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By: George Santayana (1863-1952)

Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy by George Santayana Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy

Before the beginning of World War II, during the time of the Modernist movement in philosophy, George Santayana wrote these five descriptive essays. He examined John Locke’s sensationalism, British Idealism, the “Theory of Relativity”, Freud’s psychology, and Julien Benda’s preachment on the relations between God and the world. [Summary written by Gary Gilberd]

Book cover The Life of Reason volume 1

The Life of Reason, subtitled "the Phases of Human Progress", is a book published in five volumes from 1905 to 1906, by Spanish-born American philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952). It consists of Reason in Common Sense, Reason in Society, Reason in Religion, Reason in Art, and Reason in Science. The work is considered to be the most complete expression of Santayana's moral philosophy [...]. Santayana's philosophy is strongly influenced by the materialism of Democritus and the refined ethics of Aristotle, with a special emphasis on the natural development of ideal ends...

Book cover Winds of Doctrine: Studies in Contemporary Opinion

Even before the Great War turned the world upside down, Western civilization was being revolutionized at all levels: intellectually, philosophically, artistically. Noted positivist philosopher George Santayana published this volume on the eve of the War, trying to portray the status of philosophy and theology at that moment by analyzing six significant topics: 1. the intellectual "temper" of the age 2. the clash between Modernism and Christianity 3. the new idealism of Henri Bergson 4. the new skepticism of Bertrand Russell 5. Shelley's fusion of philosophy and poetry 6. the so-called "genteel" tradition in American philosophy.

By: Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797)

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African by Olaudah Equiano The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, written in 1789, is the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano. It discusses his time spent in slavery, serving primarily on galleys, documents his attempts at becoming an independent man through his study of the Bible, and his eventual success in gaining his own freedom and in business thereafter. The book contains an interesting discussion of slavery in West Africa and illustrates how the experience differs from the dehumanising slavery of the Americas...

By: Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

Book cover Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon

Sailing voyage from England to Portugal in the mid Eighteenth Century, by one of the premier humorists, satirists, novelists and playwrights of his age. It was to be his last work, as his failing health proved unable to persevere much longer after the voyage.

By: Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859)

Miscellaneous Essays by Thomas de Quincey Miscellaneous Essays

The Hunter Thompson of the 19th Century, de Quincey is best known for his Confessions of an English Opium Eater (an activity shared with his hero, Samuel Coleridge, much to Wordsworth’s dismay). However, de Quincey’s literary genius is best captured in his essays, and, according to Wikipedia: His immediate influence extended to Edgar Allan Poe, Fitz Hugh Ludlow and Charles Baudelaire, but even major 20th century writers such as Jorge Luis Borges admired and claimed to be partly influenced by his work.

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas de Quincey Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

“Thou hast the keys of Paradise, O just, subtle, and mighty Opium!” Though apparently presenting the reader with a collage of poignant memories, temporal digressions and random anecdotes, the Confessions is a work of immense sophistication and certainly one of the most impressive and influential of all autobiographies. The work is of great appeal to the contemporary reader, displaying a nervous (postmodern?) self-awareness, a spiralling obsession with the enigmas of its own composition and significance...

By: Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Spurgeon's Sermons May 1858 by Charles Spurgeon Spurgeon's Sermons May 1858

Charles Spurgeon was a popular Baptist minister in London in mid-Victorian times; his ministry was highly influential and had a significant effect on many families in London and further afield. It was difficult to find a hall large enough to accommodate the crowd who wished to hear him. At times the Royal Surrey Gardens’ Music Hall was hired to accomodate the Sunday congregation; this could seat 10,000 but large numbers were unable to gain admittance. His world-wide heritage is very much with us today through the many chuches built, missionary work begun, children’s charity founded and theological colleges established as a result of his ministry...

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings by Charles Spurgeon Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Organized by week, this devotional has a morning and evening meditation for every day of the year. Although these devotions are short in length, they are filled with spiritual goodness. In just a few sentences, Spurgeon is able to convey the wisdom of Scripture with eloquence and purpose. These daily messages provide Christians with the spiritual energy they need to begin and end each day. Spurgeon weaves a verse of Scripture into each devotion, helping readers draw deeper meaning out of the selected passages...

By: Catharine Parr Traill (1802-1899)

The Backwoods of Canada by Catharine Parr Traill The Backwoods of Canada

The writer is as earnest in recommending ladies who belong to the higher class of settlers to cultivate all the mental resources of a superior education, as she is to induce them to discard all irrational and artificial wants and mere useless pursuits. She would willingly direct their attention to the natural history and botany of this new country, in which they will find a never-failing source of amusement and instruction, at once enlightening and elevating the mind, and serving to fill up the void left by the absence of those lighter feminine accomplishments, the practice of which are necessarily superseded by imperative domestic duties...

