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By: G. K. Chesterton

What I Saw in America by G. K. Chesterton What I Saw in America

“Let me begin my American impressions with two impressions I had before I went to America. One was an incident and the other an idea; and when taken together they illustrate the attitude I mean. The first principle is that nobody should be ashamed of thinking a thing funny because it is foreign; the second is that he should be ashamed of thinking it wrong because it is funny.” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

The New Jerusalem by G. K. Chesterton The New Jerusalem

“On the road to Cairo one may see twenty groups exactly like that of the Holy Family in the pictures of the Flight into Egypt; with only one difference. The man is riding on the ass.” “The real mistake of the Muslims is something much more modern in its application than any particular passing persecution of Christians as such. It lay in the very fact that they did think they had a simpler and saner sort of Christianity, as do many modern Christians. They thought it could be made universal merely by being made uninteresting...

A Utopia of Usurers by G. K. Chesterton A Utopia of Usurers

“Now I have said again and again (and I shall continue to say again and again on all the most inappropriate occasions) that we must hit Capitalism, and hit it hard, for the plain and definite reason that it is growing stronger. Most of the excuses which serve the capitalists as masks are, of course, the excuses of hypocrites. They lie when they claim philanthropy; they no more feel any particular love of men than Albu felt an affection for Chinamen. They lie when they say they have reached their position through their own organising ability...

Lord Kitchener by G. K. Chesterton Lord Kitchener

“The paradox of all this part of his life lies in this–that, destined as he was to be the greatest enemy of Mahomedanism, he was quite exceptionally a friend of Mahomedans.”

By: Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott Little Men

If you've read and loved Little Women, you'd probably enjoy finding out more about the doings of the sisters in the third book in the series, Little Men. Published in 1871, the book's full title was Little Men or Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys. It followed the success of Little Women in 1868 and Good Wives in 1869, which portrayed the fortunes of the March family. Filled with remarkable, endearing and memorable characters, the books remain as fresh and enjoyable as they were when they first came out more than a century ago...

Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott Hospital Sketches

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.

By: Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo The Hunchback of Notre Dame

One of the great literary tragedies of all time, The Hunchback of Notre Dame features some of the most well-known characters in all of fiction - Quasimodo, the hideously deformed bellringer of Notre-Dame de Paris, his master the evil priest Claude Frollo, and Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy condemned for a crime she did not commit.

By: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

Fighting France, from Dunkerque to Belfort by Edith Wharton Fighting France, from Dunkerque to Belfort

American novelist Edith Wharton was living in Paris when World War I broke out in 1914. She obtained permission to visit sites behind the lines, including hospitals, ravaged villages, and trenches. Fighting France records her travels along the front in 1914 and 1915, and celebrates the indomitable spirit of the French people.

By: Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio The Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is a collection of novellas or short novels written during the 14th century. There are 100 tales contained in the book which is presented together. The book’s title The Decameron combines the two Greek words “deka” meaning ten and “hemera” meaning day. The title can be literally translated as “ten day,” which is also the time frame in which the stories are told by the 7 young women and 3 young men. In the book, each of the ten persons took their turns to tell stories for a day...

By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Chronicles of Canada -- Dawn of Canadian History: Aboriginal Canada by Stephen Leacock Chronicles of Canada -- Dawn of Canadian History: Aboriginal Canada

Most readers of Stephen Leacock's works are familiar with his witty and humorous writings, but few may be aware that he was also a gifted teacher, political ideologue, economist and fiction writer. Though he wrote six books on Canadian history, none of them attained the status of a standard text on the subject and were regarded more as opinion pieces without much academic foundation. Yet, the Chronicles of Canada series by Stephen Leacock remains an interesting and entertaining read. In this volume, Dawn of Canadian History: Aboriginal Canada, which is part of a thirty-two book series of short and simple essays, Leacock explores the little known origins of Canada's past...

The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice by Stephen Leacock The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice

This lengthy political essay by noted Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock was written while he was professor of political economy at McGill University. He argues for a middle ground between individualism/capitalism and pure socialism. Listeners in the early 21st century may find this 90-year old essay oddly topical.

By: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Book cover Under Western Eyes

Under Western Eyes (1911) is a novel by Joseph Conrad. The novel takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Geneva, Switzerland, and is viewed as Conrad's response to the themes explored in Crime and Punishment, Conrad being reputed to have detested Dostoevsky. It is also, some say, Conrad's response to his own early life; his father was a famous revolutionary imprisoned by the Russians, but, instead of following in his father's footsteps, at the age of sixteen Conrad left his native land forever...

By: Jacob Abbott (1803-1879)

Alexander the Great by Jacob Abbott Alexander the Great

Tutored by Aristotle, compelled to ascend the throne at the age of 20 when his illustrious father was assassinated, driven by a passion for expanding the borders of his tiny kingdom, Alexander of Macedon was one of the most towering figures of ancient history. He is brought to vivid life in this gripping volume by the American children's writer Jacob Abbott. In his short but eventful life, the young Macedonian king went on to rule over one of the most powerful and largest empires in the ancient world, breaking the hegemony of the powerful Persian dynasty of Darius...

Cleopatra by Jacob Abbott Cleopatra

The French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal once remarked, “Cleopatra's nose. Had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed!” Such was the legendary power and attraction of this most famous woman ruler that generations of artists, readers, writers, historians and poets have ensured that she remains immortal and unforgettable. Jacob Abbott's Cleopatra is a work of historical biography, told in a highly dramatic and gripping style. It brings the characters and the circumstances to vivid life, making it an entertaining read for people of all ages...

