Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by famous orator and ex-slave, Frederick Douglass. It is generally held to be the most famous of a number of narratives written by former slaves during the same period. In factual detail, the text describes the events of his life and is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th Century in the United States.
Browne, E. Gordon
This book is about the life of Queen Victoria (1819 to 1901). All nine of her children married into the royal houses of Europe. She became the longest reigning monarch and more. This book is a fascinating read about the woman behind the British Empire.
Roughing It is semi-autobiographical travel literature written by American humorist Mark Twain. It was authored during 1870–71 and published in 1872 as a sequel to his first book Innocents Abroad. This book tells of Twain's adventures prior to his pleasure cruise related in Innocents Abroad.
Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain detailing his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War.
Franklin wrote his autobiography in the form of an extended letter to his son. While recording the events of his life, he adds instructions for good living which makes this work America’s first “How to Succeed” book. (Summary by Gary)
Suetonius Tranquillus, Gaius
The Twelve Caesars is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman Empire. The work was written in 121 during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, while Suetonius was Hadrian's personal secretary. On the Life of the Caesars concentrates on the acts and personalities of the Julio-Claudians and their immediate successors. Together with Tacitus' Annals, this work is a major source for the historical details in Robert Graves' novels "I Claudius" and "Claudius the God". (Summary adapted from Wikipedia by Karen Merline.)
The Story of My Life is a personal account of Helen Keller's life, from her early days to those as an adult. It includes how she came to meet her teacher Ann Sullivan, and learnt to communicate using the manual alphabet. It then goes on to chronicle her days as a college student.
Barnum, P. T.
Phineas Taylor Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American showman, businessman, and entertainer, remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
His successes may have made him the first "show business" millionaire. Although Barnum was also an author, publisher, philanthropist, and for some time a politician, he said of himself, "I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me," and his personal aims were "to put money in his own coffers". (Reference: Wikipedia.org)
Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope, Fourth Earl of
Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, was at one time Ambassador to the Hague, negotiated the second Treaty of Vienna, was a founding governor of London’s Foundling Hospital, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and Secretary of State. Having no legitimate children, his heir was his third cousin (another Philip) whom he adopted. Although known as a hard, calculating man, he is most well known for his letters to his natural son (i.e., illegitimate son) (also called Philip). When Philip died in 1768, the letters are addressed to his grandchildren (Philip’s two sons, Charles, and, yes, Philip!). (Sibella Denton)
From the introduction:
“The proud Lord Chesterfield would have turned in his grave had he known that he was to go down to posterity as a teacher and preacher of the gospel of not grace, but—"the graces, the graces, the graces." Natural gifts, social status, open opportunities, and his ambition, all conspired to destine him for high statesmanship. If anything was lacking in his qualifications, he had the pluck and good sense to work hard and persistently until the deficiency was made up. Something remained lacking, and not all his consummate mastery of arts could conceal that conspicuous want,—the want of heart.
Teacher and preacher he assuredly is, and long will be, yet no thanks are his due from a posterity of the common people whom he so sublimely despised. His pious mission was not to raise the level of the multitude, but to lift a single individual upon a pedestal so high that his lowly origin should not betray itself. That individual was his, Lord Chesterfield's, illegitimate son, whose inferior blood should be given the true blue hue by concentrating upon him all the externals of aristocratic education.”
Dumas's 'Celebrated Crimes' was not written for children. The novelist has spared no language--has minced no words--to describe the violent scenes of a violent time.
In some instances facts appear distorted out of their true perspective, and in others the author makes unwarranted charges. The careful, mature reader, for whom the books are intended, will recognize, and allow for, this fact. (from publisher's note)
The first volume comprises the annals of the Borgias and the Cenci. The name of the noted and notorious Florentine family has become a synonym for intrigue and violence, and yet the Borgias have not been without stanch defenders in history.
