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By: George Manville Fenn (1831-1909)

Book cover Cutlass and Cudgel

Based around the crew of cutter HMS White Hawk, this is a tale of smuggling in the early 19th century off the coast of Wessex. The midshipman of the cutter is taken hostage by the smugglers and is befriended by a farm-boy, son of one of the smugglers. His friendship is rudely rebuffed, the midshipman eventually escapes and the farm-boy gets his long-held dream of becoming a seaman on an Excise vessel.

By: Mrs. Cecil Hall

A Lady's Life on a Farm in Manitoba by Mrs. Cecil Hall A Lady's Life on a Farm in Manitoba

The nineteenth century was marked by intense colonization by countries like Britain, France, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands. Initially, the pioneering efforts were made by men who battled unfamiliar terrain to create territories that they marked out as their own, while their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters kept the home and hearth in their native land. However, with travel becoming more common and family life assuming more importance, the women too began to travel to the four corners of the earth...

By: W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

Book cover On a Chinese Screen

This is a non-fiction collection of Maugham's observations of life in Asia in the early 20th Century.

By: Irwin S. Cobb (1876-1944)

Europe Revised by Irwin S. Cobb Europe Revised

Irwin Cobb’s humorous Europe Revised is a travelogue and comedy almost in the style of Mark Twain. The dedication says it best, “To My Small DaughterWho bade me shed a tear at the tomb of Napoleon, which I was very glad to do, because when I got there my feet certainly were hurting me.”

By: Lady Lucie Duff-Gordon (1821-1869)

Letters from Egypt by Lady Lucie Duff-Gordon Letters from Egypt

As a girl, Lady Duff-Gordon was noted both for her beauty and intelligence. As an author, she is most famous for this collection of letters from Egypt. Lady Duff-Gordon had tuberculosis, and went to Egypt for her health. This collection of her personal letters to her mother and her husband. By all accounts everyone loved her, and the letters are very personal in style and content. The letters are as much an introduction to her person as a record of her life on the Upper Nile.

By: John Ruskin

The Stones of Venice, volume 1 by John Ruskin The Stones of Venice, volume 1

The Stones of Venice is a three-volume treatise on Venetian art and architecture by English art historian John Ruskin, first published from 1851 to 1853. Intending to prove how the architecture in Venice exemplified the principles he discussed in his earlier work, The Seven Lamps of Architecture, Ruskin examined the city in detail, describing for example over eighty churches. He discusses architecture of Venice's Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance periods, and provides a general history of the city as well...

By: Elizabeth von Arnim (1866-1941)

Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim Elizabeth and her German Garden

Elizabeth and Her German Garden is a novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, first published in 1898; it was very popular and frequently reprinted during the early years of the 20th century. The story is a year's diary written by the protagonist Elizabeth about her experiences learning gardening and interacting with her friends. It includes commentary on the beauty of nature and on society, but is primarily humorous due to Elizabeth's frequent mistakes and her idiosyncratic outlook on life. She looked down upon the frivolous fashions of her time writing "I believe all needlework and dressmaking is of the devil, designed to keep women from study...

By: Edna Ferber (1885-1968)

Emma McChesney and Company by Edna Ferber Emma McChesney and Company

This is the final volume in the trilogy following the smart, stylish, divorced and independent businesswoman Emma McChesney in her career from stenographer, then drummer (traveling salesman) to owner of her own company. (The first was Roast Beef, Medium and the second Personality Plus). Edna Ferber first gained success with these stories and later went on to write Show Boat, Giant and other well known books. First published in 1915, Emma's son, Jock, has moved to Chicago with his new wife. Emma decides to sell in South America and proves she has not lost her magic touch...

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: 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: William Dean Howells

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: Ida Laura Pfeiffer

A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy by Ida Laura Pfeiffer A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy

Ida Pfeiffer travelled alone in an era when women didn’t travel. She went first on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, then went on to Egypt and Italy. Understanding the difficulties a woman would face travelling alone and on a budget, she made a will before she left. Go she did, however; and upon her return she wrote this book. She used the proceeds to finance her next trip – six months in Iceland.

By: Elizabeth Davis Bancroft (1803-1886)

Letters from England, 1846-1849 by Elizabeth Davis Bancroft Letters from England, 1846-1849

Elizabeth Bancroft went to England with her husband, historian George Bancroft, for three of the most dynamicy years in European hstory. As Ambassador to England from the United States, George moved in the highest circles. In his wife’s letters to their sons, her uncle, her brother, and Mrs. Polk (the President’s wife), we see glimpses not only of early Victorian English life, but also of Queen Victoria herself! Mrs. Bancroft speaks of dinners with Benjamin Disraeli, visits to Wordsworth, weekends in the country with Louis Napolean and Sir Robert Peel with such matter of fact aplomb that one cannot help being impressed.

