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By: John Donne (1572-1631)

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions is a 1624 prose work by the English writer John Donne. It is a series of reflections that were written as Donne recovered from a serious illness, believed to be either typhus or relapsing fever. (Donne does not clearly identify the disease in his text.) The work consists of twenty-three parts describing each stage of the sickness. Each part is further divided into a Meditation, an Expostulation, and a Prayer. The seventeenth meditation is perhaps the best-known part of the work...

By: William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

The Book of Snobs by William Makepeace Thackeray The Book of Snobs

The necessity of a work on Snobs, demonstrated from History, and proved by felicitous illustrations:—I am the individual destined to write that work—My vocation is announced in terms of great eloquence—I show that the world has been gradually preparing itself for the WORK and the MAN—Snobs are to be studied like other objects of Natural Science, and are a part of the Beautiful (with a large B). They pervade all classes—Affecting instance of Colonel Snobley.

By: Joseph Trienens (b. 1863)

The Handy Cyclopedia of Things Worth Knowing by Joseph Trienens The Handy Cyclopedia of Things Worth Knowing

Written in 1910, this “cyclopedia” is full of information that was quite useful at the time. A hundred years later, its text is more humorous than practical — although some advice never goes out of style.

By: Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)

The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary

RESPECTABILITY, n. The offspring of a liaison between a bald head and a bank account. BEAUTY, n. The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband. LITIGANT, n. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones. If these caustic definitions catch your fancy, you'd enjoy The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. He was a columnist with the San Francisco News Letter, a weekly paper which was a business publication aimed at the corporate sector. However, it had a column entitled Town Crier which featured satirical asides and comments in a lighter vein...

Write it Right by Ambrose Bierce Write it Right

Witty, opinionated alphabetical examples of what Bierce considered poor (American) English and advice on alternatives – entertaining, thought-provoking, occasionally outdated but so interesting to see how style and taste have changed.

By: Hendrik van Loon

The Story of Mankind by Hendrik van Loon The Story of Mankind

A book that won the Newberry Prize in 1921 for an Outstanding Contribution in Children's Literature, The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon is indeed a classic that has been enjoyed by generations of children and adults. The book is an engagingly written work, dedicated to the author Hendrik van Loon's two young son's Hansje and Willem. It was created to convey the history of the human race to young people in a way that was interesting, memorable and would spur them onto further research and reading into the subject...

By: Olive Green

How to Cook Fish by Olive Green How to Cook Fish

One hundred simple fish sauces. Sixty-five ways to cook mackerel. The Catching of Unshelled Fish. Twenty-seven ways to Cook Frogslegs. Now that should certainly make you reach for your apron and fish knife! How to Cook Fish by Olive Green is a vintage culinary classic, filled with simple, easy to follow recipes rendered in a terse, no nonsense style. There's none of this fiddling with scales, weights and measures. What you get is a mélange of interesting, unusual ways to cook seafood without worrying about lists of ingredients, timings, temperature or any of the conventions followed by traditional cookbooks...

By: Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931)

The Art of the Moving Picture by Vachel Lindsay The Art of the Moving Picture

"This 1922 book by poet and sometime cultural critic Vachel Lindsay might have been the first to treat the then-new medium of moving pictures as an art form, one that was potentially as rich, complex, mysterious as far older ones, and whose physical and aesthetic properties were only starting to be understood. The highlight of the book might be “The Motion Picture of Fairy Splendor,” which examines the relationship between film storytelling, magic, myths, legends and bedtime stories. It’s discombobulating, in a good way, to read Lindsay’s attempts to grapple with what, precisely, cinema is...

By: Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Common Sense by Thomas Paine Common Sense

First published anonymously due to its seditious content in 1776, the pamphlet argues for the need of American colonists to pursue complete independence from Great Britain, and not be driven simply by the urge to free themselves from unfair taxation. Paine provides argumentation for his revolutionary ideas, suggesting the unification of colonial forces to achieve this goal. Furthermore, Paine strengthens his case by clearly asserting the advantages that would come out as a result of independence, and further fortifies his argumentation with religious references...

By: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill On Liberty

Published in 1859, On Liberty is a libertarian philosophical work by English philosopher John Stuart Mill that endorses his view on the importance of individuality for the constant progression and improvement of society. The work also supports economic and moral freedom, and openly criticizes the influence of social authority that in one way or another imposes a predefined set of acceptable attitudes and opinions. Highlighting issues including the incongruity between authority and liberty, the oppressive...

Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy by John Stuart Mill Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy

This is Mill’s first work on economics. It foreshadows his Political Economy which was the standard Anglo-American Economics textbook of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mill’s economic theory moved from free market capitalism, to government intervention within the precepts of Utilitarianism, and finally to Socialism.

Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism

John Stuart Mill’s book Utilitarianism is one of the most influential and widely-read philosophical defenses of utilitarianism in ethics. The essay first appeared as a series of three articles published in Fraser’s Magazine in 1861; the articles were collected and reprinted as a single book in 1863. It went through four editions during Mill’s lifetime with minor additions and revisions. Although Mill includes discussions of utilitarian ethical principles in other works such as On Liberty and The Subjection of Women, Utilitarianism contains Mill’s only major discussion of the fundamental grounds for utilitarian ethical theory.

The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill The Subjection of Women

The Subjection of Women is the title of an essay written by John Stuart Mill in 1869, possibly jointly with his wife Harriet Taylor Mill, stating an argument in favor of equality between the sexes. It offers both detailed argumentation and passionate eloquence in opposition to the social and legal inequalities commonly imposed upon women by a patriarchal culture. Just as in “On Liberty,” Mill defends the emancipation of women on utilitarian grounds, convinced that the moral and intellectual advancement of women would result in greater happiness for everybody.

Book cover Considerations on Representative Government

Mill's volume was published in 1861 as an argument favoring this form of governance. Mill covers what forms of government work best, including when representative government is applicable and when not. He details appropriate functions of representative bodies and warns of problems to avoid. He distinguishes between true and false democracy. Other areas covered include how voting is carried out, the role of a second chamber in Parliament, and how an executive branch might function.

Book cover Auguste Comte and Positivism

Part 1 lays out the framework for Positivism as originated in France by Auguste Comte in his Cours de Philosophie Positive. Mill examines the tenets of Comte's movement and alerts us to defects. Part 2 concerns all Comte's writings except the Cours de Philosophie Positive. During Comte's later years he gave up reading newspapers and periodicals to keep his mind pure for higher study. He also became enamored of a certain woman who changed his view of life. Comte turned his philosophy into a religion, with morality the supreme guide. Mill finds that Comte learned to despise science and the intellect, instead substituting his frantic need for the regulation of change.

By: Sir John Barrow (1764-1848)

Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty by Sir John Barrow Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty

On December 31 1787, the HMS Bounty, a small sailing vessel embarked from Spithead Harbor, England bound for Tahiti. Her mission was sponsored by the Royal Society in London and aimed at picking up breadfruit plants and fruit from Tahiti and conveying them to the West Indies, where it was hoped they would take root and become a commercial crop. The Bounty was an old ship with a young captain and 46 young officers. The captain's cabin was converted into a potting shed for the expected breadfruit cargo...

By: Adam Smith (1723-1790)

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” gives an in-depth discussion of different economic principles like the productivity, division of labor and free markets. Although written and published more than 200 years ago, it’s still hailed as one of the most original works in the field of economics and is still used as a reference by many modern economists. “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” is the complete title of this book and it was first published in 1776, the same year that the American colonies declared their independence from Britain...

By: Bill Nye

Comic History of the United States by Bill Nye Comic History of the United States

For American journalist and humorist Edgar Wilson Nye who wrote under the pen name Bill Nye in the late 19th century, facts are not to be presented in their newborn, bare state. They should be properly draped and embellished before they can be presented before the public. Hence, in the Comic History of the United States published in 1894, he gives his readers the facts. But in a bid to make the historical figures more human he describes them as “people who ate and possibly drank, people who were born, flourished and died, not grave tragedians posing perpetually for their photographs...

Comic History of England by Bill Nye Comic History of England

If you thought history was dull, dry and boring, you haven't read Bill Nye's books! He brings wit, humor, satire, irony and sheer nonsensical fun into the subject, making it both entertaining and memorable. The Comic History of England was published posthumously in 1896 after the writer's tragic and untimely death half-way through the project. Hence it remains incomplete and covers the history of the island nation only up to the Tudor period. However, beginning with Julius Caesar, the Roman invasion of Britain, the Druids and Stonehenge, this book is still a rib-tickling ride through the centuries...

By: Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

This speech was given March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, and is credited with having singlehandedly convinced the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. In attendance were Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Reportedly, the crowd, upon hearing the speech, jumped up and shouted, “To Arms! To Arms!”

