The Prince (Italian: Il Principe) is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. The descriptions within The Prince have the general theme of accepting that ends of princes, such as glory, and indeed survival, can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends.
Clausewitz, Carl von
A classic work on military strategy by a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars. The author's style is dialectical: he makes two strong but opposing statements and then draws them together to describe many facets of war. Free of technical jargon, and suitable for modern readers. This audiobook is based on a 1909 English translation.
Tocqueville, Alexis de
When Tocqueville visited America in the 1830s he found a thriving democracy of a kind he had not seen anywhere else. Many of his insightful observations American society and political system, found in the two volume book he published after his visit, still remain surprisingly relevant today.
Noli Me Tangere (Latin for Touch Me Not) is a novel by the National Hero of the Philippines, Dr. José Rizal. It was originally written in Spanish, and first published in Germany in 1887. Noli Me Tangere exposed the corruption and abuse of the Spanish government and clergy towards the Philippine people and the ills of the Philippine society. This novel, and its sequel El Filibusterismo were banned in many parts of the Islands. Rizal was later arrested for inciting rebellion, based largely on his writings, and was excuted in Manila. Noli Me Tangere, and the execution of Rizal, indirectly influenced the Philippine revolution from Spain. Today, Noli Me Tangere is required reading in all Philippine Schools.
Thoreau, Henry David
ivil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.
More, Thomas, Sir
This book is all about the fictional country called Utopia. It is a country with an ‘ideal’ form of communism, in which everything really does belong to everybody, everyone does the work they want to, and everyone is alright with that. This country uses gold for chamber pots and prison chains, pearls and diamonds for children’s playthings, and requires that a man and a woman see each other exactly as they are, naked, before getting married. This book gave the word 'utopia' the meaning of a perfect society, while the Greek word actually means ‘no place’. Enjoy listening to this story about a country that really is too good to be true.
The Art of War is a Chinese military treatise written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu. Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it has long been praised as the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time.
Inheritors, (1921) by American dramatist Susan Glaspell concerns the legacy of an idealistic farmer who wills his highly coveted midwest farmland to the establishment of a college (Act I.) Forty years later, when his granddaughter stands up for the rights of Hindu nationals to protest at the college her grandfather founded, she jeopardizes funding for the college itself and sets herself against her own uncle, president of the institution's trustees (Acts II and III.) Ultimately, she defies her family's wishes, and as a consequence is bound for prison herself (Act IV.) The play was a stirring defense of free speech and an individual's ability to stand for his or her own ideal during a time of aggressive anti-Communist politics in the US. Inheritors was first performed at Provincetown Playhouse in 1922, the last of Glaspell's plays presented there. It has been revived in New York City by Mirror Repertory in 1983 and Metropolitan Playhouse in 2005.
Bede, The Venerable
Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England is a work in Latin by Bede on the history of the Christian Churches in England, and of England generally; its main focus is on the conflict between Roman and Celtic Christianity. It is considered to be one of the most important original references on Anglo-Saxon history. It is believed to have been completed in 731, when Bede was approximately 59 years old. Divided into five books, it covers the history of England, ecclesiastical and political, from the time of Julius Caesar to the date of its completion (731).
The History of the English Church and People has a clear polemical and didactic purpose. Bede sets out, not just to tell the story of the English, but to advance his views on politics and religion. In political terms he is a partisan of his native Northumbria, amplifying its role in English history over and above that of Mercia, its great southern rival. While Bede is loyal to Northumbria, he shows an even greater attachment to the Irish and the Irish Celtic missionaries, whom he considers to be far more effective and dedicated than their rather complacent English counterparts. His final preoccupation is over the precise date of Easter, which he writes about at length. It is here, and only here, that he ventures some criticism of St Cuthbert and the Irish missionaries, who celebrated the event, according to Bede, at the wrong time. In the end he is pleased to note that the Irish Church was saved from error by accepting the correct date for Easter.
A dystopian novel about the terrible oppressions of an American oligarchy at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, and the struggles of a socialist revolutionary movement.
The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, and were ratified on December 15, 1791.
House, Edward M.
Philip Dru: Administrator: a Story of Tomorrow, 1920-1935 is a futuristic political novel published anonymously in 1912 by Edward Mandell House, an American diplomat, politician and presidential foreign policy advisor. His book's hero leads the democratic western U.S. in a civil war against the plutocratic East, and becomes the dictator of America. Dru as dictator imposes a series of reforms that resemble the Bull Moose platform of 1912 and then vanishes.