By: A. Alpheus

Complete Hypnotism, Mesmerism, Mind-Reading and Spiritualism by A. Alpheus Complete Hypnotism, Mesmerism, Mind-Reading and Spiritualism

Written in 1903, just sixty years after the word ‘hypnotism’ was coined, this book explores the contemporary understanding of the nature, uses and dangers of the technique. Hypnotism has been practiced for many centuries, but it was in the mid-to-late nineteenth century that it became a particularly fashionable way to explore the human mind. Although understanding of the subject has evolved considerably over subsequent years, this book remains a fascinating insight into a technique once thought to be at the forefront of medical science.

By: Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope An Essay on Man

Pope’s Essay on Man, a masterpiece of concise summary in itself, can fairly be summed up as an optimistic enquiry into mankind’s place in the vast Chain of Being. Each of the poem’s four Epistles takes a different perspective, presenting Man in relation to the universe, as individual, in society and, finally, tracing his prospects for achieving the goal of happiness. In choosing stately rhyming couplets to explore his theme, Pope sometimes becomes obscure through compressing his language overmuch...

By: James Boswell (1740-1795)

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell The Life of Samuel Johnson

Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson is widely considered to be the greatest English-language biography ever written. It was revolutionary in its efforts to represent Johnson as he was, celebrating his flaws as well as his genius, and in Boswell’s decision to represent Johnson primarily by quoting his writings and relating personal anecdotes rather than relying on matters of public record. From the time of its publication till now, The Life of Johnson has been one of the most popular and influential books ever written.

By: Yacki Raizizun

The Secret of Dreams by Yacki Raizizun The Secret of Dreams

A guide to different kinds of dreams, their meanings, and how they influence our waking lives.

By: Henry L. Mencken (1880-1956)

In Defense of Women by Henry L. Mencken In Defense of Women

In Defense of Women is H. L. Mencken’s 1918 book on women and the relationship between the sexes. Some laud the book as progressive while others brand it as reactionary. While Mencken didn’t champion women’s rights, he described women as wiser in many novel and observable ways, while demeaning average men. According to Mencken’s biographer, Fred Hobson: Depending on the position of the reader, he was either a great defender of women’s rights or, as a critic labelled him in 1916, ‘the greatest misogynist since Schopenhauer’,'the country’s high-priest of woman-haters.’

By: John Wesley Powell (1834-1902)

Canyons of the Colorado, or The exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons by John Wesley Powell Canyons of the Colorado, or The exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons

John Wesley Powell was a pioneer American explorer, ethnologist, and geologist in the 19th Century. In 1869 he set out to explore the Colorado and the Grand Canyon. He gathered nine men, four boats and food for ten months and set out from Green River, Wyoming, on May 24. Passing through dangerous rapids, the group passed down the Green River to its confluence with the Colorado River (then also known as the Grand River upriver from the junction), near present-day Moab, Utah. The expedition’s route...

By: Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944)

Cobb's Anatomy by Irvin S. Cobb Cobb's Anatomy

Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb was born on June 23, 1876. At seventeen years of age, he began writing for the Paducah Daily News, his hometown paper. At nineteen he became the managing editor; up to that point, our nation’s youngest. He worked as a columnist, a humorist and an author. But ‘horror,’ and ’short stories,’ are not why he is remembered. He is remembered because he was, and still is, funny. And although he is now dead–he died March 11, 1944–this work “Cobb’s Anatomy,” among others, has left an indelible mark upon mankind: a smile.

By: Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921)

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution by Peter Kropotkin Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution is a book by Peter Kropotkin on the subject of mutual aid, written while he was living in exile in England. It was first published by William Heinemann in London in October 1902. The individual chapters had originally been published in 1890-96 as a series of essays in the British monthly literary magazine, Nineteenth Century. Written partly in response to Social Darwinism and in particular to Thomas H. Huxley’s Nineteenth Century essay, The Struggle for Existence, Kropotkin’s book drew on his experiences in scientific expeditions in Siberia to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation...

The Conquest of bread by Peter Kropotkin The Conquest of bread

In this work, Kropotkin points out what he considers to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism, and how he believes they create poverty and scarcity while promoting privilege. He goes on to propose a more decentralised economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organisation already exist, both in evolution and in human society.

By: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

My Mark Twain by William Dean Howells My Mark Twain

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) became fast friends with Mark Twain from the moment in 1869 when Twain strode into the office of The Atlantic Monthly in Boston to thank Howells, then its assistant editor, for his favorable review of Innocents Abroad. When Howells became editor a few years later, The Atlantic Monthly began serializing many of Twain’s works, among them his non-fiction masterpiece, Life on the Mississippi. In My Mark Twain, Howells pens a literary memoir that includes such fascinating scenes as their meetings with former president Ulysses Grant who was then writing the classic autobiography that Twain would underwrite in the largest publishing deal until that time...

A Little Swiss Sojurn by William Dean Howells A Little Swiss Sojurn

A charming brief account of a two months' autumnal stay on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. Howells, who was there with his family traveling from England to Italy, has a sharp eye not only for scenery and architecture, but for people and customs, both Swiss and foreign.

By: Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)

Is Mars Habitable? by Alfred Russel Wallace Is Mars Habitable?

