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By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace chronicles the lives of five Russian aristocratic families during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Many considered this book to be the best Russian work of literature of all time and it is massive in scale. The book is divided in four volumes and the chapters don't just contain the narrative of the plot to the novel but philosophical discussions as well. This may be intimidating to average book readers but they shouldn't be discouraged to try reading War and Peace. After all, this book was written for all and not just for intellectuals...

The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy The Cossacks

The Cossacks (1863) is an unfinished novel which describes the Cossack life and people through a story of Dmitri Olenin, a Russian aristocrat in love with a Cossack girl. This text was acclaimed by Ivan Bunin as one of the finest in the language.

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors by Mark Twain 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors

An atypical piece of writing by Mark Twain, the short bawdy skit documents a conversion between Queen Elizabeth and several notable writers of the time, including Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Beaumont, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare. Despite first being published in 1880, the piece remained anonymous for a period of time, until it was later acknowledged by Twain in 1901 as his own. Comprised of humor, descriptive imagery, ribald connotations, and vulgar language, the faux conversation is simultaneously humorous and repulsing, but nonetheless a wonder for its satirical precision...

Roughing It by Mark Twain Roughing It

The semiautobiographical travel memoir records Twain’s, more or less, personal journey across the Wild West in search of adventure while exploring variable locations. Accompanying his brother on what becomes a trip of a lifetime, the young Samuel Clemens finds himself in many different vocational roles as he explores and observes the magnificence of the American West. Not refraining from the usual social commentary, Twain directs criticism on various social and moral issues which he approaches through his sly and witty style...

Extracts from Adam's Diary by Mark Twain Extracts from Adam's Diary

Get the true story of Adam and Eve, straight from the source. This humorous text is a day-to-day account of Adam’s life from happiness in the “GARDEN-OF-EDEN” to their fall from grace and the events thereafter. Learn how Eve caught the infant Cain, and Adam takes some time to learn exactly what it is.

Eve's Diary by Mark Twain Eve's Diary

Eve's Diary is a comic short story by Mark Twain. It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper's Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906 by Harper and Brothers publishing house. It is written in the style of a diary kept by the first woman in the Judeao-Christian creation myth, Eve, and is claimed to be "translated from the original MS." The "plot" of this novel is the first-person account of Eve from her creation up to her burial by, her mate, Adam, including meeting and getting to know Adam, and exploring the world around her, Eden...

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, Volumes 1 & 2 by Mark Twain Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, Volumes 1 & 2

Mark Twain’s work on Joan of Arc is titled in full “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte.” De Conte is identified as Joan’s page and secretary. For those who’ve always wanted to “get behind” the Joan of Arc story and to better understand just what happened, Twain’s narrative makes the story personal and very accessible. The work is fictionally presented as a translation from the manuscript by Jean Francois Alden, or, in the words of the published book, “Freely Translated out of the Ancient French into Modern English from the Original Unpublished Manuscript in the National Archives of France...

The Treaty with China by Mark Twain The Treaty with China

"A good candidate for 'the most under-appreciated work by Mark Twain' would be 'The Treaty With China,' which he published in the New York Tribune in 1868. This piece, which is an early statement of Twain's opposition to imperialism and which conveys his vision of how the U.S. ought to behave on the global stage, has not been reprinted since its original publication until now." (the online, open-access "Journal of Transnational American Studies" published it in the spring, 2010).

Book cover Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences

This is Mark Twain's vicious and amusing review of Fenimore Cooper's literary art. It is still read widely in academic circles. Twain's essay, Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (often spelled "Offences") (1895), particularly criticized The Deerslayer and The Pathfinder. Twain wrote at the beginning of the essay: 'In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.' Twain listed 19 rules 'governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction', 18 of which Cooper violates in The Deerslayer. (Introduction by Wikipedia and John Greenman)

Goldsmith's Friend Abroad Again by Mark Twain Goldsmith's Friend Abroad Again

This satire on the U.S.A.'s myth of being the "Home of the Oppressed, where all men are free and equal", is unrelenting in its pursuit of justice through exposure. It draws a scathingly shameful portrait of how Chinese immigrants were treated in 19th century San Francisco. (Introduction by John Greenman)

Essays on Paul Bourget by Mark Twain Essays on Paul Bourget

Collection of short essays concerning French novelist and critic Paul Bourget. Included: "What Paul Bourget Thinks of Us" and "A Little Note to M. Paul Bourget".

By: Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942)

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Green Gables

Montgomery’s literary classic recounts the exciting adventures undertaken by the fiery eleven-year-old Anne Shirley, an orphan girl accidentally adopted by middle aged siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. A coming-of-age novel, Anne of Green Gables focuses on Anne’s new life at Green Gables farm in Avonlea and her adjustment into the Prince Edward Island community. The story launches when the aging siblings Matthew and Marilla decide that they could use an extra hand around their farm, and believe that adopting an orphan boy would be an appropriate solution...

Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island is the third book in the Anne of Green Gables series following the adventures of its heroine Anne Shirley as she leaves for Redmond College in the busy city of Kingsport to study for her bachelor’s degree. The third installment in the series sees the beloved protagonist experience new adventures and challenges outside the familiar setting of Avonlea. The novel kicks off when Anne decides to pursue her dream of a higher education, and subsequently leaves her two year teaching position at the school in Avonlea and begins her studies at Redmond College...

Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Avonlea

If you've read and loved Anne of Green Gables you will surely be delighted to follow Anne's further adventures in Anne of Avonlea. In this sequel, we find Anne Shirley teaching in Avonlea School though she continues her studies at home with Gilbert Blythe. Lucy Maud Montgomery first published the best selling Anne of Green Gables in 1908. Enthused by the amazing success of this account of a young orphan girl who arrives by mistake on Prince Edward Island, Canada, the author followed it up with five more sequels, tracing Anne's career and life...

Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery Rainbow Valley

If you've read and loved Anne of Green Gables, you'd definitely like to add Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery to your collection. Published in 1919, it is the seventh book in the series and follows the further life and adventures of Anne Shirley. At Ingleside, Anne is now happily married to her childhood friend the devoted Gilbert Blythe and have now been together blissfully for fifteen years. They have six children. The book opens with the return of Anne and Gilbert (who is now a brilliant doctor) from a sojourn in London, where they had gone to attend a big medical congress...

By: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

King Richard II by William Shakespeare King Richard II

The Tragedy of King Richard II, by William Shakespeare, is the first of the history series that continues with Parts 1 and 2 of King Henry IV and with The Life of King Henry V. At the beginning of the play, Richard II banishes his cousin Henry Bolingbroke from England. Bolingbroke later returns with an army and the support of some of the nobility, and he deposes Richard. Richard is separated from his beloved Queen, imprisoned, and later murdered. By the end of the play, Bolingbroke has been crowned King Henry IV...

Richard III by William Shakespeare Richard III

Richard III is an early history play probably written and performed around 1592-93. It is the culmination of Shakespeare's earlier three plays about Henry VI, and chronicles the bloody career of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. As the play opens, the Wars of the Roses are over, King Edward IV (Richard's brother) is on the throne, and all is ostensibly well. The problem? Richard wants to be king - and he'll stop at nothing to realize his ambition.

Henry V by William Shakespeare Henry V

After the turmoil and uncertainty of Henry IV a new era appears to dawn for England with the accession of the eponymous Henry V. In this sunny pageant, the Chorus guides us along Henry's glittering carpet ride of success as the new king completes his transformation from rebellious wastrel to a truly regal potentate. Of course, there is an underlying feeling that the good times won't last, and this is all the more reason to enjoy the Indian summer before the protracted and bitter fall of the house of Lancaster.

Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus may be Shakespeare's earliest tragedy; it is believed to have been written in the early 1590s. It depicts a Roman general who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with his enemy Tamora, the Queen of the Goths. The play is by far Shakespeare's bloodiest work. It lost popularity during the Victorian era because of its gore, and it has only recently seen its fortunes revive.

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Life of Marcus Antonius and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra's suicide. The major antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony's fellow triumviri and the future first emperor of Rome. The tragedy is a Roman play characterized by swift, panoramic shifts in geographical locations and in registers, alternating between sensual, imaginative Alexandria and the more pragmatic, austere Rome.

Henry VI by William Shakespeare Henry VI

Henry VI, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Whereas 2 Henry VI deals with the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, and 3 Henry VI deals with the horrors of that conflict, 1 Henry VI deals with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, as the English political system is torn apart by personal squabbles and petty jealousy.

Cymbeline by William Shakespeare Cymbeline

Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare's late romances, which (like The Tempest and The Winter's Tale) combines comedy and tragedy. Imogen, the daughter of King Cymbeline of Britain, angers her father when she marries Posthumus, a worthy but penniless gentleman. The King banishes Posthumus, who goes to Rome, where he falls prey to the machinations of Iachimo, who tries to convince him that Imogen will be unfaithful. Meanwhile, the Queen (Imogen's stepmother) plots against her stepdaughter by trying to plan a match between Imogen and her worthless son Cloten.

Henry VIII by William Shakespeare Henry VIII

This is Shakespeare's dutiful tribute to one of the most imposing and terrifying rulers in European history. The kingdom trembles as the giant monarch storms through his midlife crisis, disposing of the faithful Katharine of Aragon and starting a new life and, the king hopes, a line of succession with the captivating young Anne Bullen. Unlike his predecessors, Henry has no doubt about the security of his tenure on the throne, and dominates the royal court with absolute authority. The extent of the King's power is graphically illustrated by the fate of the Duke of Buckingham, who goes calmly to execution while deploring, not the unjust despotism of the king...

King John by William Shakespeare King John

The Life and Death of King John, a history play by William Shakespeare, dramatises the reign of John, King of England (ruled 1199–1216), son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Henry III of England. It is believed to have been written in the mid-1590s but was not published until it appeared in the First Folio in 1623. John (24 December 1166 – 19 October 1216), also known as John Lackland or Softsword, was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death. His reign...

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...

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...


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