Affiliate links. Books listed as free were free when I checked. Sometimes that changes.
A History of Rome to 565 A. D. Kindle Edition
by Arthur Edward Romilly Boak
Detailed, play by play, ruler by ruler, vanquished people by vanquished people account of development of the Rome that eventually fell. Excellent.
Confessions of a prayer slacker
Kristy’s Rainy Day Picnic, by Olive Thorne Miller
Excerpt: “I think it’s just horrid!” said Kristy, standing before the window, peering out into a world of drizzling rain. “Every single thing is ready and every girl promised to come, and now it has to go and rain; ’n’ I believe it’ll rain a week, anyway!” she added as a stronger gust dashed the drops against the glass.
Kristy’s mother, who was sitting at her sewing-table at work, did not speak at once, and Kristy burst out again:—
“I wish it would never rain another drop; it’s always spoiling things!”
“Kristy,” said her mother quietly, “you remind me of a girl I knew when I was young.”
“What about her?” asked Kristy rather sulkily.
“Why, she had a disappointment something like yours, only it wasn’t the weather, but her own carelessness, that caused it. She cried and made a great fuss about it, but before night she was very glad it had happened.”
“She must have been a very queer girl,” said Kristy.
“She was much such a girl as you, Kristy; and the reason she was glad was because her loss was the cause of her having a far greater pleasure.”
“Tell me about it,” said Kristy, interested at once, and leaving the window….”
Square Deal Sanderson, by Charles Alden Seltzer, an old fashioned western written when the west was still being ‘won’ or ‘stolen,’ depending on your perspective.
Kent Williams went to Lazette, and Sanderson spent the interval during his departure and return in visiting the cattlemen and settlers in the basin. The result of these visits was a sheaf of contracts for water, the charge based on acreage, that reposed in Sanderson’s pockets. According to the terms of the contracts signed by the residents of the basin, Sanderson was to furnish water within one year.
The length of time, Sanderson decided, would tell the story of his success or failure. If he failed he would lose nothing, because of having the contracts with the settlers, and if he won the contracts would be valid.
Sanderson was determined to win. When after an absence of a week Williams returned, to announce that he had made arrangements for the material necessary to make a “regular” start, and that he had hired men and teams to transport the material, Sanderson’s determination became grim. For Williams told him that he had “gone the limit,” which meant that every cent to Sanderson’s credit in the Lazette bank had been pledged to pay for the material the engineer had ordered.
“We’re going to rush things from now on,” Williams told Sanderson. “Next week we’ll need ten thousand dollars, at least.”
Sanderson went into the house and had a long talk with Mary Bransford. Coming out, he went to the corral, saddled Streak, and rode to Okar.
Shortly he was sitting at a desk opposite a little man who was the resident buyer for an eastern live-stock company.
“The Double A has three thousand head of cattle,” Sanderson told the little man. “They’ve had good grass and plenty of water. They’re fat, an’ are good beef cattle. Thirty-three dollars is the market price. What will you give for them, delivered to your corral here?”
The Way of Peace, James Allen. REader Review: James Allen has written another timeless, insightful book for us to live our lives. I find his work is an easy read with such practical pieces of advice that everyone can benefit from. I find it difficult to imagine that his powerful words were written over a century ago – a true pioneer of self-help and personal development. A winner!
The Reign of Law; A Tale of the Kentucky Hemp Fields, also be James Allen Random excerpt; A marvel of nature, terrible, beautiful, met his eyes: ice-rain and a great frost Cloud, heavy still, but thinner than on the day before, enwrapped the earth. The sun, descending through this translucent roof of gray, filled the air beneath with a radiance as of molten pearl; and in this under-atmosphere of pearl all earthly things were tipped and hung in silver. Tree, bush, and shrub in the yard below, the rose clambering the pillars of the porch under his window, the scant ivy lower down on the house wall, the stiff little junipers, every blade of grass—all encased in silver. The ruined cedars trailed from sparlike tops their sweeping sails of incrusted emerald and silver. Along the eaves, like a row of inverted spears of unequal lengths, hung the argent icicles. No; not spun silver all this, but glass; all things buried, not under a tide of liquid silver, but of flowing and then cooling glass: Nature for once turned into a glass house, fixed in a brittle mass, nowhere bending or swaying; but if handled roughly, sure to be shivered.
