Speeches: Literary and Social

By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

The Adventures of Gerard by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Gerard

These lesser known stories were penned by Conan Doyle during the period between killing off Sherlock Holmes in 1893 and reluctantly resurrecting him some ten years later. The swashbuckling, eponymous hero, Etienne Gerard, is one of Napoleon's gallant French Hussars, who considers himself the finest of them all. Through these "Boys Own Adventures", Conan Doyle pokes gentle fun at both the French and the English. This is the second volume containing eight adventures.

By: Jules Verne (1828-1905)

Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne Michael Strogoff

This is the account of the perilous mission of Michael Strogoff, courier for Czar Alexander II, who is sent from Moscow to the besieged city of Irkutsk, where the governor, brother of the Czar, has taken his last stand against a Tartar rebellion led by the fearsome Feofar-Khan. When telegraph lines are cut between the Russian Far East and the mainland, Strogoff must make his way through hostile territory to warn the governor of the return of the traitor Ivan Ogareff, a disgraced former officer who seeks vengeance against the Tsar’s family by the destruction of Irkutsk.

The Blockade Runners by Jules Verne The Blockade Runners

Writing at the end of the American Civil War, Verne weaves this story of a Scottish merchant who, in desperation at the interruption of the flow of Southern cotton due to the Union blockade, determines to build his own fast ship and run guns to the Confederates in exchange for the cotton piling up unsold on their wharves. His simple plan becomes complicated by two passengers who board his new ship under false pretenses in order to carry out a rescue mission, one which Capt. Playfair adopts as his own cause. This is going make the Rebels in Charleston rather unhappy with him.Sure, his new ship is fast - but can it escape the cannonballs of both North and South?

By: Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett Little Lord Fauntleroy

In mid-1880s Brooklyn, New York, Cedric Errol lives with his Mother (never named, known only as Mrs Errol or “dearest”) in genteel poverty after his Father Captain Errol dies. They receive a visit from Havisham, an English lawyer with a message from Cedric’s grandfather, Lord Dorincourt. Cedric is now Lord Fauntleroy and heir to the Earldom and a vast estate. The Earl wants Cedric to live with him and learn to be an English aristocrat. He offers Mrs Errol a house and income but refuses to meet or have anything to do with her...

By: Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall (1867-1941)

This Country of Ours by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall This Country of Ours

History made interesting for young readers—This Country of Ours by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall provides a simple and easy to comprehend way of looking at the history of the United States. Arranged chronologically in seven long chapters, it presents events in a story form, making them memorable and very different from other formats. One of the challenges that writers of history face is about fleshing out the characters and making the bland repetition of dates and dynasties seem relevant to modern day readers...

By: Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Spanning a period of nearly 1500 years, this monumental work of history tracks the orbit of one of the greatest Empires of all time. The sheer scale and sweep of the narrative is breathtaking in its ambitious scope and brings to vivid life the collapse of a magnificent military, political and administrative structure. Proceeding at a brisk pace, the original fourteen volumes describe debauched emperors, corrupt practices, usurpers and murderers, bloody battles, plunder and loot, barbarian hordes, tumultuous events like the Crusades and invaders like Genghis Khan and many more...

Book cover Memoirs of My Life and Writings

By: Charles Austin Beard (1874-1948)

History of the United States: The Colonial Period Onwards by Charles Austin Beard History of the United States: The Colonial Period Onwards

Vol. I: The Colonial Period. Charles Austin Beard was the most influential American historian of the early 20th century. He published hundreds of monographs, textbooks and interpretive studies in both history and political science. He graduated from DePauw University in 1898, where he met and eventually married Mary Ritter Beard, one of the founders of the first Greek-letter society for women, Kappa Alpha Theta. Many of his books were written in collaboration with his wife, whose own interests lay in feminism and the labor union movement (Woman as a Force in History, 1946)...

By: Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

The History of England, from the Accession of James the Second by Thomas Babington Macaulay The History of England, from the Accession of James the Second

Hailed more as a literary masterpiece than an accurate account of historical facts, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second by Thomas Babington Macaulay is an admirable mix of fact and fiction. Modern day readers may find much that is offensive and insensitive in this five volume work which covers a particular period in the long and eventful history of Britain. However, it is certainly a book that leads the reader on to further research into the events and people mentioned...