Another famous Italian story is that of the Cenci. The beautiful Beatrice Cenci--celebrated in the painting of Guido, the sixteenth century romance of Guerrazi, and the poetic tragedy of Shelley, not to
mention numerous succeeding works inspired by her hapless fate—will always remain a shadowy figure and one of infinite pathos. (from Introduction)
Text of famous inspirational lecture and biography of Russell Conwell, a Baptist minister and Temple University Founder (Summary by Scott Dahlem)
This autobiography of Andrew Carnegie is a very well written and interesting history of one of the most wealthy men in the United states. He was born in Scotland in 1835 and emigrated to America in 1848. Among his many accomplishments and philanthropic works, he was an author, having written, besides this autobiography, Triumphant Democracy (1886; rev. ed. 1893), The Gospel of Wealth, a collection of essays (1900), The Empire of Business (1902), and Problems of To-day (1908)]. Although this autobiography was written in 1919, it was published posthumously in 1920. (Summary by William Tomcho)
The Education of Henry Adams records the struggle of Bostonian Henry Adams (1838-1918), in early old age, to come to terms with the dawning 20th century, so different from the world of his youth. It is also a sharp critique of 19th century educational theory and practice. In 1907, Adams began privately circulating copies of a limited edition printed at his own expense. Commercial publication had to await its author's 1918 death, whereupon it won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize. (Introduction by Wikipedia)
Shaw, Edward R.
Tales of the brave and daring explorers that ventured into the unknown "Sea of Darkness" where it was thought monsters and angry gods lived. They dared to sail near the equator which was thought to have such intense heat that it would boil the ocean water. It was also commonly thought at the time that the world was flat, and the ships would fall off the face of the earth. These men overcame these fears to explore and discover new lands. (Summary by Laura Caldwell)
The book chronicles the extraordinary life and leadership of Rome’s Emperor Julius Caesar, from his early years to his assassination. (Summary by Cathy Barratt)
Gordon, Irwin Leslie
A short, humorous biography of famous people from 5000 BC to 1914. -- S. McGaughey
From the Introduction, "The editor begs leave to inform the public that only persons who can produce proper evidence of their demise will be admitted to Who Was Who. Press Agent notices or complimentary comments are absolutely excluded, and those offering to pay for the insertion of names will be prosecuted. As persons become eligible they will be included without solicitation, while the pages will be expurgated of others should good luck warrant."
Rockefeller, John D.
A good book by the oil revolutionist of the 20th century. As they say "Men should listen to experience" and this book is all about the experience of the second highest taxpayer of the US during the 20's. Though it is not in the book, this is a small poem he wrote:
I was early taught to work as well as play,
My life has been one long, happy holiday;
Full of work and full of play-
I dropped the worry on the way-
And God was good to me everyday. (Summary by sidhu177)
The Autobiography of Charles Darwin is the autobiography of the British naturalist Charles Darwin which was published in 1887, five years after his death.
Darwin wrote the book, which he entitled Recollections of the Development of my Mind and Character, for his family. He states that he started writing it on about May 28, 1876 and had finished it by August 3.
The book was edited by Charles Darwin's son Francis Darwin, who removed several passages about Darwin's critical views of God and Christianity (see Charles Darwin's views on religion).
The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times, or Le Vite delle più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori, as it was originally known in Italian, is a series of artist biographies written by 16th century Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, which is considered "perhaps the most famous, and even today the most- read work of the older literature of art", "some of the Italian Renaissance's most influential writing on art", and "one of the founding texts in art history".
Vasari's work has been described as "by far the most influential single text for the history of Renaissance art" and "the most important work of Renaissance biography of artists". Its influence is situated mainly in three domains: as an example for contemporary and later biographers and art historians, as a defining factor in the view on the Renaissance and the role of Florence and Rome in it, and as a major source of information on the lives and works of early Italian artists.
This is the autobiography of Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave who bought her freedom with the money she earned as a seamstress. She eventually worked for Mary Lincoln. It is a fascinating book, filled with many recollections of her own life and her interactions with the Lincolns and other members of the government elite. (summary by Guero)
In his vital, illustrative and dynamic autobiography, Theodore Roosevelt let us into the life that formed one of the greatest and outspoken presidents in American history. Not only are we privy to the formation of his political ideals, but also to his love of the frontier and the great outdoors. (Summary from Bartleby.com)
Dyer, Frank Lewis
A detailed biography of Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of such things as the telephone, the microphone, the electric motor, the storage battery, and the electric light. In the words of the authors, "It is designed in these pages to bring the reader face to face with Edison; to glance at an interesting childhood and a youthful period marked by a capacity for doing things, and by an insatiable thirst for knowledge; then to accompany him into the great creative stretch of forty years, during which he has done so much. This book shows him plunged deeply into work for which he has always had an incredible capacity, reveals the exercise of his unsurpassed inventive ability, his keen reasoning powers, his tenacious memory, his fertility of resource; follows him through a series of innumerable experiments, conducted methodically, reaching out like rays of search-light into all the regions of science and nature, and finally exhibits him emerging triumphantly from countless difficulties bearing with him in new arts the fruits of victorious struggle." (written by Justin Barrett, with authors' quote taken from the work itself)
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.