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Category: Travel Books (Page 1 of 46)

The Life of Cicero, Vol. 1

The Life of Cicero, Vol. 1 by Anthony Trollope

The Life of Cicero, Vol. 1 by Anthony Trollope

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43BC) was an orator, statesman, philosopher and prolific correspondent, who rose as a ‘new man’ in Rome in the turbulent last years of its republican government. Anthony Trollope, best known as a novelist, admired Cicero greatly and wrote this biography late in life in order to argue his virtues against authors who had granted him literary greatness but questioned his strength as a politician and as a man. He takes a personal approach, affording us an insight into his own mind and times as well as those of his subject.

Volume I covers the period (up to the year 57BC) of Cicero’s education, his rise through the courts and offices of state to the Consulship, and his exile.

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The Making of a Nation: The Beginning of Israel’s History

The Making of a Nation: The Beginning of Israel's History by Charles Foster Kent

The Making of a Nation: The Beginning of Israel's History by Charles Foster Kent

Charles Foster Kent was one of the premier scholars in Jewish Studies. He was particularly well-known for his comparisons of early Christianity to its Jewish roots. He also wrote several distinguished histories of Israel, the Jewish people, Torah studies, and the development of oral Torah.

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The Three Cities Trilogy – Lourdes

The Three Cities Trilogy - Lourdes by Émile Zola

The Three Cities Trilogy – Lourdes by Émile Zola

This book describes a five day national pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Lourdes, where miracle cures are hoped for. The central character is a priest, Pierre, whose faith is faltering. He is accompanying his childhood sweetheart who has been stricken with paralysis and whose faith is strong. In the background of the great irony of this relationship, there are numerous sub-plots, some tragic, some whimsical, involving a large number of characters, set in the midst of organised chaos in the pilgrimage site. Through Pierre’s mental and spiritual experiences Zola explores the role of religious faith in a society coming to terms with science and reason.

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The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, written in 1789, is the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano. It discusses his time spent in slavery, serving primarily on galleys, documents his attempts at becoming an independent man through his study of the Bible, and his eventual success in gaining his own freedom and in business thereafter. The book contains an interesting discussion of slavery in West Africa and illustrates how the experience differs from the dehumanizing slavery of the Americas. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano is also one of the first widely read slave narratives.

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The Story of Rolf and the Viking’s Bow

The Story of Rolf and the Viking's Bow by Allen French

The Story of Rolf and the Viking's Bow by Allen French

Rolf, a youth in early Christian Iceland, loses first his father, then his property, and finally his freedom to the schemes of a greedy neighbor. Outlawed from Iceland, Rolf travels abroad, meeting with shipwreck, enslavement, Viking berserkers, and many other dangers and adventures. All the while, Rolf searches for a way to prove his father was killed unjustly and win back his own property and freedom. Even more difficult, Rolf must end the cycle of enmity, vengeance, and pride that hangs like a curse over his family.

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The History of England – Volume 1 Part 1

The History of England - Volume 1 Part 1 by David Hume

The History of England – Volume 1 Part 1 by David Hume

David Hume is one of the great philosophers of the Western intellectual tradition. His philosophical writings earned him lasting fame and renown; his historical writing earned his bread and butter. His “The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution of 1688”, published between 1754 and 1764, was immensely popular and Hume wrote that “the copy-money given me by the booksellers much exceeded any thing formerly known in England; I was become not only independent, but opulent.” The six volume work has had numerous editions and is still in print today. David Hume and Thomas Babington Macaulay have frequently been compared as the premier English historians but we don’t have to choose because Macaulay begins where Hume leaves off.

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The English Governess at the Siamese Court

The English Governess at the Siamese Court by Anna Harriette Leonowens

The English Governess at the Siamese Court by Anna Harriette Leonowens

1862 Anna Leonowens accepted an offer made by the Siamese consul in Singapore, Tan Kim Ching, to teach the wives and children of Mongkut, king of Siam. The king wished to give his 39 wives and concubines and 82 children a modern Western education on scientific secular lines, which earlier missionaries’ wives had not provided. Leonowens sent her daughter Avis to school in England, and took her son Louis with her to Bangkok. She succeeded Dan Beach Bradley, an American missionary, as teacher to the Siamese court.

Leonowens served at court until 1867, a period of nearly six years, first as a teacher and later as language secretary for the king. Although her position carried great respect and even a degree of political influence, she did not find the terms and conditions of her employment to her satisfaction, and came to be regarded by the king himself as a rather difficult woman.

In 1868 Leonowens was on leave for her health in England and had been negotiating a return to the court on better terms when Mongkut fell ill and died. The king mentioned Leonowens and her son in his will, though they did not receive the legacy. The new monarch, fifteen-year-old Chulalongkorn, who succeeded his father, wrote Leonowens a warm letter of thanks for her services.

By 1869 Leonowens was in New York, and began contributing travel articles to a Boston journal, Atlantic Monthly, including ‘The Favorite of the Harem’, reviewed by the New York Times as ‘an Eastern love story, having apparently a strong basis of truth’.She expanded her articles into two volumes of memoirs, beginning with The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870), which earned her immediate fame but also brought charges of sensationalism. In her writing she casts a critical eye over court life; the account is not always a flattering one, and has become the subject of controversy in Thailand; she has also been accused of exaggerating her influence with the king.”

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Some Haunted Houses

Some Haunted Houses by Elliott O'Donnell

Some Haunted Houses by Elliott O'Donnell

Old buildings necessarily have a history. It is not always a happy history and folklore abounds. Sometimes unhappy souls come back to haunt the current residents or their guests. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these narratives provide a fascinating insight into the history of the buildings and the hysteria they may induce.

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