The ground under every tree in the yard was strewn with boughs; what must be the ruin of the woods whence the noises had reached him in the night? Looking out of his window now, he could see enough to let him understand the havoc, the wreckage.
He went at once to the stable for the feeding and found everything strangely quiet—the stilling influence of a great frost on animal life. There had been excitement and uneasiness enough during the night; now ensued the reaction, for man is but one of the many animals with nerves and moods. A catastrophe like this which covers with ice the earth—grass, winter edible twig and leaf, roots and nuts for the brute kind that turns the soil with the nose, such putting of all food whatsoever out of reach of mouth or hoof or snout—brings these creatures face to face with the possibility of starving: they know it and are silent with apprehension of their peril; know it perhaps by the survival of prehistoric memories reverberating as instinct still. And there is another possible prong of truth to this repression of their characteristic cries at such times of frost: then it was in ages past that the species which preyed on them grew most ravenous and far ranging. The silence of the modern stable in a way takes the place of that primeval silence which was a law of safety in the bleak fastnesses, hunted over by flesh eating prowlers. It is the prudent noiselessness of many a species to-day, as the deer and the moose.
REading Review: This book is commonly sold on a certain auction site by highlighting the subject matter of hemp (aka marijuana). This book is NOT about turn of the century drug culture.
The protagonist of this story is a young man attending a religious college, questioning the values and morals that he was raised with, and learning about love and life in the process. James Lane Allen, who wrote other novels with Kentucky settings, chose to use the cycle of hemp crops to parallel human growth – neither the first nor last author to use such an analogy. At the time, hemp was an important source of fiber and the plant was grown commercially for that use, and Kentucky was the largest producing state. Hemp was an agricultural product like cotton or corn.
The book aroused some readers’ ire due to its controversial topic – the questioning of religious doctrine by a young college student. The story now is somewhat dated; that is in fact part of its charm. We gain a glimpse of the beliefs and mores of Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the changes that would soon contribute to the first World War.
The first chapter does discuss the history of hemp agriculture in the United States and Kentucky, but that is not the thrust of the book in any way.
The Franco-German War of 1870-71
by Helmuth Moltke (Author), Archibald Forbes, translator
From the introduction;
Field-Marshal von Moltke began this history of the War of 1870—1 in the spring of the year 1887, and during his residence at Creisau he worked at it for about three hours every morning. On his return to Berlin in the autumn of that year, the work was not quite finished, but he completed it by January, 1888, at Berlin, placed it in my hands, and never again alluded to the subject.
The origin of the book was as follows. I had several times entreated him, but in vain, to make use of his leisure hours at Creisau in noting down some of his rich store of reminiscences. He always objected, in the same words: “Everything official that I have had occasion to write, or that is worth remembering, is to be seen in the Archives of the Staff Corps. My personal experiences had better be buried with me.” He had a dislike to memoirs in general, which he was at no pains to conceal, saying that they only served to gratify the writer’s vanity, and often contributed to distort important historical events by the subjective views of an individual, and the intrusion of trivial details. It might easily happen that a particular character which in history stood forth in noble simplicity should be hideously disfigured by the narrative of some personal experiences, and the ideal halo which had surrounded it be destroyed. And highly characteristic of Moltke’s magnanimity are the words he once uttered on such an occasion, and which I noted at the time: “Whatever is published in a military history is always dressed for effect: yet it is a duty of piety and patriotism never to impair the prestige which identifies the glory of our Army with personages of lofty position.”[vi]
Not long after our arrival at Creisau, early in 1887, I repeated my suggestion. In reply to my request that he would write an account of the Campaign of 1870—1, he said: “You have the official history of the war. That contains everything. I admit,” he added, “that it is too full of detail for the general type of readers, and far too technical. An abridgment must be made some day.” I asked him whether he would allow me to lay the work on his table, and next morning he began the narrative contained in this volume, and comparing it as he went on with the official history, carried it through to the end.
