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By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

The Kingdom of God is within you by Leo Tolstoy The Kingdom of God is within you

The title of the book comes from Luke 17:21. It is a non-fiction work of the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy. He wrote it after many years of reflexion on Christianity and Jesus. Many subjects are present such as wars, non-violence, misunderstanding by believers of the faith, etc.

Boyhood by Leo Tolstoy Boyhood

Boyhood is the second in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Youth, published in a literary journal during the 1850s. (Introduction by Bill Boerst)

What I Believe by Leo Tolstoy What I Believe

"The inner working of my soul, which I wish to speak of here, was not the result of a methodical investigation of doctrinal theology, or of the actual texts of the gospel; it was a sudden removal of all that hid the true meaning of the Christian doctrine – a momentary flash of light, which made everything clear to me. It was something like that which might happen to a man who, after vainly attempting, by a false plan, to build up a statue out of a confused heap of small pieces of marble, suddenly...

The Slavery of Our Times by Leo Tolstoy The Slavery of Our Times

This little book shows, in a short, clear, and systematic manner, how the principle of Non-Resistance, about which Tolstoy has written so much, is related to economic and political life.

Bethink Yourselves! by Leo Tolstoy Bethink Yourselves!

As Russia goes to war against Japan, Tolstoy urges those at all levels of society, from the Tsar down to the common soldier, to consider their actions in the light of Christ's teaching. "However strange this may appear, the most effective and certain deliverance of men from all the calamities which they inflict upon themselves and from the most dreadful of all—war—is attainable, not by any external general measures, but merely by that simple appeal to the consciousness of each separate man which, nineteen hundred years ago, was proposed by Jesus—that every man bethink himself, and ask himself, who is he, why he lives, and what he should and should not do...

By: Unknown

The Bible, American Standard Version (ASV) - Genesis by The Bible, American Standard Version (ASV) - Genesis

The Bible was first translated into English some time in the 7th century by an unnamed monk known to us as the Venerable Bede. This was the Old English version and the work of translation from Vulgate Latin into Middle English was taken up again in the 14th century by the famous religious dissenter John Wycliffe. Modern translations date from the 16th century onwards and these were sourced from Greek and Hebrew versions as well as Latin. Most translations are made by a large group of scholars and a committee is set up to review and modify the work as required...

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi

A river memoir documenting Twain’s early days as an apprentice steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. Reminiscing about his happy experiences as a young man under the instruction of an experienced mentor, the autobiographical tale depicts one of the most vivid illustrations of river life. Furthermore, the book captures the author’s nostalgic emotions through his resonant depiction of one of the most notable periods of his life. Twain begins his memoir with a rich historical account of the Mississippi River including its exploration by early explorers, its evolution, and its vastness...

Chapters from my Autobiography by Mark Twain Chapters from my Autobiography

“...if I should talk to a stenographer two hours a day for a hundred years, I should still never be able to set down a tenth part of the things which have interested me in my lifetime.” The words of Mark Twain in his introduction to Chapters from my Autobiography provide a tantalizing glimpse of what is in store for the reader! Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens was still working on his reminiscences when he died in 1910. This book is really only a portion of the complete work...

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain The Innocents Abroad

When you dive into Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens’) The Innocents Abroad, you have to be ready to learn more about the unadorned, ungilded reality of 19th century “touring” than you might think you want to learn. This is a tough, literary journey. It was tough for Twain and his fellow “pilgrims”, both religious and otherwise. They set out, on a June day in 1867, to visit major tourist sites in Europe and the near east, including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, “the Holy Land”, and Egypt...

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...

The Awful German Language by Mark Twain The Awful German Language

This long essay is a work of mock philology, one of several appendices to Twain’s travel novel, A Tramp Abroad. In it, Twain explains, complains about, and shows how one might improve upon various aspects of the (awful) German language. His examples of precisely how the German language is awful include the famed “separable verb” – which allows one to put the first part of a given verb at the beginning – and its second part at the end – of a given clause or sentence (which may, indeed, be very long)...

Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World by Mark Twain Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World

Following the Equator (American English title) or More Tramps Abroad (English title) is a non-fiction travelogue published by American author Mark Twain in 1897. Twain was practically bankrupt in 1894 due to a failed investment into a “revolutionary” typesetting machine. In an attempt to extricate himself from debt of $100,000 (equivalent of about $2 million in 2005) he undertook a tour of the British Empire in 1895, a route chosen to provide numerous opportunities for lectures in the English language...

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).

Newspaper Articles by Mark Twain by Mark Twain Newspaper Articles by Mark Twain

This is a collection of newspaper articles written by Samuel Clemens, for various newspapers, between 1862 and 1881. After Feb 3rd 1863, he began using the pen name Mark Twain. This compilation is the work of Project Gutenberg and contains articles from TERRITORIAL ENTERPRISE, THE SAN FRANCISCO DAILY MORNING CALL, THE SACRAMENTO DAILY UNION, DAILY HAWAIIAN HERALD, ALTA CALIFORNIA, THE CHICAGO REPUBLICAN, and THE GALAXY. (Introduction by John Greenman)

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)

Book cover In Defense of Harriet Shelley

Mark Twain pulls no punches while exposing the "real" Percy Shelley in this scathing condemnation of Edward Dowden's "Life of Shelley". Even though, as Twain writes, "Shelley's life has the one indelible blot upon it, but is otherwise worshipfully noble and beautiful", Twain shows how Shelley's extra-marital conduct might easily be seen to have been the cause of his wife Harriet's suicide. (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: Unknown

The Bible, King James Version (KJV) - Introduction by The Bible, King James Version (KJV) - Introduction

Variously known as the Greatest Story Ever Told, The Book of Books and many other names, the Bible is reputed to be the biggest bestseller of all time. Translated into thousands of world languages and studied, worshiped and revered in the four corners of the earth, the Bible remains Christianity's canonical text and is considered the Word of God. The King James Version (KJV) is a translation commissioned by the Church of England in 1604 and the work continued till 1611. However, it wasn't the first translation into English from the original Hebrew, and some portions in Aramaic...

By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

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.

Sketches by Boz: Illustrative of Every-Day Life and Every-Day People by Charles Dickens Sketches by Boz: Illustrative of Every-Day Life and Every-Day People

"Sketches by "Boz," Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People (commonly known as Sketches by Boz) is a collection of short pieces published by Charles Dickens in 1836 accompanied by illustrations by George Cruikshank. The 56 sketches concern London scenes and people and are divided into four sections: "Our Parish", "Scenes", "Characters", and "Tales". The material in the first three of these sections is non-fiction. The last section comprises fictional stories. Originally, the sketches were published in various newspapers and periodicals from 1833-1836."

American Notes for General Circulation by Charles Dickens American Notes for General Circulation

American Notes for General Circulation is a travelogue by Charles Dickens detailing his trip to North America from January to June, 1842. While there he acted as a critical observer of these societies almost as if returning a status report on their progress. This can be compared to the style of his Pictures from Italy written four years later, where he wrote far more like a tourist. His American journey was also an inspiration for his novel Martin Chuzzlewit.

The Uncommercial Traveller by Charles Dickens The Uncommercial Traveller

The Uncommercial Traveller is a collection of literary sketches and reminiscences written by Charles Dickens. In 1859 Dickens founded a new journal called All the Year Round and the Uncommercial Traveller articles would be among his main contributions. He seems to have chosen the title and persona of the Uncommercial Traveller as a result of a speech he gave on the 22 December 1859 to the Commercial Travellers' School London in his role as honorary chairman and treasurer. The persona sits well with a writer who liked to travel, not only as a tourist, but also to research and report what he found; visiting Europe, America and giving book readings throughout Britain...

Book cover Pictures from Italy

e: Dickens takes time off his novels to give an account of travels which he and his family undertook in France and Italy. There are vivid descriptions of the places, but also of the people and their lives.

