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Month: June 2018

A Short History of England

A Short History of England by G. K. Chesterton

A Short History of England by G. K. Chesterton

“But it is especially in the matter of the Middle Ages that the popular histories trample upon the popular traditions. In this respect there is an almost comic contrast between the general information provided about England in the last two or three centuries, in which its present industrial system was being built up, and the general information given about the preceding centuries, which we call broadly mediaeval. “

As this quotation taken from the Introduction clearly shows, he is no mere pedant reciting dry dates and locations, but a profound thinker flooding new light onto those modern “myths” that have filled our histories. He is a master of paradox, and the technique of reducing his opponents arguments to the logical absurdity they have inherent in them. He often turns them upside down. All of which makes his work both a sound subject for reflection and highly entertaining all the while it remains permanently timely.

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The Backwoods of Canada

The Backwoods of Canada by Catherine Parr Traill

The Backwoods of Canada by Catherine Parr Traill

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fill up the void left by the absence of those lighter feminine accomplishments, the practice of which are necessarily superseded by imperative domestic duties. To the person who is capable of looking abroad into the beauties of nature, and adoring the Creator through his glorious works, are opened stores of unmixed pleasure, which will not permit her to be dull or unhappy in the loneliest part of our Western Wilderness. The writer of these pages speaks from experience, and would be pleased to find that the simple sources from which she has herself drawn pleasure, have cheered the solitude of future female sojourners in the backwoods of Canada. (Summary from book introduction)

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North Lancashire

North Lancashire by John Edward Marr

North Lancashire by John Edward Marr

Cambridge County Geographies was a 75 volume series covering the counties of England, Scotland and Wales. Separate volumes were produced for Lancashire north and south of the River Ribble. J. E. Marr’s volume on North Lancashire covers a geographically diverse region, including Furness and the Lake District west of Lake Windermere that now spans Lancashire and Cumbria. As much a history, guidebook and gazetteer as it is a geography, Marr’s volume paints a rich and in places idyllic picture of the northern parts of the county in the years before the first world war.

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The City That Was

The City That Was by Will Irwin

The City That Was by Will Irwin

As all but Martians know (and who knows, perhaps even they), the city of San Francisco, California, was destroyed by massive earthquake and unquenchable fire in April, 1906. Will Irwin was a sometime San Franciscan who was then living in New York. He wrote a piece for the newspaper The Sun on April 21st, remembering and describing he city that was no more. He called it The City That Was. Four years later he returned to San Francisco and, amazed at the rebuilding, wrote a second piece for The San Francisco Call which he entitled The City That Is. The first endeavor became famous and was frequently reprinted; it made the reputation of Irwin as a reporter.

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