Also known simply as "1601", this is a humorously risque work by Mark Twain, first published anonymously in 1880, and finally acknowledged by the author in 1906.
The Prime Minister is the fifth in Trollope's series of six Palliser novels. With Phineas' difficulties resolved, Trollope introduces new characters. A respectable young girl forsakes the man her family had always intended her to marry when she falls in love with a man of foreign extraction and an unknown family. He has a gentleman's education and manners, but his family background and financial means are mysterious. Is he really a gentleman? Meanwhile, Plantagenet Palliser becomes Prime Minister of a shaky coalition government, and Glencora and Madame Goessler are busy with the ensuing social obligations.
Wells, H. G.
Wells considered this book one of his most important, a natural follow-up to such works as his Man of the Year Million and The Time Machine. His goal was to get people to think and act in new ways. The book starts with a look at how humans get along socially and how they carry out their business ventures. It then discusses how these elements influence others, such as politics, the world of work, and education. H. G. tried to make clear how the current social order was disintegrating without preparing another to take its place. He then traced the roots of democracy, which in its present state he saw as unworkable. Instead, he proposed a new republic. He also critiqued modern warfare.
Wells, H. G.
Ann Veronica was a controversial book detailing the development of a naive school girl into a "New Woman". When it was published, the Spectator described it as a "poisonous book ... capable of poisoning the minds of those who read it." Although it is unlikely to offend modern listeners in this way, this novel addresses many feminist issues that are still relevant today.
The Dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, in November, 1863, followed a few short months after the roiling, acrid clouds of gun smoke dissipated, leaving a little crossroads town in Pennsylvania heir to the human tragedy of over 7,000 corpses and 21,000 men suffering wounds. It was a most unnatural disaster.
On November 19, the chief executive made the trip to the still-dazed, shot-torn community to deliver, almost as an afterthought (for he was not the keynote speaker), an address that clarified his belief that the Negro race should be liberated from their slavery, and that despite the loss of so much blood and life, the Union should hold to the goal of completing this emancipation.
That he knew the eyes of the nation would rest of him was evident; this address was the first speech since his inauguration that he prepared in advance. But these carefully crafted words - only 269 of them - became a vital part of our nation's identity, and are a signature to the bedrock of our beliefs.
Common Sense, Paine's pro-independence monograph published anonymously on 10 January 1776, spread quickly among literate colonists. Within three months, 120,000 copies are alleged to have been distributed throughout the colonies, which themselves totaled only four million free inhabitants, making it the best-selling work in 18th-century America. Its total sales in both America and Europe reached 500,000 copies. It convinced many colonists, including George Washington and John Adams, to seek redress in political independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and argued strongly against any compromise short of independence.
Phineas Finn is the sequel to "Can you Forgive Her?" and the second novel in Trollope's Palliser series. The eponymous hero is a young Irishman who becomes a member of the English parliament. Trollope aspired to become an M.P. himself, and he ably describes the workings of the English political scene. There is also a love interest, as the somewhat inconstant Phineas courts three different women: his Irish sweetheart, Mary Flood Jones; Lady Laura Standish, the daughter of a prominent Whig politician; and a lovely heiress, Violet Effingham.
Lynch, John R.
After the American Civil War, John R. Lynch, who had been a slave in Mississippi, began his political career in 1869 by first becoming Justice of the Peace, and then Mississippi State Representative. He was only 26 when he was elected to the US Congress in 1873. There, he continued to be an activist, introducing many bills and arguing on their behalf. Perhaps his greatest effort was in the long debate supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to ban discrimination in public accommodations.
In 1884 Lynch was the first African American nominated after a moving speech by Theodore Roosevelt to the position of Temporary Chairman of the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. During the Spanish-American War of 1898, he was appointed Treasury Auditor and then Paymaster under the Republicans. In 1901, he began serving with the Regular Army with tours of duty in the United States, Cuba, and the Philippines.
Lynch retired from the Army in 1911, then married Cora Williams. They moved to Chicago, where he practiced law. He also became involved in real estate. After his death in Chicago 1939 at the age of 92, he was buried with military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. He was entitled to this as a Congressman and veteran.
After the turn of the centutry, Lynch wrote a book, The Facts of Reconstruction, and several articles criticizing the then-dominant Dunning School historiography. Dunning and followers had emphasized the views of former slave owners and routinely downplayed any positive contributions of African Americans during Reconstruction, as well as suggesting they could not manage any political power. Lynch argued that blacks had made substantial contributions during the period. Since he participated directly in Reconstruction-era governments, Lynch's book is considered a primary source in study of the period.