By: Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall (1867-1941)

Our Island Story by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall Our Island Story

Tailored specially to make history more palatable and interesting to children, Our Island Story, by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall, is a charmingly illustrated volume that promises hours of delight for parents as well as children. Beginning with the myths and legends about Albion, the author ensures that she captivates the child's imagination from the very first page. Unlike today's dry and non-committal history tomes that are prescribed in schools, Our Island Story is full of lyrical prose, literary allusions, heroic and tragic characters, the hunger for power and the glory of empire...

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...

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

The Amateur Emigrant by Robert Louis Stevenson The Amateur Emigrant

In July 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson left Scotland to meet his future wife in her native California. Leaving by ship from Glasgow, Scotland, he determined to travel in steerage class to see how the working classes fared. At the last minute he was convinced by friends to purchase a ticket one grade above the lowest price, for which he was later thankful after seeing the conditions in steerage, but he still lived among the ‘lower’ classes. His comments on the experience make interesting reading. His father however was so shocked at the thought of his son associating with people ‘beneath him’ that the work was not published for a number of years,

Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson

“Extreme busyness…is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.” What comforting words for the idle among us! Like many of the best essayists, Stevenson is very much the genial fireside companion: opinionated, but never malicious; a marvellous practitioner of the inclusive monologue. In this collection of nine pieces he discusses the art of appreciating unattractive scenery, traces the complex social life of dogs, and meditates in several essays upon the experience of reading literature and writing it...

Book cover Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

A classic of travel writing, this book recounts Stevenson's adventures on an extended walk through uplands and mountains in south-western France. Humorous on his own failings as a traveller, and on his travails with Modestine the self-willed donkey, it is also an exploration of peasant life in an area marked by the violence of the wars of religion. This version includes the fragment "A mountain town in France", originally intended as the opening chapter, but often omitted and published as a separate essay.

By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

Little Wars (A Game for Boys) by H. G. Wells Little Wars (A Game for Boys)

Miniature wargaming got its start with the publication in 1913 of this thoroughly entertaining little account of how H.G. Wells, with certain of his friends, took their childhood toys and turned play into acceptable middle-aged sport by subjecting the exercise to the civilizing influence of actual rules. While wargaming progressed far past these beginnings, Wells observes how “little wars” with even his elementary rules can suggest the wholesale crudity of the real thing. “You have only to play at Little Wars three or four times to realise just what a blundering thing Great War must be...

Floor Games by H. G. Wells Floor Games

H.G. Wells had so much fun playing with his children on the floor of their playroom, he decided to write a jovial little book to inspire other parents in their pursuit of quality time with the kids. While the raw materials available from hobby stores of his day were woefully short of the variety and quality of what can be bought easily now, he and his sons created their own worlds to rule. This short work describes two games of imagination played out upon the floor of his home – an archipelago of islands, and a thoroughly integrated city, conveniently organized with two mayoral positions for his sons “G...

By: Jack London (1876-1916)

John Barleycorn or Alcoholic Memoirs by Jack London John Barleycorn or Alcoholic Memoirs

Jack London died at the age of forty. In this autobiographical work, London describes his life as seen through the eyes of John Barleycorn (alcohol). There is much controversy about the cause of his death just as there is about alcoholism and addiction. London’s brutally frank and honest analysis of his own struggles and bouts with alcohol was way before its time and more modern theories of addiction. With remarkable candor and insight, London describes the demons and gods he encountered through both friend and enemy, John Barleycorn.

The People of the Abyss by Jack London The People of the Abyss

Jack London lived for a time within the grim and grimy world of the East End of London, where half a million people scraped together hardly enough on which to survive. Even if they were able to work, they were paid only enough to allow them a pitiful existence. He grew to know and empathise with these forgotten (or ignored) people as he spoke with them and tasted the workhouse, life on the streets, … and the food, which was cheap, barely nutritious, and foul.He writes about his experiences in...

