Free history Kindle books for 12 Dec 13

The Battle of the Little Bighorn: The History and Controversy of Custer’s Last Stand

by Charles River Editors

*Includes pictures of important people and places, as well as art depicting the battle.

*Includes accounts of the fighting written by men on both sides.

*Includes a bibliography for further reading.

*Includes a table of contents.

Since the Battle of the Little Bighorn, George Armstrong Custer has possessed one of the most unique places in American history. Although he was a capable cavalry officer who served honorably during the Civil War, he remains one of the most instantly identifiable and famous military men in American history due to the fact he was killed during one of the country’s most well known and ignominious defeats, the Battle of Little Bighorn. At the same time, this one relatively insignificant battle during America’s Indian Wars has become one of the country’s most mythologized events and continues to fascinate Americans nearly 140 years later.

On the morning of June 25, Custer’s scouts discovered a Native American village about 15 miles away in the valley of the Little Bighorn River. Choosing to disregard his superiors’ orders to wait for a concerted effort, the grandstanding Custer intended to deliver his own decisive victory by dividing his command into three units, an extremely bold tactic when done in the face of a much larger force. Due to their belief in the inferiority of the Plains Indians, and mindful of previous Indian tactics that sought to avoid pitched battle, Custer and his men were most concerned with forcing the action and failed to understand the true nature of the situation they had entered. The Native American gathering, centered around the famous Sioux chief Sitting Bull, numbered roughly 8,000 individuals, and about 2,000 of them were warriors. Custer’s forces amounted to a mere 31 officers, 566 troopers, and 50 scouts and civilians, and they had been split into three columns in order to stop a possible retreat.

Before the battle, it is believed Custer thought he was facing a group of about 800, which was Sitting Bull’s strength in the weeks before the battle. However, the Army’s Native American scouts and civilian scouts had not adequately informed the Army of the reinforcements that arrived, and at Little Bighorn, Custer’s three-pronged attack was completely overwhelmed. How Custer met his fate, and whether there even was a Last Stand, remain subjects of debate, but what is known is that the Battle of the Little Bighorn was one of the U.S. military’s biggest debacles. All told, the 7th Cavalry suffered over 50% casualties, with over 250 men killed and over 50 wounded. The dead included Custer’s brothers Boston and Thomas, his brother-in-law James Calhoun, and his nephew Henry Reed. Custer and his men were buried where they fell. A year later, Custer’s remains (or more accurately, the remains found in the spot labeled with his name) were relocated to West Point for final interment.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn: The History and Controversy of Custer’s Last Stand comprehensively covers the entire campaign leading up to the decisive battle, analyzes the decisions made by the battle’s most important leaders, and explains the controversial aftermath and legacy of the fighting. Along with a bibliography and pictures of important people and places, you will learn about the Battle of the Little Bighorn like you never have before, in no time at all.

The Greatest Battles in History: The Battle of Iwo Jima

by Charles River Editors

*Includes historic pictures of the fighting.

*Includes pictures of important people, places, and events.

*Includes a bibliography for further reading.

*Includes a table of contents.

“From the Halls of Montezuma

To the shores of Tripoli;

We fight our country’s battles

In the air, on land, and sea;

First to fight for right and freedom

And to keep our honor clean;

We are proud to claim the title

Of United States Marine.”

On February 23, 1945, one of the most famous photographs in American history was taken atop Mount Suribachi, as five American soldiers began to raise an American flag. The picture, which most Americans are instantly familiar with, has come to symbolize the strength and sacrifice of America’s armed forces, and though many realize it was taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima, much of the actual battle and the context of the picture itself have been overshadowed.

The Battle of Iwo Jima, code name “Operation Detachment,” is more of a misnomer than anything. It was fought as part of a large American invasion directed by steps toward the Japanese mainland, and it was more like a siege that lasted 36 days from February-March 1945, with non-stop fighting every minute. In fact, the iconic flag-raising photo was taken just four days into the battle, and as that picture suggests, the battle was not a pristine tactical event but an unceasing horror with no haven for protection. As veteran and author James F. Christ put it in the foreword of his exhaustive study of the action, “it is carnageâ?¦that is what Iwo wasâ?¦the Gettysburg of the Pacific.” Iwo Jima defined the classical amphibious assault of the World War II era, as much as the Normandy invasion did, but it came later in the war. In Europe, the Battle of the Bulge had already been won, and German forces would surrender in early May. However, the Japanese Empire was still at a considerable level of strength and state of resolve, and an essential offensive, grinding from island to island with naval unit to naval unit and air to air was met with maniacal resistance by the enemy.