Queen Elizabeth by Jacob Abbott Queen Elizabeth

The history of a woman who rose above and beyond tragedy, grief and personal loss to become one of the most powerful figures in sixteenth century Europe is wonderfully told in this biography Queen Elizabeth, by Jacob Abbott. Beginning with the tragic circumstances of Elizabeth's mother, the lovely and doomed Anne Boleyn's execution and Henry VIII's dissolution of the English Catholic Church, the story of Elizabeth's rise to power is reflective of the England's domination of world politics as well...

Peter the Great by Jacob Abbott Peter the Great

“There are very few persons who have not heard of the fame of Peter the Great, the founder, as he is generally regarded by mankind, of Russian civilization. The celebrity, however, of the great Muscovite sovereign among young persons is due in a great measure to the circumstance of his having repaired personally to Holland, in the course of his efforts to introduce the industrial arts among his people, in order to study himself the art and mystery of shipbuilding, and of his having worked with his own hands in a ship-yard there...

Hannibal by Jacob Abbott Hannibal

There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer's aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness...

William the Conqueror by Jacob Abbott William the Conqueror

There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer’s aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness...

Mary Queen of Scots by Jacob Abbott Mary Queen of Scots

There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer’s aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness...

History of Julius Caesar by Jacob Abbott History of Julius Caesar

The book chronicles the extraordinary life and leadership of Rome’s Emperor Julius Caesar, from his early years to his assassination.

Richard I by Jacob Abbott Richard I

There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer’s aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness...

Charles I by Jacob Abbott Charles I

There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer’s aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness...

Richard III by Jacob Abbott Richard III

Jacob Abbott chronicles the unspeakably treacherous rise of Richard III to the throne of England in the midst of the war between the Yorks and the Lancasters and his ultimate fall on the Field of Bosworth. (Introduction by Cathy Barratt)

Margaret of Anjou by Jacob Abbott Margaret of Anjou

Margaret of Anjou, wife of England’s Henry VI, played a key role in launching the storied War of the Roses – the 30-year civil conflict fuelled by the Lancasters and the Yorks, each vying for the British throne in the 15th century. (Summary by Cathy Barratt.)

Richard II, Makers of History by Jacob Abbott Richard II, Makers of History

Chronicles the life of Richard II, born in 1367 in Bordeaux, France, who later wore the crown of King of England.

By: Emma Orczy (1865-1947)

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel narrates the story of a rich English baronet who rescues French aristocrats facing the guillotine. He also taunted his enemies after each rescue by leaving behind a card that has a small flower on it – the scarlet pimpernel. It is a brilliant adventure story set at the time of the French Revolution. The plot is fantastic and rarely lets the readers pause for breath as it oscillates between London society and the dark night in Coastal France. The story follows a beautiful Countess who escapes from Paris as a committee there was making arrangements to send her to the guillotine...

By: Baroness Emmuska Orczy (1865-1947)

El Dorado by Baroness Emmuska Orczy El Dorado

If you've read and loved the exciting classic The Scarlet Pimpernel then you'd probably be delighted to follow the further adventures of the dashing Sir Percy Blakeney. El Dorado by Baronness “Emmuska” Orczy depicts the intrepid swordsman and escape artist in the role of savior of the French royal family. Published in 1913, El Dorado was the fourth in the Pimpernel series of eleven books, numerous short stories and other related writings about her famous British adventurer. However, Orczy did not always follow a strict chronological sequence while publishing the novels and hence, there is plenty of overlap between the time frames of the stories...

The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy The Elusive Pimpernel

First Published in 1908, The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is the 4th book in the classic adventure series about the Scarlet Pimpernel.

By: Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Walden by Henry David Thoreau Walden

Two years, two months and two days! This is what forms the time line of one man's quest for the simple life and a unique social experiment in complete self reliance and independence. Henry David Thoreau published Walden in 1884. Originally drafted as a series of essays describing a most significant episode in his life, it was finally released in book form with each essay taking on the form of a separate chapter. Thoreau's parents were in financial straights, but rich intellectually and culturally...

By: John B. Bury (1861-1927)

A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great by John B. Bury A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great

For the Irish historian John Bagnell Bury, history should be treated as a science and not a mere branch of literature. Many contemporary histories written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were poetic and heroic in tone, blending fact and fiction, myths and legends. They sometimes relied on sources from Shakespeare and classical poets. For Bury, the facts of history may be legendary or romantic in nature, but they should be recounted in a scholarly and non-judgmental manner, without the accompanying emotions...

The Students' Roman Empire by John B. Bury The Students' Roman Empire

The writings of J. B. Bury (1861-1927), on subjects ranging from ancient Greece to the 19th-century papacy, are at once scholarly and accessible to the layman. This work covers the period from the beginning of the Roman Empire until Gibbon begins; from Augustus through Marcus Aurelius and the Antoinine Emporers.

By: Anthony Trollope (1815-1882)

The Life of Cicero by Anthony Trollope The Life of Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43BC) was an orator, statesman, philosopher and prolific correspondent, who rose as a ‘new man’ in Rome in the turbulent last years of its republican government. Anthony Trollope, best known as a novelist, admired Cicero greatly and wrote this biography late in life in order to argue his virtues against authors who had granted him literary greatness but questioned his strength as a politician and as a man. He takes a personal approach, affording us an insight into his own mind and times as well as those of his subject...


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