By: Douay-Rheims Version

The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version (DV) - Judith by Douay-Rheims Version The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version (DV) - Judith

The Douay-Rheims Bible (abbreviated as DV) is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the English College, Douai, in the service of the Catholic Church. The New Testament portion was published in Reims, France, in 1582, in one volume with extensive commentary and notes. The Old Testament portion was published in two volumes thirty years later by the University of Douai. The first volume, covering Genesis through Job, was published in 1609; the second, covering Psalms to 2 Machabees plus the apocrypha of the Clementine Vulgate...

By: Rudyard Kipling (1868-1936)

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 Letters of Travel

By: Unknown

World English Bible (WEB) - Matthew by World English Bible (WEB) - Matthew

The World English Bible (also known as WEB) is a public domain translation of the Bible that is currently in draft form. Work on the World English Bible began in 1997 and was known as the American Standard Version 1997. The New Testament is considered complete and is available in print.The World English Bible project was started to produce a modern English Bible version that is not copyrighted, does not use archaic English (such as the KJV), or is not translated in Basic English (such as the Bible In Basic English)...

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)

Celebrated Crimes by Alexandre Dumas Celebrated Crimes

Dumas's 'Celebrated Crimes' was not written for children. The novelist has spared no language -- has minced no words -- to describe the violent scenes of a violent time.In some instances facts appear distorted out of their true perspective, and in others the author makes unwarranted charges. The careful, mature reader, for whom the books are intended, will recognize, and allow for, this fact.The first volume comprises the annals of the Borgias and the Cenci. The name of the noted and notorious Florentine family has become a synonym for intrigue and violence, and yet the Borgias have not been without stanch defenders in history...

By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Reviews by Oscar Wilde Reviews

Wilde’s literary reputation has survived so much that I think it proof against any exhumation of articles which he or his admirers would have preferred to forget. As a matter of fact, I believe this volume will prove of unusual interest; some of the reviews are curiously prophetic; some are, of course, biassed by prejudice hostile or friendly; others are conceived in the author’s wittiest and happiest vein; only a few are colourless. And if, according to Lord Beaconsfield, the verdict of a continental nation may be regarded as that of posterity, Wilde is a much greater force in our literature than even friendly contemporaries ever supposed he would become...

Aphorisms by Oscar Wilde Aphorisms

In 1894, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) published two short collections of aphorisms: “A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated”, in the Saturday Review newspaper, and “Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young”, in the Oxford student magazine The Chameleon. By turns witty, intellectual, counter-intuitive and obtuse, the collections came to be seen by many as emblematic of Wilde’s style, and countless collections of Wildean aphorisms have since been published.

De Profundis by Oscar Wilde De Profundis

This is a letter written from prison in 1897 by Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, in which he recounts how he came to be in prison and charts his spiritual development.

The Soul of Man by Oscar Wilde The Soul of Man

“(T)he past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.”Published originally as “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” this is not so much a work of sober political analysis; rather it can be summed up as a rhapsodic manifesto on behalf of the Individual. Socialism having deployed technology to liberate the whole of humanity from soul-destroying labour, the State obligingly withers away to allow the free development of a joyful, anarchic hedonism...

By: G. K. Chesterton

A Short History of England by G. K. Chesterton A Short History of England

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a prolific writer on many topics. His views of history were always from the standpoint of men and their interactions, and it may fairly be said he saw all of history as a battle between civilization and barbarism. So it has always been, and that remains true even today.“But it is especially in the matter of the Middle Ages that the popular histories trample upon the popular traditions. In this respect there is an almost comic contrast between the general information...

Heretics by G. K. Chesterton Heretics

The Author Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in London, England on the 29th of May, 1874. Though he considered himself a mere “rollicking journalist,” he was actually a prolific and gifted writer in virtually every area of literature. A man of strong opinions and enormously talented at defending them, his exuberant personality nevertheless allowed him to maintain warm friendships with people–such as George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells–with whom he vehemently disagreed. Chesterton had no difficulty standing up for what he believed...

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy is a book that has become a classic of Christian apologetics. In the book's preface Chesterton states the purpose is to "attempt an explanation, not of whether the Christian faith can be believed, but of how he personally has come to believe it." In it, Chesterton presents an original view of the Christian religion. He sees it as the answer to natural human needs, the "answer to a riddle" in his own words, and not simply as an arbitrary truth received from somewhere outside the boundaries of human experience.