By: James Norman Hall

Faery Lands of the South Seas by James Norman Hall Faery Lands of the South Seas

Returning from the horrors of World War I James Hall and Charles Nordhoff follow a dream to tour the South Pacific. They later co authored “Mutiny on the Bounty”. This is a love story. A travelogue and an adventure rolled into one. This book just went into the public domain, so enjoy an early 20th Century look at paradise.

By: Roald Amundsen (1872-1928)

The South Pole; an account of the Norwegian Antarctic expedition in the Fram, 1910-12 by Roald Amundsen The South Pole; an account of the Norwegian Antarctic expedition in the Fram, 1910-12

In contrast to Scott’s South Pole expedition, Amundsen’s expedition benefited from good equipment, appropriate clothing, and a fundamentally different primary task (Amundsen did no surveying on his route south and is known to have taken only two photographs) Amundsen had a better understanding of dogs and their handling, and he used of skis more effectively. He pioneered an entirely new route to the Pole and they returned. In Amundsen’s own words: “Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it...

By: Luis Vaz de Camões (1524-1580)

The Lusiads by Luis Vaz de Camões The Lusiads

The Lusiads (Os Lusíadas) is a Portuguese epic poem, written in the 16th century by Luis Vaz de Camões. The poem tells the tale of the Portuguese discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries, specially the voyage to India by Vasco da Gama. Modelled after the classic epic tradition, Camões' Lusiads are considered not only the first literary text in Modern Portuguese, but also a national epic of the same level as Vergil's Aeneid. In the 19th century, Sir Richard Francis Burton translated Camões' Lusiads, in what he considered "the most pleasing literary labour of his life".

By: Erskine Childers (1870-1922)

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers The Riddle of the Sands

Containing many realistic details based on Childers’ own sailing trips along the German North Sea coast, the book is the retelling of a yachting expedition in the early 20th century combined with an adventurous spy story. It was one of the early invasion novels which predicted war with Germany and called for British preparedness. The plot involves the uncovering of secret German preparations for an invasion of the United Kingdom. It is often called the first modern spy novel, although others are as well, it was certainly very influential in the genre and for its time...

By: R. Talbot Kelly (1861-1934)

Peeps at Many Lands: Egypt by R. Talbot Kelly Peeps at Many Lands: Egypt

A short travelogue of Egypt, this book was written as part of an early 20th century series of travelogues on exotic destinations.

By: Grant Allen (1848-1899)

The British Barbarians by Grant Allen The British Barbarians

After Civil Servant Philip Christy crosses paths with the mysterious Bertram Ingledew in the respectable suburb of Brackenhurst, Philip and his sister Frida, married to the wealthy Scot Robert Monteith, become friends with the stranger. Bertram has some unconventional concepts about society, and as the story unfolds, his beliefs and actions cause much disruption in the family and the neighbourhood.Who is Bertram? Where does he come from? Allen explores some interesting ideas about society, some of which are curiously relevant today...

By: William H. Hudson (1841-1922)

Far Away and Long Ago by William H. Hudson Far Away and Long Ago

William Henry Hudson (August 1841 – 1922) was an author, naturalist and ornithologist. Hudson was born of U.S. parents living in the Quilmes Partido in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, where he spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier. ‘Far Away and Long Ago’ is a classic memoir of a boy, fascinated by nature, on the Pampas in the 19th century.

By: Winston Churchill (1871-1947)

A Traveller in War-Time by Winston Churchill A Traveller in War-Time

This is a collection of a series of journalistic articles written during his travels throughout WWI era Europe that Churchill — the American author, not the famed British statesman — published in 1917; the book version came out in 1918. The writing is sharp, straightforward, and rarely sentimental, with loads of local color and occasional humor.

By: Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia by Samuel Johnson Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia

In this enchanting fable (subtitled The Choice of Life), Rasselas and his retinue burrow their way out of the totalitarian paradise of the Happy Valley in search of that triad of eighteenth-century aspiration – life, liberty and happiness.According to that quirky authority, James Boswell, Johnson penned his only work of prose fiction in a handful of days to cover the cost of his mother’s funeral. The stylistic elegance of the book and its wide-ranging philosophical concerns give no hint of haste or superficiality...

By: H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925)

Book cover The Brethren

Set in the days of the Crusaders, this books tells of a young maiden named Rosamund, and her twin cousins. Godwin is the grey eyed thoughtful man, and Wulf is the blue eyed warrior. They are both knights of England and they are both in love with their fair cousin. But the riddle of the story is which does Rosamund love?The adventure begins when Rosamund is taken from England and carried to the East. The plot thickens as the two young knights follow her in hopes of rescuing her from the Muslim leader, Saladin...

