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By: John Muir (1838-1914)

The Story of My Boyhood and Youth by John Muir The Story of My Boyhood and Youth

“The only fire for the whole house was the kitchen stove, with a fire box about eighteen inches long and eight inches wide and deep,- scant space for three or four small sticks, around which in hard zero weather all the family of ten shivered, and beneath which in the morning we found our socks and coarse, soggy boots frozen solid.” Thus, with perceptive eye for detail, the American naturalist, John Muir, describes life on a pioneer Wisconsin farm in the 1850’s. Muir was only eleven years old when his father uprooted the family from a relatively comfortable life in Dunbar, Scotland, to settle in the backwoods of North America...

Travels in Alaska by John Muir Travels in Alaska

In 1879 John Muir went to Alaska for the first time. Its stupendous living glaciers aroused his unbounded interest, for they enabled him to verify his theories of glacial action. Again and again he returned to this continental laboratory of landscapes. The greatest of the tide-water glaciers appropriately commemorates his name. Upon this book of Alaska travels, all but finished before his unforeseen departure, John Muir expended the last months of his life.

Steep Trails by John Muir Steep Trails

A collection of Muir's previously unpublished essays, released shortly after his death. "This volume will meet, in every way, the high expectations of Muir's readers. The recital of his experiences during a stormy night on the summit of Mount Shasta will take rank among the most thrilling of his records of adventure. His observations on the dead towns of Nevada, and on the Indians gathering their harvest of pine nuts, recall a phase of Western life that has left few traces in American literature...

By: John R. Lynch (1847-1939)

Book cover The Facts of Reconstruction

After the American Civil War, John R. Lynch, who had been a slave in Mississippi, began his political career in 1869 by first becoming Justice of the Peace, and then Mississippi State Representative. He was only 26 when he was elected to the US Congress in 1873. There, he continued to be an activist, introducing many bills and arguing on their behalf. Perhaps his greatest effort was in the long debate supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to ban discrimination in public accommodations.In 1884 Lynch was the first African American nominated after a moving speech by Theodore Roosevelt to the position of Temporary Chairman of the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois...

By: John Relly Beard (1800-1876)

Toussaint L’Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography by John Relly Beard Toussaint L’Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography

François-Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743-1803) rose to fame in 1791 during the Haitian struggle for independence. In this revolt, he led thousands of slaves on the island of Hispañola to fight against the colonial European powers of France, Spain and England. The former slaves ultimately established the independent state of Haiti and expelled the Europeans. L’Ouverture eventually became the governor and Commander-In-Chief of Haiti before recognizing and submitting to French rule in 1801...

By: John S. Mosby (1833-1916)

The Memoirs of Colonel John S. Mosby by John S. Mosby The Memoirs of Colonel John S. Mosby

This is not a work of fiction! These are the actual memoirs of a legendary leader of partisans who bedeviled the Union army for years, almost within sight of the capitol. With only a few local men under command, John Singleton Mosby’s ability to strike fast and then melt away before an effective pursuit could be organized kept the Yankee forces awake and often snarled in knots. With daring feats like capturing a Yankee general out of his bed within his defended headquarters, Mosby made his name a synonym for guerrilla warfare...

By: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

Book cover Autobiography of John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873), British philosopher, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. He was an exponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of it was very different from Bentham's. He was a forceful proponent in the fight for government intervention in social reform.

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: Joseph Benjamin Polley (1840-1918)

Book cover Soldier's Letters to Charming Nellie

Whether written in camp, in hospital, or in hospitable home, the letters tell a plain, unvarnished, and true story of the observations and experiences, the impressions and feelings, of a soldier whose only personal regret is that he could not be one of those whose paroles at Appomattox are patents incontestable that they fought for the right as they saw it, as long as there was a hope to encourage them. Though not intended as history, they are historical in the respect that they narrate actual occurrences in camp, on the march, and in the battle...

By: Joseph Lievesley Beeston

Five Months at Anzac by Joseph Lievesley Beeston Five Months at Anzac

A Narrative of Personal Experiences of the Officer Commanding the 4th Field Ambulance, Australian Imperial Force from his leaving Australia December 1914 till his evacuation due to illness after 5 months at Gallipoli. Read to remember those who were there. (Introduction by Annise)

By: Joseph Plumb Martin (1760-1850)

A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier by Joseph Plumb Martin A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier

Joining the Continental Army as a teenager, Joseph Plumb Martin spent the next eight years fighting in the Revolutionary War as an enlisted man. His memoirs tell in detail his experiences during that time...the bitter cold, hunger, loss of life, long marches, and fear of battle. He also includes tales of fishing, hunting, and other activities...including encounters with a "saucy miss". His narrative reveals much about American life at the time and is one of the fullest and best accounts of the Revolutionary War, presented from a private's point of view.The book has been later republished under the names Private Yankee Doodle and Memoir of a Revolutionary Soldier.