The Green Door
by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman
I downloaded this one.
Letitia lived in the same house where her grandmother and her great-grandmother had lived and died. Her own parents died when she was very young, and she had come there to live with her Great-aunt Peggy. Her Great-aunt Peggy was her grandfather’s sister, and was a very old woman. However, she was very active and bright, and good company for Letitia. That was fortunate, because there were no little girls of Letitia’s age nearer than a mile. The one maid-servant whom Aunt Peggy kept was older than she, and had chronic rheumatism in the right foot and left shoulder-blade, which affected her temper.
Letitia’s Great-aunt Peggy used to play grace-hoops with her, and dominoes and checkers, and even dolls. Sometimes it was hard for Letitia to realize that she was not another little girl. Her Aunt Peggy was very kind to her and fond of her, and took care of her as well as her own mother could have done. Letitia had all the care and comforts and pleasant society that she really needed, but she was not a very contented little girl. She was naturally rather idle, and her Aunt Peggy, who was a wise old woman and believed thoroughly in the proverb about Satan and idle hands, would keep her always busy at something.
If she were not playing, she had to sew or study or dust, or read a stent in a story-book. Letitia had very nice story-books, but she was not particularly fond of reading. She liked best of anything to sit quite idle, and plan what she would like to do if she could have her wish—and that her Aunt Peggy would not allow.
Louis Agassiz: His Life and Correspondence
by Louis Agassiz (Author), Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz
When this was published, Harper’s Magazine gave it a wonderful review, saying readers:
…” will find it a romance full of the high joy of achievement of youth, brilliant, vivid, glad with utter selfforgetfulness, kept beyond gray hair and fading eyes to the very moment of death, in other words the story of a man born poor in money but incalculably rich in the impulse to know and to use knowledge to the highest end, and so happily framed that he could always prefer his object to himself could attain his results without apparently leaving upon them any stain of egotism. This simplicity, this purity of motive, won not only brains and pockets to his service wherever he went, but all hearts. People saw that the sole aim he had in view was the truth, and that he was not pursuing it for his own sake but for any other sake sooner. The secret of his success, which is the only sure and sovereign formula for the finest success, has been open from the beginning of time but it has rarely been able to commend itself so attractively to the young imagination as in Agassiz’s life. It has had so often to insist upon itself in spite of neglect, of obloquy, of martyrdom, but here it is the talisman of unbroken prosperity. We do not mean that Agassiz had not his early struggles and renunciations, the son of a poor Swiss pasteur sensitively conscious that his home was cramped to open his path through the schools could not be without these, but wide recognition came to him very early.
“To do all the good you can to your fellow beings, to have a pure conscience, to gain an honorable livelihood, to procure for yourself by work a little ease to make those around you happy, that is true happiness, all the rest but mere accessories and chimeras,” his mother tenderly, warningly, wrote him when at twenty-one his thoughts began to turn from the profession for which he was fitting himself to the science that afterward engrossed his life, and he answered, “I wish it may be said of Louis Agassiz that he was the first naturalist of his time, a good citizen, and a good son, beloved of all who knew him.
A year later the value of his first work on fishes was acknowledged by Cuvier, and hard upon this came the cordial acclaim of Humboldt who formed for the young naturalist an affection which strengthened through all his remaining years.
….After Agassiz came to America his life was no longer a romance, it was a fairy tale whose incidents are known to all of us, for Agassiz, through his hold upon the sympathies and imaginations of men, became a public man here as politicians and soldiers and divines are public men, but scientists never before…..” (there’s more in this vein)
For 2.99 you can get a kindle version of John Hudson Tiner’s biography of Agassiz, The Ghost Lake — The True Story of Louis Agassiz
Description: Louis Agassiz convinced a reluctant scientific community that glaciers moved and that a great Ice Age had once existed. In one of his most stirring public speeches he said, “Many years ago a long winter settled over a land previously covered with rich vegetation, where great beasts like those found in India and Africa freely roamed. Death entered with its terrors. With one blow of its violent hand it destroyed a mighty creation and wrapped all nature in a shroud of ice.”