The Wit and Humor of America is a 10 volume series. In this, the second volume, 44 short stories and poems have been gathered from 31 authors. This volume is sure to delight listeners.
The Wit and Humor of America is a 10 volume series. In this, the third volume, 45 short stories and poems have been gathered from 33 authors. This volume is sure to delight listeners.
Much of the material in the following pages has appeared in current publications. It is here presented in book form in the hope that it may prove of value to those groups of people who in many cities are making a gallant effort to minimize the dangers which surround young people and to provide them with opportunities for recreation.
Courtenay, Calista McCabe
In this biography for young people, Calista McCabe Courtenay takes the reader from George Washington the surveyor to his early military career, first as a colonel in the Virgina militia and then as a member of General Braddock'a staff during the French and Indian War. He later commanded the Virginia forces before joining the First Continental Congress. Much of the book is devoted to his campaigns during the American Revolution. At the end, we see him as President for two terms.
The Wit and Humor of America is a 10 volume series. In this, the fourth volume, 40 short stories and poems have been gathered from 33 authors. This volume is sure to delight listeners.
Potts, Eugenia Dunlap
While claiming to be historical papers on the causes of the United States Civil War, the author indulges in some Slavery Apologetics. An interesting view from a southern lady on what caused the war and why the south was the underdog.
This satire on the U.S.A.'s myth of being the "Home of the Oppressed, where all men are free and equal", is unrelenting in its pursuit of justice through exposure. It draws a scathingly shameful portrait of how Chinese immigrants were treated in 19th century San Francisco.
Gilbert, W. S.
Volunteers bring you 26 recordings of The Disagreeable Man by Sir W. S. Gilbert. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for June 10, 2012.
The Bab Ballads are a collection of light verse by W. S. Gilbert, illustrated with his own comic drawings. Gilbert wrote the Ballads before he became famous for his comic opera librettos with Arthur Sullivan. In writing the Bab Ballads, Gilbert developed his unique "topsy-turvy" style, where the humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd. The Ballads also reveal Gilbert's cynical and satirical approach to humour. They became famous on their own, as well as being a source for plot elements, characters and songs that Gilbert would recycle in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The Bab Ballads take their name from Gilbert's childhood nickname, and he later began to sign his illustrations "Bab".
Nothing else quite like the Ballads has ever been produced in the English language. They contain both satire and nonsense, as well as a great deal of utter absurdity. The Ballads were read aloud at private dinner-parties, public banquets and even in the House of Lords. The ballads have been much published, and there are even recordings of readings of some of them.
United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
This is a concise yet thorough explanation of what might happen to our world in the aftermath of a nuclear war. The myriad of potential effects will be global and wide-spread.
This address was delivered shortly after Mr. Darrow's triumphant acquittal on a charge growing out of his defense of the McNamaras at Los Angeles, California. The man, the subject and the occasion makes it one of the greatest speeches of our time. It is the hope of the publishers that this message of Mr. Darrow's may reach the millions of men, women and youth of our country, that they may see the labor problem plainer and that they may receive hope and inspiration in their efforts to make a better and juster world.
Thurston, Katherine Cecil
The Masquerader is one of two Katherine Cecil Thurston’s books that appeared on the Publisher’s Weekly best-seekers list in 1905 (The other, The Gambler, is also in the Librivox collection). The Masquerader is part mystery, part romance and part political thriller – all tied up in one neat package. Nature has a way of sometimes making two people nearly indistinguishable in appearance. Such is the premise for this book. John Chilcote, a British politician, and John Loder, a man down on his luck meet by accident one night during one of London’s worst fogs. Chilcote, addicted to morphine, needs to escape his political responsibilities and presents an offer to Loder to exchange places occasionally. Loder, reluctant at first, finally accepts the proposal and finds he fits into Chilcote’s role – perhaps better than Chilcote himself. The exchanges become more frequent and lengthy. Loder, finding his way, discovers he is worthy of Chilcote’s position, especially during an international crisis, but when Chilcote reclaims his life, Loder’s accomplishments try to unravel. Two women are intimately involved in this story – one is Chilcote’s wife, Eve, who is a wife of convenience rather than love. The second is Lady Astrupp. We will say little about Lady Astrupp except that she adds a great deal of suspense to the story. In such a charade, things do not always go as expected. Does Chilcote break his drug habit? What becomes of Loder? Does Eve become suspicious as a wife might? Is the masquerade exposed by……but then I would be telling you more than you should know beforehand.