Charles Dickens by G. K. Chesterton Charles Dickens

G. K. Chesterton was a great admirer of Charles Dickens, and wrote a noted critique of Dickens’ works expressing his opinion in his own inimitable style.

Eugenics and Other Evils by G. K. Chesterton Eugenics and Other Evils

Most Eugenists are Euphemists. I mean merely that short words startle them, while long words soothe them. And they are utterly incapable of translating the one into the other, however obviously they mean the same thing. Say to them “The persuasive and even coercive powers of the citizen should enable him to make sure that the burden of longevity in the previous generation does not become disproportionate and intolerable, especially to the females”; say this to them and they will sway slightly to and fro like babies sent to sleep in cradles. Say to them “Murder your mother,” and they sit up quite suddenly. Yet the two sentences, in cold logic, are exactly the same.”

Miscellaneous Essays by G. K. Chesterton Miscellaneous Essays

These nine files are miscellaneous short essays or stories from G. K. Chesterton. They were chosen for not only their brevity but also for being shining exemplars of Chesterton’s wit and whimsy. A fun but powerful introduction into the mind of the man that is G. K. Chesterton.

Alarms and Discursions by G. K. Chesterton Alarms and Discursions

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the “prince of paradox.” He wrote in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. Chesterton wrote about 4000 essays on various subjects, and “Ararms and Discursions is one of his collections.

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...

The Crimes of England by G. K. Chesterton The Crimes of England

“Second, when telling such lies as may seem necessary to your international standing, do not tell the lies to the people who know the truth. Do not tell the Eskimos that snow is bright green; nor tell the negroes in Africa that the sun never shines in that Dark Continent. Rather tell the Eskimos that the sun never shines in Africa; and then, turning to the tropical Africans, see if they will believe that snow is green. Similarly, the course indicated for you is to slander the Russians to the English and the English to the Russians; and there are hundreds of good old reliable slanders which can still be used against both of them...

George Bernard Shaw by G. K. Chesterton George Bernard Shaw

Chesterton and Shaw were famous friends and enjoyed their arguments and discussions. Although rarely in agreement, they both maintained good-will towards and respect for each other. However, in his writing, Chesterton expressed himself very plainly on where they differed and why. In Heretics he writes of Shaw: “After belabouring a great many people for a great many years for being unprogressive, Mr. Shaw has discovered, with characteristic sense, that it is very doubtful whether any existing human being with two legs can be progressive at all...

The Appetite of Tyranny by G. K. Chesterton The Appetite of Tyranny

“Unless we are all mad, there is at the back of the most bewildering business a story: and if we are all mad, there is no such thing as madness. If I set a house on fire, it is quite true that I may illuminate many other people’s weaknesses as well as my own. It may be that the master of the house was burned because he was drunk; it may be that the mistress of the house was burned because she was stingy, and perished arguing about the expense of the fire-escape. It is, nevertheless, broadly true that they both were burned because I set fire to their house. That is the story of the thing. The mere facts of the story about the present European conflagration are quite as easy to tell.”

Tremendous Trifles by G. K. Chesterton Tremendous Trifles

“None of us think enough of these things on which the eye rests. But don’t let us let the eye rest. Why should the eye be so lazy? Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across the landscape as plain as a painted fence. Let us be ocular athletes. Let us learn to write essays on a stray cat or a coloured cloud. I have attempted some such thing in what follows; but anyone else may do it better, if anyone else will only try. ” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

Varied Types by G. K. Chesterton Varied Types

Another delightful and sharply pointed excursion into the topics of the day, and of our day as well, with Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Here he uses his wit and mastery of paradox to bring into focus a number of historical persons who in many ways typify the people who presently shape our world and who in their own right have already shaped Western civilization. These reprinted magazine articles are filled with his good natured wit and devastating ability to use reductio ad absurdum to destroy the popular myths that drive our society at full-speed into, and expose the utter nonsense that underlies, secular humanism. You will come away with yet another new collection of wonderful quotes.

