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The Storm

Daniel DEFOE (c.1660 - 1731)

The Storm (1704) holds a special place in the writings of Daniel Defoe. Widely considered a founding document of modern journalism, The Storm narrates the calamitous events of November 1703 that are framed by the author in the first four chapters. These are followed by verbatim eyewitness accounts, solicited from survivors through a newspaper advertisement that Defoe placed shortly after the hurricane struck. Defoe is primarily known for his later fiction, loosely based on historical calamities, such as his Journal of the Plague Year (1722), and by fictionalized novels purporting to be first-person accounts, including Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Moll Flanders (1722). It can be argued that The Storm was the journalistic crucible in which the master realist Defoe forged his later novelistic artistry, with its penchant for "the telling detail." In fact, his fiction novel The Plague Year remains a required reading for journalism students to this day, side-by-side with the non-fiction account of The Storm. –Denny Sayers

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Life and Adventures of Frank and Jesse James

Joseph. A. DACUS (c. 1839 - ?)

Biographies of Frank and Jesse James, detailed accounts of all their significant escapades, and the final outcomes. - Summary by PJ Landau

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The Story of the Barbary Corsairs

Stanley LANE-POOLE (1854 - 1931) and J. D. Jerrold KELLEY (1847 - 1922)

A history of the pirating activities along and around the "Barbary coast" between the 15th and 19th centuries, from the time of the pirate, Ujra Barbarossa, to the French control of Algeria in 1830. Although piracy had plagued all the world's waterways from the first time man decided to trade by boat or ship, authors Lane-Poole and Kelley tell mainly of the origins and "Golden Age" of the Moor pirates who rampaged the Mediterranean Sea from ports of call along the north coast of Africa. - Summary by James K. White

 

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Bradford's History of the Plymouth Settlement, 1608-1650

William BRADFORD (1590 - 1657) and Harold PAGET (1876 - )

The journal of William Bradford, who served five terms as governor of the Plymouth colony, is an indispensable document of the events of early American history. His eyewitness account includes the stories of the Pilgrims’ sojourn in the Netherlands, the voyage of the Mayflower, the hardships of the New World, relations with the Indians, and the colony’s growth from an endangered enterprise to a thriving city. This edition of Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation presents the text in language made more accessible to the modern reader (Summary by D. Leeson).

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The Adventures of Ulysses

Charles LAMB (1775 - 1834)

Lamb used Homer's Odyssey as the basis for the re-telling of the story of Ulysses's journey back from Troy to his own kingdom of Ithaca. Not a direct translation and deemed modern in its time, Lamb states in the preface that, "I have gained a rapidity to the narration which I hope will make it more attractive and give it more the air of a romance to young readers". (Summary by Rebecca)

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GERONIMO (1829 - 1909)

Geronimo’s Story of His Life is the oral life history of a legendary Apache warrior. Composed in 1905, while Geronimo was being held as a U.S. prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Geronimo’s story found audience and publication through the efforts of S. M. Barrett--Lawton, Oklahoma, Superintendent of Education, who wrote in his preface that “the initial idea of the compilation of this work was . . . to extend to Geronimo as a prisoner of war the courtesy due any captive, i.e. the right to state the causes which impelled him in his opposition to our civilization and laws.” Barrett, with the assistance of Asa Deklugie, son of Nedni chief Whoa as Apache translator, wrote down the story as Geronimo told it --beginning with an Apache creation myth. Geronimo recounted bloody battles with Mexican troopers, against whom he had vowed vengeance in 1858 after they murdered his mother, his wife, and his three small children. He told of treaties made between Apaches and the U.S. Army--and treaties broken. There were periods of confinement on the reservations, and escapes. And there were his final days on the run, when the U.S. Army put 5000 men in the field against his small band of 39 Apache.

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The Expedition of the Donner Party and its Tragic Fate

Eliza P. Donner HOUGHTON (1843 - 1922)

The Donner Party was a group of California-bound American settlers caught up in the "westering fever" of the 1840s. After becoming snowbound in the Sierra Nevada in the winter of 1846–1847, some of the emigrants resorted to cannibalism. Although this aspect of the tragedy has become synonymous with the Donner Party in the popular imagination, it actually was a minor part of the episode. The author was about 4 at the time. The first part of the book accounts the tragic journey and rescue attempts; the last half are reminiscences of the child orphan, passed from family to family while growing up. (Summary from Wikipedia & Tricia G)

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The Silence Dogood Letters

Benjamin FRANKLIN (1706 - 1790)

As a teenager, Benjamin Franklin apprenticed with his brother James at the shop where The New-England Courant was printed. Since James would not publish any of Benjamin's works, fifteen-year-old Benjamin sent letters to The New England Courant under the pseudonym Silence Dogood. A total of fourteen letters were sent, one each fortnight, between April and December of 1722. (Introduction by Darcy Smittenaar)

 

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Christ Legends

Selma LAGERLÖF (1858 - 1940), translated by Velma Swanston HOWARD (1868 - 1937)

These are beautiful little stories about Christmas from the Swedish storyteller Selma Lagerlöf. As she explains in the first story, they were told her by her grandmother "I remember that grandmother told story after story from morning till night, and that we children sat beside her, quite still, and listened. It was a glorious life! No other children had such happy times as we did. It isn’t much that I recollect about my grandmother. I remember that she had very beautiful snow-white hair, and stooped when she walked, and that she always sat and knitted a stocking. And I even remember that when she had finished a story, she used to lay her hand on my head and say: “All this is as true, as true as that I see you and you see me.” - Summary by Phil chenevert

David Crockett: His Life and Adventures

John Stevens Cabot ABBOTT (1805 - 1877)

David "Davy" Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was a celebrated 19th century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet “King of the Wild Frontier.” He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the Battle of the Alamo. This narrative attempts faithfully to record the influences under which David Crockett was reared and the incidents of his wild and wondrous life. It begins with his ancestors' immigration to the American wilderness, his adventures among the Indians, his political career in Tennessee and beyond, and ending with his heroic stand at the Alamo. (Summary by Brett W. Downey)

Drugging a Nation

Samuel MERWIN (1875 - 1936)

Drugging a Nation is a journalistic reveal of the extent to which the British Empire was culpable in the dissemination and subsequent near total addiction to opium of the Chinese people in the nineteenth century. So weak did it make China, that is was invaded multiple times, often by the British Empire itself looking to make its treaty ports stronger, but by other world powers too. In the end, this resulted in the complete collapse of the empire. The book describes in detail the extent to which opium had taken over the lives of the ordinary Chinese person and how it worked. (Summary by the author)