In 1907 Wallace wrote the short book Is Mars Habitable? to criticize the claims made by Percival Lowell that there were Martian canals built by intelligent beings. Wallace did months of research, consulted various experts, and produced his own scientific analysis of the Martian climate and atmospheric conditions. Among other things Wallace pointed out that spectroscopic analysis had shown no signs of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere, that Lowell’s analysis of Mars’ climate was seriously flawed and badly overestimated the surface temperature, and that low atmospheric pressure would make liquid water, let alone a planet girding irrigation system, impossible.

By: Brooks Adams (1848-1927)

The Theory of Social Revolutions by Brooks Adams The Theory of Social Revolutions

Brooks Adams (1848- 1927), was an American historian and a critic of capitalism. He believed that commercial civilizations rise and fall in predictable cycles. First, masses of people draw together in large population centers and engage in commercial activities. As their desire for wealth grows, they discard spiritual and creative values. Their greed leads to distrust and dishonesty, and eventually the society crumbles. In The Law of Civilisation and Decay (1895), Adams noted that as new population centers emerged in the west, centers of world trade shifted from Constantinople to Venice to Amsterdam to London...

By: Fanny Dickerson Bergen (1846-1924)

Current Superstitions by Fanny Dickerson Bergen Current Superstitions

No matter how enlightened, chances are you’ve been raised around superstitious lore of one kind or another. Fanny Dickerson Bergen was one of the original researchers of North American oral traditions relating to such key life events and experiences as babyhood and childhood, marriage, wishes and dreams, luck, warts and cures, death omens and mortuary customs, and “such truck,” as Huck Finn would say. You’ll be surprised at how many of these old saws you’ll know. Here’s a quote from...

By: Dale Carnegie (1888-1955)

The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie The Art of Public Speaking

A great start to shaking off public speaking jitters, socializing and mastering the art of small talk. The principles of public speaking written by Dale Carnegie decades ago in this book are timeless. They are just as effective in working a crowd in today’s society as they were back then. He delves into ways of commanding and charming an audience with the right energy, tone of voice, pitch, pronunciation and vocabulary. Armed with the principles highlighted in this book, you can do more than convey a message to a group of people, you can move them...

By: Elizabeth E. Lea (1793-1858)

Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers by Elizabeth E. Lea Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers

The compiler of [this book] having entered early in life upon a train of duties, was frequently embarrassed by her ignorance of domestic affairs. For, whilst receipt books for elegant preparations were often seen, those connected with the ordinary, but far more useful part of household duties, were not easily procured; thus situated, she applied to persons of experience, and embodied the information collected in a book, to which, since years have matured her judgment, she has added much that is the result of her own experiments...

By: Francis Pharcellus Church (1839-1906)

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus by Francis Pharcellus Church Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

“Is There A Santa Claus?” was the headline that appeared over an editorial in the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. The editorial, which included the response of “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States.

By: Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

The French Revolution by Hilaire Belloc The French Revolution

“It is, for that matter, self-evident that if one community decides in one fashion, another, also sovereign, in the opposite fashion, both cannot be right. Reasoning men have also protested, and justly, against the conception that what a majority in numbers, or even (what is more compelling still) a unanimity of decision in a community may order, may not only be wrong but may be something which that community has no authority to order since, though it possesses a civil and temporal authority, it acts against that ultimate authority which is its own consciousness of right...

Europe and the Faith by Hilaire Belloc Europe and the Faith

The Catholic brings to history (when I say "history" in these pages I mean the history of Christendom) self-knowledge. As a man in the confessional accuses himself of what he knows to be true and what other people cannot judge, so a Catholic, talking of the united European civilization, when he blames it, blames it for motives and for acts which are his own. He himself could have done those things in person. He is not relatively right in his blame, he is absolutely right. As a man can testify to his own motive so can the Catholic testify to unjust, irrelevant, or ignorant conceptions of the European story; for he knows why and how it proceeded...

First and Last by Hilaire Belloc First and Last

“When a man weighs anchor in a little ship or a large one he does a jolly thing! He cuts himself off and he starts for freedom and for the chance of things. He pulls the jib a-weather, he leans to her slowly pulling round, he sees the wind getting into the mainsail, and he feels that she feels the helm. He has her on a slant of the wind, and he makes out between the harbour piers.” (quotation from Hilaire Belloc)

On Something by Hilaire Belloc On Something

“Now that story is a symbol, and tells the truth. We see some one thing in this world, and suddenly it becomes particular and sacramental; a woman and a child, a man at evening, a troop of soldiers; we hear notes of music, we smell the smell that went with a passed time, or we discover after the long night a shaft of light upon the tops of the hills at morning: there is a resurrection, and we are refreshed and renewed.” – Hilaire Belloc

On Nothing & Kindred Subjects by Hilaire Belloc On Nothing & Kindred Subjects

“I knew a man once, Maurice, who was at Oxford for three years, and after that went down with no degree. At College, while his friends were seeking for Truth in funny brown German Philosophies, Sham Religions, stinking bottles and identical equations, he was lying on his back in Eynsham meadows thinking of Nothing, and got the Truth by this parallel road of his much more quickly than did they by theirs; for the asses are still seeking, mildly disputing, and, in a cultivated manner, following the...


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