By: Joseph Smeaton Chase (1864-1923)

Book cover California Coast Trails

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

By: Kate John Finzi

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

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

By: Kate Percival

The Life and Amours of the Beautiful, Gay and Dashing Kate Percival, the Belle of the Delaware by Kate Percival The Life and Amours of the Beautiful, Gay and Dashing Kate Percival, the Belle of the Delaware

This surprisingly explicit sample of Victorian erotica follows the sexual awakening and subsequent adventures of its author, Kate Percival, the "belle of the Delaware." Content warning: this one is definitely NC-17 rated.

By: Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)

The Golden Age by Kenneth Grahame The Golden Age

If you've loved and cherished The Wind in The Willows, you'll be delighted to read The Golden Age. In this book of reminiscences by Kenneth Grahame, the much loved creator of Winnie The Pooh, readers are granted an insight into the writer's childhood. The opening lines of the Prologue provide a poignant reminder of Grahame's childhood. When he was just five, his mother died in childbirth and his father who had a long standing problem with alcoholism consigned his four children, including the newborn baby, to the care of their grandmother in Berkshire...

By: Ki no Tsurayuki (872-945)

The Tosa Diary by Ki no Tsurayuki The Tosa Diary

Ki no Tsurayuki was a Japanese waka poet of the Heian period. In 905, he was one of the poets ordered to compile the "Kokinshu - Collected Japanese Poems of Ancient and Modern Times". He is also one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals of Japan. The Tosa Diary, written in 935, is considered the major work of Tsurayuki. It is an account of his return to the capital Kyoto from Tosa province, where he had served as governor since 930. The journey is by boat, and Tsurayuki tells about his sea sickness and fear of pirates, his impressions of the coast, and the various offerings to placate the gods of the sea...

By: L. A. Abbott (1813-??)

Seven Wives and Seven Prisons by L. A. Abbott Seven Wives and Seven Prisons

This work the author claims is indeed a true story of how he happened to be married seven times to seven different women and the rollicking, hilarious events that led (or stumbled) to the marriages and the ah–disassembling/failing/failures of each said marriage which happened oftentimes to land him in prison. The summarist finds the work a very tongue-in-cheek diatribe/lament/account of his obsessive zeal in ‘marrying the right one’, but is also the mirthful chronicle of said author’s very unconventional adventures.

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: Lady Sarah Wilson (1865-1929)

South African Memories by Lady Sarah Wilson South African Memories

Lady Sarah Isabella Augusta Wilson was the aunt of Winston Spencer Churchill. In 1899 she became the first woman war correspondent when she was recruited to cover the Siege of Mafeking for the Daily Mail during the Boer War. She moved to Mafeking with her husband at the start of the war, where he was aide-de-camp to Colonel Robert Baden-Powell. Baden-Powell asked her to leave Mafeking for her own safety after the Boers threatened to storm the British garrison. This she duly did, and set off on a...

By: Lavinia Honeyman Porter

By Ox Team to California - A Narrative of Crossing the Plains in 1860 by Lavinia Honeyman Porter By Ox Team to California - A Narrative of Crossing the Plains in 1860

Imagine a young, twenty-something woman in 1860, reared “in the indolent life of the ordinary Southern girl” (which means she has never learned to cook); married to a professional man who knows “nothing of manual labor;” who is mother to a young son; and who has just found out she is pregnant with their second child. Imagine that this couple has become “embarrassed financially” by “imprudent speculations,” and that they are discussing what to do. They decide to buy a wagon and three yoke of unbroke oxen and head overland to California...

By: Leander Stillwell (1843-1934)

The Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865 by Leander Stillwell The Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865

Leander Stillwell was an 18-year-old Illinois farm boy, living with his family in a log cabin, when the U.S. Civil War broke out. Stillwell felt a duty “to help save the Nation;” but, as with many other young men, his Patriotism was tinged with bravura: “the idea of staying at home and turning over senseless clods on the farm with the cannon thundering so close at hand . . . was simply intolerable.” Stillwell volunteered for the 61st Illinois Infantry in January 1861. His youthful enthusiasm for the soldier’s life was soon tempered at Shiloh, where he first “saw a gun fired in anger,” and “saw a man die a violent death...