Even when he was very young, Louis Agassiz was fascinated by the world of nature. All creatures interested him. He quickly learned the unique features of the fish and animals around his home in Switzerland. He eagerly explored to learn more.
In the 1800s, naturalists and scientists were not highly regarded by ordinary folks. His father believed it better for him to remain a farmer or become a bookkeeper or doctor. Young Agassiz had a dream to study nature. He did not give up easily. With the help of his sisters, he was able to attend the University of Heidelberg to work on a medical degree.
Along with his medical studies, Louis learned all he could about animals, plants, and fossils. He found fossils especially fascinating. He soon became well known for his great knowledge of science. A devout Christian, he was relentless in his quest for knowledge.”
He was really a very remarkable and influential man and we all should know more about him.
Free: Louis Agassiz as a Teacher; illustrative extracts on his method of instruction
The Bright Face of Danger….
Whether I loved or not, I was certainly capable of jealousy; and jealousy of the fiercest arose at the name of Brignan de Brignan. I had never seen him; but she had mentioned him to me before, too many times indeed for me to hear his name now with composure. He was a young gentleman of the King’s Guard, of whom, by reason of a distant relationship, her family had seen much during a residence of several months in Paris.
“Brignan de Brignan,” I echoed. “Yes, I dare say he has looked more into the faces of women than into books.”
“And more into the face of danger than into either. That’s what has made him the man he is.”
“Tut!” I cried, waving my Plutarch; “there’s more manly action in this book than a thousand Brignans could perform in all their lives—more danger encountered.”
“An old woman might read it for all that. Would it make her manly? Well, Monsieur Henri, if you choose to encounter danger only in books, there’s nobody to complain. But you shouldn’t show malice toward those who prefer to meet it in the wars or on the road.”
“Malice? Not I. What is Brignan de Brignan to me? You may say what you please—this Plutarch is as good a school of heroism as any officer of the King’s Guard ever went to.”
“Yet the officers of the King’s Guard aren’t pale, moping fellows like you lovers of books. Ah, Monsieur Henri, if you mean to be a monk, well and good. But otherwise, do you know what would change your complexion for the better? A lively brush with real dangers on the field, or in Paris, or anywhere away from your home and your father’s protection. That would bring colour into your cheeks.”
“You may let my cheeks alone, Mademoiselle.”
“You may be sure I will do that.”
“I’m quite satisfied with my complexion, and I wouldn’t exchange it for that of Brignan de Brignan. I dare say his face is red enough.”
“Yes, a most manly colour. And his broad shoulders—and powerful arms—and fine bold eyes—ah! there is the picture of a hero—and his superb moustaches—”
Now I was at the time not strong in respect of moustaches. I was extremely sensitive upon the point. My frame, though not above middle size, was yet capable of robust development, my paleness was not beyond remedy, and my eyes were of a pleasant blue, so there was little to rankle in what she said of my rival’s face and body; but as to the moustaches——!
I scrambled to my feet.
“I tell you what it is, Mademoiselle. Just to show what your Brignan really amounts to, and whether I mean to be a monk, and what a reader of books can do when he likes, I have made up my mind to go to Paris; and there I will find your Brignan, and show my scorn of such an illiterate bravo, and cut off his famous moustaches, and bring them back to you for proof! So adieu, Mademoiselle, for this is the last you will see of me till what I have said is done!”
The thing had come into my head in one hot moment, indeed it formed itself as I spoke it; and so I, the quiet and studious, stood committed to an act which the most harebrained brawler in Anjou would have deemed childish folly. Truly, I did lack knowledge of the world.
(he sets off for Paris, and before leaving a man connected with his house, a steward or something, gives him the following advice:
1. “Never undertake a thing unless you can see your way to the end of it.”
2. “Never sleep in a house where the master is old and the wife young.”
3. “Never leave a highway for a byway.“)
It does look like an entertaining read.