When Admiral Chester Nimitz was directed to capture an island in the Bonin group, Iwo Jima stood out for its importance in making progress against the mainland, with three airfields that would allow American air forces to attack the Japanese mainland. But the Japanese were also well aware of how important Iwo Jima was, and they fought desperately in bunkers and tunnels that required the Americans to carefully clear them out gradually. Less than 5% of the Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima were taken alive, and American casualties were estimated at 26,000, with 6,800 killed or captured. A month later at Okinawa, which lasted from April-June, the Americans suffered an estimated 62,000 casualties, with 12,000 Americans killed or captured. These deadly campaigns came after widely-held predictions that taking these islands would amount to no more than a brief footnote in the overall theater. However, the national character of the Empire was equally misunderstood. Following the month of Iwo Jima, “commentator after commentator in the Anglo-American camp agreed that the Japanese were more despised than the Germansâ?¦uncommonly treacherous and savageâ?¦alluding to their remarkable tenacityâ?¦refused to give up any territory and incurred thousands of losses daily without any possibility of surrender.” The fighting went a long way toward swaying the beliefs of American military advisors that invading Japan itself would cause millions of casualties, which ultimately helped induce President Truman to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Greatest Battles in History: The Battle of Iwo Jima comprehensively covers the entire military situation that led up to the battle, analyzes the decisions made by the battle’s most important leaders, and explains the aftermath of the American victory.

Murder at the Leopard (The Vespers Trilogy)

by Lucia Oliva Lampe

Murder and political intrigue are the key elements in this mystery novel set in exotic and politically tense 13th century Sicily. “Murder at the Leopard” uses a detailed knowledge of the period and locale with many of the characters taken straight out of the mosaic of original 13th and 14th century Sicilian contracts.

A glittering commercial prize in the wars and politics of the Mediterranean, Sicily has been variously ruled by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and the Holy Roman Empire. Ironically, the island’s current peace and prosperity has come about only through the oppressive and exploitative 15-year rule of Charles of Anjou, brother to Louis IX, soon to be St. Louis, King of France. Despite the spiritual atmosphere of Holy Week festivities in 1281 Palermo, an angry tension simmering among the native populace rides uneasily just below the surface calm.

Still, most residents go about their daily lives as the political intrigue plays out in Naples, the site of Charles’ royal court. Charles’ justice system becomes reality, however, when a drunken wealthy merchant is murdered in Palermo’s streets after leaving The Leopard, a neighborhood tavern. The owner, Amodeus de Rogerio, takes the murder personally. Unfortunately, he’s also the prime suspect and is incarcerated within hours of the murder. His saucy wife, Ysabella, is left with their newly opened business, their 7 year old scamp of a son, and only a limited time to find the real culprit. With streets teeming with paupers and pilgrims, friars and farmers, aristocrats and almoners, all in town for the holidays, Ysabella finds many suspects, both strangers and friends.

A second murder soon follows, and the reputation of The Leopard is on the line. Regular customers are fearful of being the next victim, and the multitude of visitors in town for Holy Week don’t want to drink in a murderer’s den either. In her quest to restore The Leopard’s good name and save her husband, Ysabella and her family uncover illicit love affairs, long-kept secrets, and rebel spies.

But will she find the killer before the hangman’s noose finds her husband?

Murder at the Leopard is the first book of a trilogy of murder mysteries set in 13th century Sicily written by RM Vassari and Lucia Olivia Lampe. The “Vespers Series” is set between 1281 and 1283, a period of violence and tension that saw the overthrow of French Angevin rule by an island-wide uprising known now as the Sicilian Vespers.

The tales are richly woven using a detailed knowledge of the period and locale, with many of the characters taken from real life.

Bicycling the Connecticut River Valley

by Robert Immler

The Connecticut River Valley runs through New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts and offers everything for which New England is famous, including country roads and scenic byways that are just right for bicycle touring. You can pedal to the top of Mount Greylock, Massachusetts’ highest peak, on a road bike; ride through the longest covered bridge in Vermont; take your mountain bike on a lift to the top of the Mount Snow ski resort; or cycle through the spectacular colors of a New England autumn.

This book describes 50 trip: 25 for road bikes and 25 for mountain bikes only. The trips range in difficulty from trips of 1-3 miles with little more than 100 feet of elevation gain, to 50 miles with more than 3,000 feet of gain. Most of the trips cover about 20 miles. If you do all the trips, you will ride over 800 miles.

Each trip description includes a route map, directions to the start of the ride, total ride distance, elevation gain, time needed to complete the route, difficulty, and type of bike needed for the trip. Also included are information on restaurants, markets and water sources along the route, and notes on the area’s rich history.

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