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By: W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

Book cover Bishop's Apron

"Canon Spratte saw himself as he thought others might see him: mediocre, pompous, self-assertive, verbose." Maugham could have added ambitious, hypocritical, and vain. In this engrossing social satire, Theodore Spratte, a cleric, motivated by an obsessive desire to be elevated to bishop, embellishes his family history and intrudes upon his son's and daughter's courtships. A reviewer in 1906 wrote, "The whole book is an admirable blend of cynical gaiety and broadly farcical comedy; it is the smartest and most genuinely humorous novel that the season has yet given us." -- Lee Smalley

By: Elizabeth Gertrude Stern (1889-1954)

Book cover My Mother and I

Elizabeth Stern was two and a half years old, when her family emigrated from Poland to Pittsburgh. My Mother and I is the story of Stern's Americanization and how it ultimately alienated her from her parents. Stern's father had been a small village rabbi. Strict and traditional in his views, he sends Elizabeth to learn Hebrew at age four, so she can fulfill her destiny "as the wife of a rabbi or scholar," but he opposes letting her attend high school. Stern's mother tries fitfully to pry open doors for her daughter...

By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

Book cover My Confession

"My Confession" is a brief autobiographical story of Leo Tolstoy's struggle with a mid-life existential crisis of melancholia. It describes his search for answers to the profound questions "What will come of my life?" and "What is the meaning of life?", without answers to which life, for him, had become "impossible." Tolstoy reflects on the arc of his philosophical life until then: his childhood abandonment of his Russian orthodox faith; his mastery of strength, will, power, and reason; and how, after he had achieved tremendous financial success and social status, life to him seemed meaningless...

By: James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

Book cover Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Johnson's only novel, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, was originally published anonymously in 1912. It is a fictional novel written as a memoir of an unnamed biracial narrator who grew up in the South during the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras. It is a story in which the narrator relates how as a young boy he initially assumed that he was white, and how his notions of racial identity were suddenly turned upside down one day—how from that moment on he was inclined to view himself and the world about him from the perspective of blackness. The novel received very little notoriety until Johnson republished it in 1927, this time taking full credit as its author.

By: Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Book cover Tales of King Arthur and the Round Table (version 2)

The tales of King Arthur and his Knights are of Celtic origin. The Celts were the people who occupied Britain at the time when the history of the country opens, and a few words are necessary to explain why the characters in the stories act and speak as though they belonged to a later age. These stories are adapted from the Book of Romance by ANDREW LANG. It is believed that King Arthur lived in the sixth century, just after the Romans withdrew from Britain, and when the Britons, left to defend themselves against the attacks of the marauding Saxons, rose and defeated them at Mount Badon, securing to themselves peace for many years...

By: Irving Bacheller (1859-1950)

Book cover Silas Strong

Per the author: "The book has one high ambition. It has tried to tell the sad story of the wilderness itself—to show, from the woodsman's view-point, the play of great forces which have been tearing down his home and turning it into the flesh and bone of cities." But this story is much more than that. It revolves around Silas Strong and his distaste for the modernization and destruction of his beloved forest surroundings, and how it pleases him to teach younger folk how to appreciate that which has been given us...

By: Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)

Book cover Diary of Samuel Pepys 1662

Samuel Pepys was the first Secretary to the Admiralty during the reign of Charles II, instrumental in developing the Royal Navy and witness to some of the most significant events of the Restoration period, including the Great Fire of London. His famous diary, which covers a period of some ten years, throws a frank and intimate light on a fascinating period, through the lens of a vigorous, intelligent and refreshingly candid and extrovert personality. This volume covers the third year of the diary.

By: Various

Book cover Tim Bobbin: A View of the Lancashire Dialect

A comic dialogue written in John Collier's idiosyncratic version of the 18th century South Lancashire dialect together with a collection of 19th century texts on Collier and his work. Egged on by Meary (Mary), Tummus (Thomas) recounts the series of misadventures that ensue when he makes a trip to Rochdale on an errand for his master. First published in 1746, the text grew over subsequent editions as Collier expanded the story, added a preface in which he berates publishers who had pirated his work, and inflated and amended his glossary...

By: Fanny Kelly (1845-1904)

Book cover Narrative of My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians

"Narrative of my captivity among the Sioux Indians: with a brief account of General Sully's Indian expedition in 1864, bearing upon events occurring in my captivity" "I was a member of a small company of emigrants, who were attacked by an overwhelming force of hostile Sioux, which resulted in the death of a large proportion of the party, in my own capture, and a horrible captivity of five months' duration. Of my thrilling adventures and experience during this season of terror and privation, I propose...