By: J. O. Choules

Young Americans Abroad – Vacation in Europe by J. O. Choules Young Americans Abroad – Vacation in Europe

It’s 1851 and the Crystal Palace Exhibition is on in England. English American the Reverend Dr. Choules leaves Newport, Rhode Island with three teenaged students – James Robinson, George Vanderbuilt, and Weld French, who are forced to leave the fourth member of their blue-blooded quartet at home – and all four travelers promise to write to “Dear Charley”, Charles Duston, of later fame. The boys meet the Duke of Wellington, travel down the Rhine, and meet many friends along the way. While the letters are filled with some prejudice against the Catholic religion, they are a product of their time – a sometimes ignorant, but often dazzling, period of our history.

By: Frances Calderón de la Barca (1804-1882)

Life in Mexico by Frances Calderón de la Barca Life in Mexico

FRANCES CALDERON DE LA BARCA, born in Edinburgh, 1804, the daughter of William Inglis. After her father’s death she settled in America, where she married the Spanish diplomat, Don Angel Calderon de la Barca. She accompanied him on his various appointments to Mexico, Washington, and finally to Madrid, where she was created Marquesa de Calderon de la Barca by Alfonso XII and died in 1882. The present work is the result of observations made during a two years’ residence in Mexico, by a lady, whose position there made her intimately acquainted with its society, and opened to her the best sources of information in regard to whatever could interest an enlightened foreigner...

By: Isabella L. Bird (1831-1904)

A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

Isabella Bird began travelling while in her early twenties to help alleviate illness that had plagued her since childhood. She was a single woman in her early forties when she made her treck through the Rocky Mountains. A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains details this fascinating account of her travels through a series of letters written to her sister, Henrietta. These letters are filled with beautiful, vivid descriptions of the scenery, the people she encountered, the way of life, and a mountain man named Jim Nugent, that was as rough as they come, but a complete gentleman with Ms...

By: Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904)

How I Found Livingstone by Sir Henry Morton Stanley How I Found Livingstone

Sir Henry Morton Stanley is famously quoted for saying “Dr Livingstone, i Presume?”. Born in Wales, he migrated over to the United States at the age of 18, and eventually became an overseas correspondent for the New York Herald. In 1869 Stanley was told by James Gordon Bennett Jr to find Livingstone, a scottish missionary and explorer, who was lost in central Africa. When Stanley commented on the cost Bennett’s reply was: “Well, I will tell you what you will do. Draw a thousand pounds now; and when you have gone through that, draw another thousand, and when that is spent, draw another thousand, and when you have finished that, draw another thousand, and so on; but, FIND LIVINGSTONE.

By: Oliver Optic

Down South or Yacht Adventure in Florida by Oliver Optic Down South or Yacht Adventure in Florida

"Down South" is the fifth and last volume but one of the "Great Western Series." The action of the story is confined entirely to Florida; and this fact may seem to belie the title of the Series. But the young yachtsman still maintains his hold upon the scenes of his earlier life in Michigan, and his letters come regularly from that State. If he were old enough to vote, he could do so only in Michigan; and therefore he has not lost his right to claim a residence there during his temporary sojourn in the South...

By: Charlotte M. Yonge (1823-1901)

Little Lucy's Wonderful Globe by Charlotte M. Yonge Little Lucy's Wonderful Globe

Travel with Little Lucy around the globe and learn a little geography and small bits about other cultures.

By: Gilbert White (1720-1793)

The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White The Natural History of Selborne

The Reverend Gilbert White was the curate of the village of Selborne, a village in Hampshire, from 1784 to his death in 1793, living most of his life in the village. The book is in the form of a collection of letters to two friends, discussing the natural history of the areas that he knew, and natural history in general. White’s intense curiosity and his love for the world about him flow through his simple, straightforward style, and a gentle sense of humour colours many of his anecdotes.

By: Francis Parkman, Jr.

The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman, Jr. The Oregon Trail

The book is a breezy, first-person account of a 2 month summer tour of the U.S. states of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas when Parkman was 23. Proofed and produced by Karen Merline.

By: Tobias Smollett

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker was the last of the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett, and is considered by many to be his best and funniest work. Published in London on 17 June 1771, it is an epistolary novel, presented in the form of letters written by six different characters: Matthew Bramble, a Welsh Squire; his sister Tabitha; their niece and nephew, Jery and Lydia Melford; Tabitha’s maid Winifred Jenkins; and Lydia’s suitor, Wilson. Much of the comedy arises from differences in the descriptions of the same events by different participants...


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