By: Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson Kidnapped

Kidnapped is the story of a 16-year old young man who is searching for his true birthright and is determined to make a fortune after the death of his parents. This timeless tale by Robert Louis Stevenson follows the life of David Balfour who leaves his home in Scotland after the death of his parents. First he meets his uncle for the first time in his life. His uncle is a very mean person who, at first, tried to kill David by devious means but then got him kidnapped onto a slave ship. In the ship, David makes friends with a Scottish rebel and together they successfully defeat the ship’s crew...

The Black Arrow; a Tale of Two Roses by Robert Louis Stevenson The Black Arrow; a Tale of Two Roses

The Black Arrow tells the story of Richard (Dick) Shelton during the Wars of the Roses: how he becomes a knight, rescues his lady Joanna Sedley, and obtains justice for the murder of his father, Sir Harry Shelton. Outlaws in Tunstall Forest organized by Ellis Duckworth, whose weapon and calling card is a black arrow, cause Dick to suspect that his guardian Sir Daniel Brackley and his retainers are responsible for his father’s murder. Dick’s suspicions are enough to turn Sir Daniel against him, so he has no recourse but to escape from Sir Daniel and join the outlaws of the Black Arrow against him...

Book cover Essays in the Art of Writing
Book cover Catriona

By: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

The Trumpet-Major by Thomas Hardy The Trumpet-Major

Our heroine, Anne Garland, lives quietly in a rural community deep in the English countryside. However, the arrival of several regiments preparing for an expected invasion brings colour and chaos to the county. A graceful and charming young woman, Anne is pursued by three suitors: John Loveday, the trumpet-major in a British regiment, honest and loyal; his brother Robert, a merchant seaman and womaniser, and Festus Derriman, the cowardly son of the local squire. Set at the time of the Napoleonic wars, this is the author’s only historical novel, and unusually for Hardy’s stories, most of the characters live happily ever after.

By: Jack London (1876-1916)

Book cover Road

Jack London credited his skill of story-telling to the days he spent as a hobo learning to fabricate tales to get meals from sympathetic strangers. In The Road, he relates the tales and memories of his days on the hobo road, including how the hobos would elude train crews and his travels with Kelly’s Army.

Book cover War of the Classes

By: Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)

The Outlaw of Torn by Edgar Rice Burroughs The Outlaw of Torn

The story is set in 13th century England and concerns the fictitious outlaw Norman of Torn, who purportedly harried the country during the power struggle between King Henry III and Simon de Montfort. Norman is the supposed son of the Frenchman de Vac, once the king's fencing master, who has a grudge against his former employer and raises the boy to be a simple, brutal killing machine with a hatred of all things English. His intentions are partially subverted by a priest who befriends Norman and teaches him his letters and chivalry towards women...

By: Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling Puck of Pook's Hill

Puck of Pook’s Hill is a children’s book by Rudyard Kipling, published in 1906, containing a series of short stories set in different periods of history. The stories are all told to two children living near Pevensey by people magically plucked out of history by Puck.

Plain Tales from the Hills by Rudyard Kipling Plain Tales from the Hills

Named a "prophet of British imperialism" by the young George Orwell, and born in Bombay, India, Rudyard Kipling had perhaps the clearest contemporary eye of any who described the British Raj. According to critic Douglas Kerr: "He is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with." This force shines in THE PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS. (Introduction by Mike Harris)

Book cover Sea Warfare
Book cover France At War: On the Frontier of Civilization

In 1915, as the "Great War" (World War 1) entered its second year Rudyard Kipling made a journalistic tour of the front, visiting French armed forces. By then he was already winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (the first writer in English to be so honoured). He published his observations in articles in the Daily Telegraph in England, and in the New York Sun. At that stage of the war nationalistic sentiments were running high but the true cost of war was beginning to be understood "at home"...

Book cover Under the Deodars

By: Sun Tzu (c. 554 BC - c. 496 BC)

The Art of War by Sun Tzu The Art of War

The Art of War is a 6th Century BC Chinese treatise on war and military strategy known for its timeless examples of strategy and planning. There is intense interest in this ancient work since it teaches how to be victorious in conflict and that the final victory ultimately is to see war as an effort to win minds and hearts rather than a mere acquisition of territory and wealth. The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a two thousand year old work, reputedly authored by a famous military general and strategist who lived in ancient China...

By: Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo

Written by French author Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo follows the life of Edmond Dantes as he embarks on a journey of revenge after being wrongly imprisoned and set up by none other than his so-called friends. Set during the years after the fall of Napoleon’s empire, the story unwinds in several locations including Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Monte Cristo and Constantinople. A handsome young sailor and soon to be ship captain Edmond Dantes seems to have it all in life, as he returns to Marseilles to wed the love of his life and fiancée, the beautiful Mercedes...


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