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Month: September 2016

Myths and Legends of British North America

Myths and Legends of British North America by Katharine Berry Judson

Myths and Legends of British North America by Katharine Berry Judson

[The Native American] story tellers of the camp related, with dramatic gestures, stories of the Days of the Grandfathers, in the beginning of the Newness of Things. Nothing was too large or too small to come within the bounds of their beliefs, or within the play of their fancy. Only authentic myths and legends have been used in the compilation of this volume. The leading authorities are the publications of the United States Bureau of Ethnology, of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, of the Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History, as well as the ethnological publications of the Canadian Bureau of Mines. As in all other volumes of this series, only the quaint, the pure, and the beautiful, has been taken from the tales of the Indians. Any one wishing pure ethnology, good and bad together, would do better to go to ethnological reports. The material here is from these tribes: Haida, Eastern Eskimo, Bella Coola, Wyandot, Cree, Thompson River, Carrier, Shuswap, Lillooet, Ojibwa, Central Eskimo, Chicotin, Kwakiutl, Nicola Valley and Fraser River, Algonquin.

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California

California by Henry Vizetelly

California by Henry Vizetelly

Vizetelly, writing under the pseudonym J. Tyrwhitt Brooks, recalls an expedition to California he took between 1847-1848 . Originally, he planned to enlist as a surgeon for the US Army during the Mexican war, but conflicts had ended by the time he applied. In a quick change of plans, he joined a group of prospectors on their way to the newly found gold fields of California. While he might not find service in the military, his training as a physician made him a valuable addition to the ragtag team of explorers.

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Secret Chambers and Hiding Places

Secret Chambers and Hiding Places by Allan Fea

Secret Chambers and Hiding Places by Allan Fea

“Secret Chambers and Hiding Places” is a collection of concealments and their uses, almost all within England, although a very few passages and chambers in continental Europe are mentioned, Jacobite hidey holes in Scotland, while the final chapter of the book covers Bonnie Prince Charlie’s wanderings around Scotland, among caves and other hiding places. Most chapters are devoted to historical events; such as the the seventeenth century persecution of Roman Catholics (with many large houses having specially constructed “priests’ holes”), or various unpopular monarchs and their hiding places. The text is scattered with legends and true stories, with occasional skeletons found, still hiding, long centuries after the searchers have left. The author describes hidden doors, passages, rooms and pits with enormous enthusiasm … and with considerable regret when he has to describe secret places lost to demolition or modernization. You’ll wish you could wander the country, poking into the darkest recesses of every old house you find!

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American Notes

American Notes by Rudyard Kipling

American Notes by Rudyard Kipling

In American Notes, Rudyard Kipling, the Nobel Prize-winning author of the Jungle Book, visits the USA. As the travel-diary of an Anglo-Indian Imperialist visiting the USA, these American Notes offer an interesting view of America in the 1880s.

Kipling affects a wide-eyed innocence, and expresses astonishment at features of American life that differ from his own, not least the freedom (and attraction) of American women. However, he scorns the political machines that made a mockery of American democracy, and while exhibiting the racist attitudes that made him controversial in the 20th century concludes “It is not good to be a negro in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

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The Island Queen

The Island Queen by R. M. Ballantyne

The Island Queen by R. M. Ballantyne

The story of Dominic, Otto and Pauline Rigonda, three siblings who are blown onto an island after being shipwrecked, and are later joined by the immigrant passengers and crew of a ship that is wrecked on the same island. When the question of government comes up, the little colony chooses a queen, and they work on improving the island for some time, despite internal dissensions, and an attack by savages. But eventually the colony encounters natural forces it cannot resist, and the queen and her family return to England, hopefully to live “happily ever after”.

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Scott’s Last Expedition Volume I

Scott's Last Expedition Volume I by Robert Falcon Scott

Scott's Last Expedition Volume I by Robert Falcon Scott

Capt. Robert F. Scott’s bid to be the leader of the first expedition to reach the South Pole is one of the most famous journeys of all time. What started as a scientific expedition turned out to be an unwilling race against a team lead by R. Admunsen to reach the Pole. The Norwegian flag already stood at the end of the trail when Scott’s party reached their target. All the five men of the Scott expedition who took part in the last march to the Pole perished on their way back to safety.

Robert F. Scott kept a journal throughout the journey, all the way to the tragic end, documenting all aspects of the expedition. The famous last words of the journal were: ‘It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. For God’s sake look after our people.’

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American Scenery – Volume 2

American Scenery - Volume 2 by Nathaniel Parker Willis

American Scenery – Volume 2 by Nathaniel Parker Willis

Although the focus of this book is the engravings depicting scenic sites of 19th century America, each is accompanied by a short description of the site and location. These vignettes give us rare glimpses of scenic locations as they appeared in 1840. All sites are in the eastern part of the United States, especially New England and New York. This is Volume Two of a two-volume set.

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The Problem of China

The Problem of China by Bertrand Russell

The Problem of China by Bertrand Russell

In 1920-21 Bertrand Russell lived and taught in Peking (Beijing), publishing this book on his return to England. In 1920 he had visited Bolshevik Russia, talked to Lenin, and was unimpressed by what he had seen. China, however, was another matter. Like many travelers, he often saw what he wanted to see, and after Europe’s Great War, he found many signs of hope in China. In that country, he was welcomed by the young intellectuals who saw him as a representative of modern and scientific thought. They, however, were trying to cast off much of the old tradition that they thought held China back, and they were often opposed to Russell’s urging that they hold on to much of their own tradition, which he saw as superior to that of Europe, particularly after the terrible slaughter of 1914-18 on the continent. His work is very much a product of its time, and today, almost a century later, many are still trying to explain China — a very different China from Russell’s — to an outside world.

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Around the World in Seventy-Two Days

Around the World in Seventy-Two Days by Nellie Bly

Around the World in Seventy-Two Days by Nellie Bly

This is a true account by American woman journalist who, in 1889, set out to see whether she could beat the fictional journey in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel, Around the World in Eighty Days. Wearing one dress and carrying one handbag, Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman (pen name “Nellie Bly”), reported her travels back to avid readers in America.

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Bushido, the Soul of Japan

Bushido, the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe

Bushido, the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe

Bushido: The Soul of Japan written by Inazo Nitobe was one of the first books on samurai ethics that was originally written in English for a Western audience, and has been subsequently translated into many other languages (also Japanese). Nitobe found in Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, the sources of the virtues most admired by his people: rectitude, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty and self-control, and he uses his deep knowledge of Western culture to draw comparisons with Medieval Chivalry, Philosophy, and Christianity.

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