By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

Childhood (English trans.) by Leo Tolstoy Childhood (English trans.)

Childhood, published in 1852, is the first novel in Leo Tolstoy’s autobiographical trilogy, which also includes Boyhood, and Youth. Published when Tolstoy was twenty-three, the book gained immediate notice among Russian writers including Ivan Turgenev, and heralded the young Tolstoy as a major figure in Russian letters. Childhood is an expressionist exploration of the internal life of a young boy, Nikolenka, and was a new form in Russian writing, mixing fact, fiction and emotions to render the moods and reactions of the narrator. Childhood is Tolstoy’s first published work. Translated into English by C. J. Hogarth.

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)

Book cover My Confession

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

By: Leonid Nikolayevich Andreyev (1871-1919)

Book cover Man Who Found the Truth

An old man, accused of having murdered his family as a young man, spends a lifetime in prison. With brilliant psychological insight so characteristic of Leonid Andreyev's work, we follow this man telling his story about his obsession with truth and lies and his religion of the iron grate, tinged with madness, and not necessarily reliable..

By: Lord Thomas Cochrane (1775-1860)

Autobiography of a Seaman, Vol. 1 by Lord Thomas Cochrane Autobiography of a Seaman, Vol. 1

This two volume work is the autobiography of Lord Cochrane, a naval captain of the Napoleonic period. His adventures are seminal to the development of naval fiction as a genre. Marryat sailed with Cochrane, while later writers borrowed incidents from this biography for their fictions. Most notable among these is Patrick O'Brian, three of whose novels have clear parallels to incidents in the life of Cochrane. This first volume covers Cochrane's earlier life, during which he is most active militarily. (Introduction by Timothy Ferguson)

By: Louis Hughes (1832-1913)

Thirty Years A Slave by Louis Hughes Thirty Years A Slave

Louis Hughes was born a slave near Charlottesville, Virginia to a white father and a black slave woman. Throughout his life he worked mostly as a house servant, but was privy to the intimate details and workings of the entire McGee cotton plantation and empire.In Thirty Years A Slave Hughes provides vivid descriptions and explicit accounts of how the McGee plantation in Mississippi, and the McGee mansion in Tennessee functioned--accounts of the lives of the many slaves that lived, suffered and sometimes died under the cruel and unusual punishments meted out by Boss and his monstrously unstable and vindictive wife...

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: Lucy Ann Delaney (c. 1830-?)

Book cover From the Darkness Cometh the Light, or Struggles for Freedom

In From the Darkness Cometh the Light, or Struggles for Freedom Delaney tells the story of how she was born into slavery of her mother--a freeborn black woman who had been kidnapped and sold on the blocks--but escaped while a teenager and eventually sued in court for her freedom. After the Civil War, Delaney spent the rest of her life inspiring other African Americans to take advantage of the new opportunities available to them as a result of their new found freedom, and to constantly strive to improve their lives and the lives of their progeny

By: Lucy Leavenworth Wilder Morris (1865-1935)

Book cover Old Rail Fence Corners

Old Rail Fence Corners is an historical treasure trove containing the stories of the first significant waves of European-American settlers in the now state of Minnesota (United States of America). This book has direct accounts of mid-19th century lives and experiences on the frontier, recounted by the frontiersmen and women when many of them were in their mid-90s. A group of volunteer women -- the Book Committee -- sought to record these recollections before they were lost with the passing of these remarkable adventurers...

By: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Selected Letters of Beethoven by Ludwig van Beethoven Selected Letters of Beethoven

A selection of Beethoven’s letters from the compilation by Dr. Ludwig Nohl and translated by Lady Grace Wallace.

By: Margaret Fuller (1810-1850)

Woman in the Nineteenth Century and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition, and Duties of Women by Margaret Fuller Woman in the Nineteenth Century and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition, and Duties of Women

Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was an American feminist, writer, and intellectual associated with the Transcendentalist movement. Her book Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845) is considered the first major feminist work in the United States. Her life was short but full. She became the first editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial in 1840, before joining the staff of the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley in 1844. By the time she was in her 30s, Fuller had earned a reputation as the best-read person in New England, male or female, and became the first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard College...


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