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...

The Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens by G. K. Chesterton The Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens

“These papers were originally published as prefaces to the separate books of Dickens in one of the most extensive of those cheap libraries of the classics which are one of the real improvements of recent times. Thus they were harmless, being diluted by, or rather drowned in Dickens. My scrap of theory was a mere dry biscuit to be taken with the grand tawny port of great English comedy; and by most people it was not taken at all–like the biscuit. Nevertheless the essays were not in intention so aimless as they appear in fact...

A Miscellany of Men by G. K. Chesterton A Miscellany of Men

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was among the world’s most prolific writers who incorporated relentless logic, wonderful humor, and a clear view of truth into an amazing tool for exposing the foolishness of the policies of the world around him through the device of paradox.It is always great fun, and certainly always a learning experience to read Chesterton. A Miscellany of Men may be his hardest work to define, as it deals with a huge array of issues, using “personal types” as illustration. It would...

Irish Impressions by G. K. Chesterton Irish Impressions

“For the Irish Question has never been discussed in England. Men have discussed Home Rule; but those who advocated it most warmly, and as I think wisely, did not even know what the Irish meant by Home. Men have talked about Unionism; but they have never even dared to propose Union. A Unionist ought to mean a man who is not even conscious of the boundary of the two countries; who can walk across the frontier of fairyland, and not even notice the walking haystack. As a fact, the Unionist always shoots at the haystack; though he never hits it...

Robert Browning by G. K. Chesterton Robert Browning

There is an old anecdote, probably apocryphal, which describes how a feminine admirer wrote to Browning asking him for the meaning of one of his darker poems, and received the following reply: “When that poem was written, two people knew what it meant–God and Robert Browning. And now God only knows what it means.

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: Alfred Marshall (1842-1924)

Principles of Economics by Alfred Marshall Principles of Economics

“The most valuable of all capital is that invested in human beings.” An uncannily prophetic quote from an 1890 book, Principles of Economics by Alfred Marshall presents an idea that has been accepted by major corporations and governments all over the world today. People's understanding of market behavior and how industries operate has its roots in the work done by European economists more than a century ago. Little has changed in terms of principles, though the effects of globalization and technology resulted an unmistakable impact on how business is done today...

By: Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

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: Jesse Lyman Hurlbut (1843-1930)

Hurlbut's Story of the Bible by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut Hurlbut's Story of the Bible

As a parent, many of us would like our children to be familiar with our sacred books, no matter to which religion or faith we belong. However, very young children may find the language and the ideas quite difficult to assimilate. Yet the stories are so memorable and valuable that we want our children to know them as early as possible. Published in 1905, Hurlbut's Story of The Bible – 1 is a wonderful compilation of some of the most important and delightful stories to be found in both the Old and New Testaments...

By: Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

The Life Of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell The Life Of Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë was a British author, the eldest of the three famous Brontë sisters who have become standards of English literature. She is best known for her novel Jane Eyre, one of the greatest classics of all time. Just two years after Charlotte’s death, her friend Elizabeth Gaskell wrote her biography. Want to know more about Charlotte Brontë? If you do, please read this biography.

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: Henry Gray

Anatomy of the Human Body by Henry Gray Anatomy of the Human Body

Henry Gray’s classic anatomy textbook was first published in 1858 and has been in continuous publication ever since, revised and expanded through many successive editions. This recording is of the public-domain 1918 US edition (some information may be outdated).

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: George MacDonald

Unspoken Sermons by George MacDonald Unspoken Sermons

George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. In his day he was considered one of the great Victorian authors on par with Dickens, Thackeray, Kipling and the like. His reputation as an author, however, has not fared as well largely because of the ubiquitous and fervent presence of religion throughout his works.MacDonald's theology, though sprinkled liberally throughout his fairly substantial number of books, is perhaps nowhere more palpable than in Unspoken Sermons. These sermons, though by no means amongst the most popular of MacDonald's work, have had theological impact from their first appearance...

