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Winchester

Winchester by Sidney Heath

Winchester by Sidney Heath

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Loafing Along Death Valley Trails

Loafing Along Death Valley Trails by William Alexander Caruthers

Loafing Along Death Valley Trails by William Alexander Caruthers

William Caruthers was a retired newspaperman who spent 25 years listening to stories told by the inhabitants of Death Valley. This 1951 book collects those stories; the printed version has many interesting pictures. ”Of the actors who made the history of the period, few remain. It was the writer’s good fortune that many of these men were his friends. It is the romance, the comedy, the often stark tragedy these men left along the trail which you will find in the pages that follow.”

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An Excursion to the Lakes in Westmoreland and Cumberland, August 1773

An Excursion to the Lakes in Westmoreland and Cumberland, August 1773 by William Hutchinson

An Excursion to the Lakes in Westmoreland and Cumberland, August 1773 by William Hutchinson

In the summer of 1773, lawyer and antiquarian William Hutchinson set out from his home in County Durham on a tour of the English Lake District. Accompanied by his brother, George Allan, he travelled by horseback from Bowes to Penrith and Keswick, down through Grasmere and Ambleside to Kendal, and back via Kirkby Stephen to County Durham. When he returned home he wrote what may be the first guidebook to the Lakes. Written in a pre-Romantic era when English writers were just beginning to discover the delights of the scenic view, Hutchinson’s account vividly describes a district that would soon be the haunt of literary giants such as Wordsworth, Southey, Matthew Arnold and Harriett Martineau.

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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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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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The National Geographic Magazine – Volume 8, No. 4

The National Geographic Magazine - Volume 8, No. 4

The National Geographic Magazine – Volume 8, No. 4

The National Geographic Magazine, an illustrated monthly, the April Number.

It includes the following articles:

A Summer Voyage to the Arctic, by G. R. Putnam
The Area and Drainage Basin of Lake Superior, by Mark W. Harrington
The Siberian Transcontinental Railroad, by Gen. A. W. Greely
Geographic Literature and Serials

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Carpenter’s Geographical Reader – Africa

Carpenter's Geographical Reader - Africa by Frank G. Carpenter

Carpenter's Geographical Reader – Africa by Frank G. Carpenter

Fascinating book for all ages telling of travels through Africa over 100 years ago. Covering the continent by steamer and train and other more primitive means of transport, the reader will enjoy learning of African life long before knowledge of this continent was available to most people throughout the world.

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A Cruising Voyage Around the World

A Cruising Voyage Around the World by Woodes Rogers

A Cruising Voyage Around the World by Woodes Rogers

First to the South-seas, Thence to the East-Indies, and Homewards by the Cape of Good Hope. Begun in 1708, and Finish’d in 1711. Containing a Journal of All the Remarkable Transactions; Particularly, of the Taking of Puna and Guiaquil, of the Acapulco Ship, and Other Prizes; an Account of Alexander Selkirk’s Living Alone Four Years and Four Months in an Island; and a Brief Description of Several Countries in Our Course Noted for Trade, Especially in the South-sea. With Maps of All the Coast, from the Best Spanish Manuscript Draughts. And an Introduction Relating to the South-sea Trade. (Woodes Rogers)

The story of the first privateer and his adventures; including the account of Alexander Selkirk’s living alone on an island off Chile which formed the background to Robinson Crusoe.

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The South Pole

The South Pole by Roald Amundsen

The South Pole by Roald Amundsen

In contrast to Scott’s South Pole expedition, Amundsen’s expedition benefited from good equipment, appropriate clothing, and a fundamentally different primary task (Amundsen did no surveying on his route south and is known to have taken only two photographs) Amundsen had a better understanding of dogs and their handling, and he used of skis more effectively. He pioneered an entirely new route to the Pole and they returned. In Amundsen’s own words: “Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.” Short accounts by other members of the party are appended.

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Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life

Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life by Lafcadio Hearn

Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life by Lafcadio Hearn

In an introductory paragraph, Lafcadio Hearn declares his intention: “The papers composing this volume treat of the inner rather than of the outer life of Japan, for which reason they have been grouped under the title Kokoro (heart). Written with the above character, this word signifies also mind, in the emotional sense; spirit; courage; resolve; sentiment; affection; and inner meaning, just as we say in English, “the heart of things.”” The result is a highly eclectic collection of stories, diary entries, cultural essays, and collected traditional texts that illustrate not only the state of Japanese society in the 1890s but also the endlessly fascinating issue of the intersection of cultures as demonstrated in a Westerner’s interpretations of what he observed in Japan. As much is revealed about the Western mind as the Japanese mind whenever such an intersection occurs.

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