In What Prohibition Has Done to America, Fabian Franklin presents a concise but forceful argument against the Eighteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Beginning in 1920, this Amendment prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages in the United States, until it was repealed in 1933. Franklin contends that the Amendment "is not only a crime against the Constitution of the United States, and not only a crime against the whole spirit of our Federal system, but a crime against the first principles of rational government." Writing only two years after Prohibition began, he correctly predicts many of its disastrous consequences, such as runaway bootlegging and organized crime. The book is both a passionate defense of liberty, and a reminder to Americans of the perils of surrendering it.
Nonfiction. Appalled by the savagery of World War I, Owen Wister in 1915 published an attempt to move the United States out of neutrality into joining the Allies against Germany. His aim was the quicker defeat of that nation. (Wister: “the new Trinity of German worship – the Super-man, the Super-race, and the Super-state.”) He was but one of many literary personages who joined in this effort. A moving quote: “Perhaps nothing save calamity will teach us what Europe is thankful to have learned again – that some things are worse than war, and that you can pay too high a price for peace; but that you cannot pay too high for the finding and keeping of your own soul.”
Not until after his death in 1918 was it revealed that Henry Adams was the anonymous author of Democracy, which had been published to great acclaim in 1880. Though the book avoids dates and the characters are fictitious, the setting is no doubt that of Washington in the 1870s, the age of Presidents Grant and Hayes. The young widow, Madeleine Lee, wealthy and independent, is the protagonist, who leaves her New York for Washington to turn her intelligence to politics and to see what makes her country tick. There she meets (among others) Senator Silas P. Ratcliffe of Illinois, one of the most powerful and influential (if somewhat uncultured) men of the capital, who is considering a run for the presidency, and who needs a wife to act as First Lady, a position that (he thinks) Mrs. Lee would admirably fill.
Through the book Adams plays with the themes of political necessity, compromise, corruption -- particularly the kind of corporate domination of national politics that he saw becoming all too powerful. Should honest and intelligent men keep their integrity by avoiding politics? Or would that simply mean turning over the governance of the country to power-hungry, scheming, and none too honest hacks? For all the witty conversations in his novel, this was a theme that plagued Adams (a presidential grandson) in life as well as literature, and it is a theme that has by no means disappeared today.
Upton Sinclair is best known for his novel The Jungle, an expose of the meatpacking industry. He was also a playwright whose works for the stage reflected the same progressive viewpoints found in his other writing. In The Machine, published as part of Sinclair's 1912 collection Plays of Protest, Socialist activists show a rich man's daughter the truth about the society in which she has been raised.
Washington, Booker T.
Up From Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his slow and steady rise from a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an education at the new Hampton University, to his work establishing vocational schools—most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama—to help black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills and work to pull themselves, as a race, up by the bootstraps. He reflects on the generosity of both teachers and philanthropists who helped in educating blacks and native Americans. He describes his efforts to instill manners, breeding, health and a feeling of dignity to students.
In 1623, Francis Bacon expressed his aspirations and ideas in New Atlantis. Released in 1627, this was his creation of an ideal land where people were kind, knowledgeable, and civic-minded. Part of this new land was his perfect college, a vision for our modern research universities. Islands he had visited may have served as models for his ideas.
In this work, Kropotkin points out what he considers to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism, and how he believes they create poverty and scarcity while promoting privilege. He goes on to propose a more decentralised economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organisation already exist, both in evolution and in human society.
Originally published in 1873, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today is the only novel Twain co-wrote (C.D. Warner was a good friend and neighbor of the Clemens family in Hartford, and the collaboration sprang from their wive's challenge and encouragement). The title, "The Gilded Age" became synonymous with graft, materialism and corruption in public life, which are well represented in this work. Like others of his works, this one reflects truths about American Society that remain pertinent today. Many of the characters and incidents that occur in the Gilded Age had their real-life origins in Clemens relatives and history, a fact which he revealed in his newly published (2011) Autobiography.
“(T)he past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.”
Published originally as “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” this is not so much a work of sober political analysis; rather it can be summed up as a rhapsodic manifesto on behalf of the Individual. Socialism having deployed technology to liberate the whole of humanity from soul-destroying labour, the State obligingly withers away to allow the free development of a joyful, anarchic hedonism...
“Is this Utopian? A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.”
Far from abandoning the epigram in favour of the slogan, Wilde wittily assails several of his favourite targets: the misguided purveyors of philanthropy; life-denying ascetics of various kinds; the army of the half-educated who constitute themselves the enemies of Art - and those venal popular journalists who cater to them...
“Behind the barricade there may be much that is noble and heroic. But what is there behind the leading-article but prejudice, stupidity, cant, and twaddle?”