By: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil, by Friedrich Nietzsche A searing indictment of concepts like “truth” and “language” Beyond Good and Evil, by Friedrich Nietzsche is a deeply thought provoking book that forms one of the keystones of modern thought and politics. In this book, Nietzsche takes the position that our subservience to fixed perspectives that are forced on us by our language and our ideals make us incapable of perceiving reality. He propounds the theory that ideals are not fixed but change over time, often dramatically, and end up becoming the exact opposite of what they originally were...

The Antichrist by Friedrich Nietzsche The Antichrist

Save for his raucous, rhapsodical autobiography, Ecce Homo, The Antichrist is the last thing that Nietzsche ever wrote, and so it may be accepted as a statement of some of his most salient ideas in their final form. Of all Nietzsche’s books, The Antichrist comes nearest to conventionality in form. It presents a connected argument with very few interludes, and has a beginning, a middle and an end.

The Twilight of the Idols or How to Philosophise with the Hammer by Friedrich Nietzsche The Twilight of the Idols or How to Philosophise with the Hammer

Of The Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche says in Ecce Homo: “If anyone should desire to obtain a rapid sketch of how everything before my time was standing on its head, he should begin reading me in this book. That which is called ‘Idols’ on the title-page is simply the old truth that has been believed in hitherto. In plain English, The Twilight of the Idols means that the old truth is on its last legs.” Certain it is that, for a rapid survey of the whole of Nietzsche’s doctrine, no book, save perhaps the section entitled “Of Old and New Tables” in Thus Spake Zarathustra, could be of more real value than The Twilight of the Idols...

Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, using a distinctive German language style and displaying a fondness for aphorism. Nietzsche’s influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism. Thus Spake Zarathustra is a work composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885. Much of the work deals with ideas such as the “eternal recurrence of the same”, the parable on the “death of God”, and the “prophecy” of the Overman, which were first introduced in The Gay Science...

By: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad The Mirror of the Sea

The Mirror of the Sea is a collection of autobiographical essays first published in various magazines 1904-6. Conrad early in his life earned his bread as a Master Mariner in sailing ships. In his Author’s Note to this work, Conrad states,”Beyond the line of the sea horizon the world for me did not exist….Within these pages I make a full confession not of my sins but of my emotions. It is the best tribute my piety can offer to the ultimate shapers of my character, convictions, and, in a sense, destiny—to the imperishable sea, to the ships that are no more, and to the simple men who have had their day.”

By: Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

Book cover American Woman's Home

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...

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...

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)

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.

Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young by Jacob Abbott Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young

Subtitled, "The principles on which a firm parental authority may be established and maintained, without violence or anger, and the right development of the moral and mental capacities be promoted by methods in harmony with the structure and the characteristics of the juvenile mind." This book gives practical advice on how to raise children using "gentle measures" that do not damage the children's emotions or self esteem. Most of the information is as relevant and practical today as it was when published in 1871.

Book cover The Teacher Or, Moral Influences Employed in the Instruction and Government of the Young

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...

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.

Walking by Henry David Thoreau Walking

This was originally a lecture given by Thoreau in 1851 at the Concord lyceum titled “The Wild” . He revised it before his death and it was included as part of the June 1862 edition of Atlantic Monthly. This essay appears, on the surface, to be simply expounding the qualities of Nature and man’s place therein. Through this medium he not only touches those subjects, but with the implications of such a respect for nature, or lack thereof.

Book cover Wild Apples

By: Henry James (1843-1916)

A Small Boy and Others by Henry James A Small Boy and Others

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.

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: Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift A Modest Proposal

A satirical essay written by one of the most renowned satirists, Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal expresses the author’s exasperation with the ill treatment of impoverished Irish citizens as a result of English exploitation and social inertia. Furthermore, Swift ventilates the severity of Ireland’s political incompetence, the tyrannical English policies, the callous attitudes of the wealthy, and the destitution faced by the Irish people. Focusing on numerous aspects of society including government exploitation, reckless greed, hypocrisy, apathy, and prejudice, the essay successfully exemplifies Swift’s satirical skills...

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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