By: Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)

Book cover My Trip Abroad

"A steak and kidney pie, influenza and a cablegram. There is the triple alliance that is responsible for the whole thing." So begins Charlie Chaplin's My Trip Abroad, a travel memoir charting the actor-director's semi-spontaneous visit to Europe. Fresh off the success of 1921's The Kid, Chaplin decides to "play hookey" after his seven year stay in Hollywood. He return to his native Europe as an international superstar, beloved by fans and hounded by reporters. The "triple alliance" of the book's opening line sends Chaplin on an whirlwind tour through Great Britain, Germany, and France -- and the results are both funny and insightful...

By: Hazard Stevens (1842-1918)

Book cover First Successful Ascent of Mt. Rainier, 1870

Hazard Stevens and P.B. Van Trump, aided by the Indian guide Sluiskin, made the first documented successful ascent of Mt. Rainier on August 17, 1870. Hazard's account of the climb was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1876 and later reprinted with an introduction by Edmond S. Meany in 1916. Sluiskin tried to dissuade the climbers. "Takhoma” (the Indian name for Mt. Rainier) "was an enchanted mountain, inhabited by an evil spirit, who dwelt in a fiery lake on its summit. No human being could ascend it or even attempt its ascent and survive...

By: William Atherton

Book cover Narrative of the Suffering and Defeat of the North-Western Army, Under General Winchester

This memoir dating from 1812ff, but only published in 1840s is a strikingly profound contrast with our modern materialism and comfort. It is personal and at the same time very formal and reserved. As a foot soldier traipsing about the wild countryside of the Midwest, hardly after the Louisiana Purchase, against British/Canadian/Native mercenaries, the story is one of looking through the wrong end of a telescope, as one not understanding the forces/motivations at play with the writer's life and his...

By: Henry William Haygarth (1821-1903)

Book cover Recollections of Bush life in Australia

This was written in the mid 1800’s at time when Australia saw an influx of immigration from Europe and when England was sending some prisoners to Australia rather than to prisons. Haygarth shows us what it is like, and what it takes, to live in the Australian Bush. He shows us about the different life on a cattle/sheep station, living miles from the nearest neighbor, getting to town just a few times a year and that it may be several hundred miles away. From his own experiences relates dealings with BushRangers (thieves), building and running a station, breaking wild horses, helping neighbors in times of need...

By: William Forwood (1840-1928)

Book cover Recollections of a Busy Life

Liverpool in the second half of the 19th century was burgeoning with rich merchants and swollen with poor immigrants. It was known variously as the "New York of Europe" and the "Black Spot on the Mersey." Waist-deep in this mosaic we find William Bower Forwood making a busy life for himself, making his fortune in cotton trading (including running the American blockade of the Southern States) and then delving into public affairs. We see the civic leader, dedicated to the betterment of "the good old town and the trade thereof," and we see the statesman and tourist, dining with kings and wrestling with presidents...

By: Maria Gowen Brooks (1794-1845)

Book cover Idomen, or The Vale of Yumuri

Idomen (1843) is the creative-nonfiction memoir of the beautiful and brilliant American poetess Maria Gowen Brooks, who was compared in the 19th century to Byron and Swinburne. In it she tells the story of an ill-fated love affair she had twenty years earlier while traveling with her young son in Canada following the death of her much older husband. The traumatic breakup led to suicide attempts on her part, which romantic masochist Brooks byronically relates in full, albeit changing everybody's name...

By: John L. Ransom (1843-1919)

Book cover Andersonville Diary, Escape And List Of The Dead

John L. Ransom was the quartermaster of Company A, 9th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry during the American Civil War and a Union prisoner in the infamous Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia. This is his diary which he published some few years after the end of the Civil War. Note that in pages 193 through 301 are included 1) List of the Dead and 2) Recapitulation of Deaths By States; both of these sections are omitted from this Librivox reading. The Andersonville National Historic Site, located near Andersonville, Georgia, preserves the former Camp Sumter (also known as Andersonville Prison), a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp during the American Civil War…...