By: Susanna Moodie (1803-1885)

Life in the Clearings by Susanna Moodie Life in the Clearings

If you've read Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, the historical fiction novel that describes a gruesome double murder in Canada in 1843, you would be interested to know the sources that were used by Atwood during her research. Life in the Clearings by Susanna Moodie was one such reference book in which the author, Susanna Moodie recounts her meeting with the infamous murderess Grace Marks, a young house help who was convicted to life imprisonment for her role in the slaying of her employers. Susanna Moodie was an Englishwoman born in Suffolk...

Book cover Roughing It in the Bush

'Roughing It In the Bush' is Susanna Moodie's account of how she coped with the harshness of life in the woods of Upper Canada, as an Englishwoman homesteading abroad. Her narrative was constructed partly as a response to the glowing falsehoods European land-agents were circulating about life in the New World. Her chronicle is frank and humorous, and was a popular sensation at the time of its publication in 1852.

By: Sinclair Lewis

The Trail of the Hawk by Sinclair Lewis The Trail of the Hawk

By: Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)

Madam How and Lady Why by Charles Kingsley Madam How and Lady Why

Did you ever wish you knew how to explain natural phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes to your children? Search no more, this book has all the answers (at least all the ones that were known in 1869) and gives them in a pedagogical way. Listed on the Ambleside homeschooling list.

Book cover Health and Education
Book cover Alexandria and Her Schools; four lectures delivered at the Philosophical Institution, Edinburgh

By: Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Summa Theologica, Pars Prima by Saint Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica, Pars Prima

More than nine hundred years after it was first written, this unfinished work of a scholar saint still has the power to move our minds and hearts and set us thinking on the really important questions of life. Summa Theologica or simply the Summa as it is known, was written some time between 1265-74. It is a work that has had a profound and enduring influence on Western thought and literature. Designed to provide answers to Catholic theologians about the teachings of the Church, Thomas Aquinas' book instead goes far beyond its stated purpose...

By: Thucydides (Θουκυδίδης) (c. 460-395)

The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (Θουκυδίδης) The History of the Peloponnesian War

The History of the Peloponnesian War is an account of the Peloponnesian War in Ancient Greece, fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Athens) in the 5th Century BC. It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian general who served in the war. It is widely considered a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The History is divided into eight books. These book divisions are the work of editors in later antiquity. W. R. Connor [...] describes Thucydides as “an artist who responds to, selects and skillfully arranges his material, and develops its symbolic and emotional potential.”

By: Leon Trotsky (1879-1940)

From October to Brest-Litovsk by Leon Trotsky From October to Brest-Litovsk

This account by Trotsky is of the events in Russia from the October Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd, to his signing of the Brest-Litovsk treaty with Germany on 3rd March 1918 which took Russia out of the First World War. The treaty exacted heavy losses for Russia in terms of annexations of land and financial indemnities to Germany. In this extended essay, Trotsky argues the reasons as to why he decided to sign what appears to be a disastrous agreement for Russia.

By: Publius Cornelius Tacitus

Book cover A Dialogue Concerning Oratory, or the Causes of Corrupt Eloquence

The scene of the Dialogus de Oratoribus, as this work is commonly known, is laid in the sixth year of Vespasian, 75 a.D. The commentators are much divided in their opinions about the real author; his work they all agree is a masterpiece in the kind; written with taste and judgement; entertaining, profound, and elegant. It is normally considered to have been written by Tacitus, even though some ascribe it to Quintilian. The main subject is the decadence of oratory, for which the cause is said to be the decline of the education, both in the family and in the school, of the future orator. In a certain way, it can be considered a miniature art of rhetoric.

By: Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America

Arguably, one of the most influential and insightful pieces of work concerned with American political life, Democracy in America directs itself towards American politics and society, and is considered to be one the best books written on the subject. Published in 2 volumes, in 1835 and 1840, Tocqueville records his findings after studying the thriving nation in his nine month exploratory journey. The young French aristocrat first came to America on an official assignment to study the American penal system, but instead used this as a pretext to study American society...

By: Unknown

The Bible, Weymouth New Testament (WNT) - Matthew by The Bible, Weymouth New Testament (WNT) - Matthew

The Weymouth New Testament ("WNT"), otherwise known as The New Testament in Modern Speech or The Modern Speech New Testament, is a translation into "modern" English as used in the nineteenth century from the text of The Resultant Greek Testament by Richard Francis Weymouth from the Greek idioms used in it. It was later edited and partly revised by Reverend Ernest Hampden-Cook in London, England. Publishers: Baker and Taylor Company (New York) in 1903 and James Clarke & Co (London) in 1903.Richard Francis Weymouth's popular translation of the New Testament into English was first published in 1903 and has been in print through numerous editions ever since with millions of copies sold...


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