A prose tract or polemic by John Milton, published November 23, 1644, at the height of the English Civil War... Milton, though a supporter of the Parliament, argued forcefully against the Licensing Order of 1643, noting that such censorship had never been a part of classical Greek and Roman society. The tract is full of biblical and classical references which Milton uses to strengthen his argument. The issue was personal for Milton as he had suffered censorship himself in his efforts to publish several tracts defending divorce (a radical stance at the time and one which met with no favor from the censors)... Areopagitica is among history's most influential and impassioned philosophical defences of the principle of a right to free speech.
Shaw, George Bernard
George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara focuses on the family of aristocratic Lady Britomart Undershaft and her estranged husband Andrew, a millionaire armaments manufacturer. Their daughters Sarah and Barbara are both engaged to be married, and Lady Britomart decides to ask Andrew for monetary support. Barbara is a Major in the Salvation Army, and agrees to let her father visit the mission in the East End of London where she works. In exchange, she agrees to visit his munitions factory. The conflict between Barbara's philanthropic idealism and her father's hard-headed capitalism clash when he decides he wants to fund the Salvation Army. Shaw's comedy, as always, delves into political and social issues of the period, and provides a roster of finely- and humorously-drawn characters.
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was an American feminist, writer, and intellectual associated with the Transcendentalist movement. Her book Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845) is considered the first major feminist work in the United States. Her life was short but full. She became the first editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial in 1840, before joining the staff of the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley in 1844. By the time she was in her 30s, Fuller had earned a reputation as the best-read person in New England, male or female, and became the first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard College. Her seminal work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, was published in 1845. A year later, she was sent to Europe for the Tribune as its first female correspondent. She soon became involved with the revolutions in Italy and allied herself with Giuseppe Mazzini. She had a relationship with Giovanni Ossoli, with whom she had a child. All three members of the family died in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York, as they were traveling to the United States in 1850. Fuller's body was never recovered. This project collects her most famous work along with shorter pieces and extracts from her journals and letters.
News from Nowhere (1890) is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris. In the book, the narrator, William Guest, falls asleep after returning from a meeting of the Socialist League and awakes to find himself in a future society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means of production. In this society there is no private property, no big cities, no authority, no monetary system, no divorce, no courts, no prisons, and no class systems. This agrarian society functions simply because the people find pleasure in nature, and therefore they find pleasure in their work. In the novel, Morris tackles one of the most common criticisms of socialism; the supposed lack of incentive to work in a communistic society. Morris' response is that all work should be creative and pleasurable.
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.
This is Engels' first book (since considered a classic account of England's working class in the industrial age), which argues that workers paid a heavy price for the industrial revolution that swept the country. Engels wrote the piece while staying in Manchester from 1842 to 1844, based on th bohis observations and several contemporary reports conducted over the period.
As Russia goes to war against Japan, Tolstoy urges those at all levels of society, from the Tsar down to the common soldier, to consider their actions in the light of Christ's teaching. "However strange this may appear, the most effective and certain deliverance of men from all the calamities which they inflict upon themselves and from the most dreadful of all—war—is attainable, not by any external general measures, but merely by that simple appeal to the consciousness of each separate man which, nineteen hundred years ago, was proposed by Jesus—that every man bethink himself, and ask himself, who is he, why he lives, and what he should and should not do."
Wells, H. G.
H. G. Wells's proposal for social reform was the formation of a world state, a concept that would increasingly preoccupy him throughout the remainder of his life. One of his most ambitious early attempts at portraying a world state was A Modern Utopia (1905). A Modern Utopia was intended as a hybrid between fiction and 'philosophical discussion'. Like most utopists, he has indicated a series of modifications which in his opinion would increase the aggregate of human happiness. Basically, Wells' idea of a perfect world would be if everyone were able to live a happy life. This book is written with an intimate knowledge of former ideal commonwealths and is a conscious attempt to describe a utopia that is not utopian.
Jewett, Sarah Orne
As contemporary today as it was over a century ago, this relatively unsentimental tale of labor relations still packs a punch.
Frank Norris based his 1901 novel The Octopus (A Story of California) on the Mussel Slough Tragedy of 1880, a bloody conflict between ranchers and agents of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The central issue was over the ownership of the ranches, which the farmers had leased from the railroad nearly ten years earlier with intentions of eventually purchasing the land. Although originally priced at $2.50 to $5 per acre, the railroad eventually opened the land for sale at prices adjusted for land improvements; the railroad’s attempts to take possession of the land led the ranchers to defend themselves as depicted in the book.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.