By: Flora Sandes (1876-1956)

Book cover English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army

Flora Sandes was the only British woman officially to serve as a soldier in World War I. Initially a St. John Ambulance volunteer, she traveled to Serbia, where, in the confusion of war, she was formally enrolled in the Serbian army. While the Serbian Army was regrouping in Corfu, Ms. Sandes returned to England to recuperate and publish these memoirs.

By: Joseph Smeaton Chase (1864-1923)

Book cover California Coast Trails

In 1911, decades before California's coast Highway 1 was built, an Englishman rode 2000 miles on horseback the length of California, from Mexico to Oregon. On the way he is courteously received at isolated ranches, has many quiet adventures, and is generally amazed by the beauty of our coast. A classic early California travelog. Chase was born in Islington (London) and but lived most of this life in the California desert.Here are Chase's major landmarks, first going south and then turning north:Chap...

By: Kate John Finzi

Book cover Eighteen Months in the War Zone: A Record of a Woman's Work on the Western Front

"But it is not for those who heard the call in the later months so much as in memory of those early heroes of Mons, who knew the bitterness of a valiant retreat, the horror of forced marches along parched roads, with only the prod of the next man's bayonet to keep him awake, and only a flap cut from the tail of his shirt between the pitiless sun and the dreaded delirium that would leave him a prey to the Huns' barbarities; in memory of these it is that I take up the pen to run the gauntlet of a thousand critical eyes on a way fraught with difficulties." ~ Kate John Finzi

By: Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Book cover Rough Riders

Theodore Roosevelt's personal account of The Rough Riders, the name affectionately bestowed on the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and the only one to see action. Roosevelt, serving first as Lt. Colonel and 2nd in command, gives a rousing depiction of the men and horses, equipment, talent, their trip to Cuba, battle strategies, losses, injuries and victories. He says: "In all the world there could be no better material for soldiers than that afforded by these grim hunters of the mountains, these wild rough riders of the plains ...

By: Mary Stuart Boyd (1860-1937)

Book cover Versailles Christmas-Tide

The Boy has fallen ill with scarlet fever while at school in France. His parents rush to his side. A touching memoir.

By: Isaac Mason (1822-?)

Book cover Life of Isaac Mason as a Slave

Isaac Mason was born into slavery. As a young man, he escaped to freedom and made a life for himself. An intelligent man, he gave lectures on his experiences and was later encouraged to publish them in book form.

By: Marie Sukloff (1885-)

Book cover Life-Story of a Russian Exile

Hero or assassin? Victim or criminal? Marie Sukloff fits no easy category. A young peasant woman who became a political radical and activist, Sukloff carried out an assassination plot against a Russian governor known for murderous pogroms and rampages against the Jews of his province. This mesmerizing autobiographical account tells the story of Sukloff's peasant childhood, radicalization, direct action, exile to Siberia, and escape. She tells her story with a colorful verve, sincerity, intensity, and simplicity that makes it almost impossible to put down, raising questions of political philosophy and responsibility that challenge the complacency of every reader.

By: Jesse James, Jr. (1875-1951)

Book cover Jesse James, My Father

A biography of Jesse James as told by his son, Jesse James, Jr. We are treated to inside tales of Jesse's childhood and home life; what drove him to become a Confederate guerrilla during the Civil War; his life after the war and how he became a wanted man. Since it was written by his son, it is a little biased and we are not told anything about any crimes Jesse and his gang committed. Some of the stories of Jesse's war adventures are a little hard to believe, but a good read nonetheless.

By: Franz von Dingelstedt (1814-1881)

Book cover John Gutenberg, First Master Printer: His Acts and Most Remarkable Discourses and his Death

This is a brief sketch of the last years of the life of Johannes (John) Gutenberg, the man who invented the movable letter press. We join him in Mayence, where he lives in poverty. We get to know his enemies and his friends, and some information about why he isn't the rich man we'd expect him to be. This book was prepared and completed within two days by the volunteers at Distributed Proofreaders to mark their 15th anniversary with the 50,000th published book at Project Gutenberg. ( Claudia Salto)

By: Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

Book cover "My Inventions" and Other Works, The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, Electrical Experimenter February to October 1919

Between February and October 1919, Nikola Tesla submitted many articles to the magazine Electrical Experimenter. The most famous of these works is a six part series titled "My Inventions", which is an autobiographical account of Nikola Tesla's life and his most celebrated discoveries. This work has been compiled and republished as a stand-alone book several times under different names, but has been a cause of some controversy due to some versions deviating from the original text without explanation...


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