Free history Kindle books for 18 Sep 14

The Jason Voyage: The Quest for the Golden Fleece

by Tim Severin

Legend or fact?

Myth or reality?

In the thirteenth century BC, the Greek mythological hero Jason set sail in a galley with a band of Heroes in search of the Golden Fleece. The boat was named Argo, after its builder, and the sailors are known as the Argonauts.

But did they exist? And what was the Golden Fleece?

Their journey took them from present-day Greece, across the Aegean Sea, through the Dardanelles and the Sea of Marmara, through the much feared Bosphorus into the Black Sea, and then along the entire north coast of Turkey, ending up in the state of Georgia.

It was there, in ancient Colchis, that Jason found not only the Golden Fleece but also his bride, Medea, after taming the wild bulls, killing the serpent, and planting its teeth in the soil.

Or so the legend has it.

Tim Severin, having sailed in a leather boat from Ireland to America to test the legend of St Brendan, and having linked the seven journeys of Sindbad the Sailor into a single mammoth trip from Arabia to China, set out to investigate the story of Jason.

He had a twenty-oar galley built in the Aegean to the exact specifications of a Bronze Age boat and, with his crew of new Argonauts, made the same perilous 1500-mile journey. The oarsmen were aided by Greek, Turkish and Soviet volunteers as they passed through each country’s territorial waters. And they underwent extraordinary hardships on the way.

But they did prove that, in spite of the dangers and discomfort, Jason could have made the journey in an oared galley, which many experts had considered impossible.

‘The Jason Voyage’ is the thrilling story of that journey.

It will have an irresistible appeal to scholars as well as lovers of adventure, travel and mystery.

Tim Severin’s sailing books have been widely praised.

“Enthralling!” -The Guardian.

“An extraordinary explorer.” – The Independent.

Tim Severin is an explorer, film-maker and lecturer, who has made many expeditions, from crossing the Atlantic in a medieval leather boat to going out in search of Moby Dick and Robinson Crusoe. He has written books about all of them. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Book of the Sea Award, a Christopher Prize, and the literary medal of the Academie de la Marine. He also writes historical fiction.

Endeavour Press is the UK’s leading independent publisher of digital books.

Engage the Enemy (A John Paul Jones Adventure)

by Christopher Kenworthy

The year is 1777.

Britain is engaged in an ongoing battle with the rebellious American colonies.

John Paul Jones, now a veteran of the American Navy, has been promised command of a new ship.

But before he can do so he must journey to France to fight on the side of the revolutionaries.

When he reaches the French border he realises his reputation has proceeded him. His American enemies have allied with the French aristocrats to stonewall every attempt to get him a command.

Undeterred, and worried by rebellious murmurings among his crew, Jones sets out to bring the flames of war to the British coastline.

Will Jones manage to defeat the British warships and raid the mainland?

Or will his own crews’ mutinous stirrings prove even more fatal than his attempts to Engage the Enemy?

‘Engage the Enemy’ is the third in the series of books featuring John Paul Jones, a man referred to as ‘the father of the US Navy’ for his role is establishing the fledgling United States as a sea-power and challenging the might of the British.

It is an enthralling adventure story set against the violent backdrop of America’s fight for independence from Britain. It is perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell and Alexander Kent.

“I could taste the salt and smell the wind on every page. A brilliant read.’ – Tom Kasey, best-selling author of ‘The Lunar Code’.

Christopher Kenworthy was a journalist and novelist. His other titles include ‘In the Dark of the Moon’, ‘Badlands’ and ‘In Harm’s Way’.

Endeavour Press is the UK’s leading independent digital publisher.

The Dust Bowl: The History and Legacy of the Most Notorious Drought in American History

by Charles River Editors

*Includes pictures

*Includes accounts of the Dust Bowl and dust storms by farmers, wives, and children

*Includes a bibliography for further reading

*Includes a table of contents

“People caught in their own yards grope for the doorstep. Cars come to a standstill, for no light in the world can penetrate that swirling murkâ?¦. The nightmare is deepest during the storms. But on the occasional bright day and the usual gray day we cannot shake from it. We live with the dust, eat it, sleep with it, watch it strip us of possessions and the hope of possessions.” – Avis D. Carlson

“How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can’t scare him – he has known a fear beyond every other.” – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

It is almost impossible to imagine today, but in the late 19th century and early 20th century, there were places where land was cheaper than food and more plentiful than water. During the homesteading period of the 1860s-1880s, the government typically offered land grants of 160 acres to any farmer who could get it cultivated within a certain amount of time. With that much land to make productive and a limited number of years to get it cleared and planted, men would do whatever it took to get their crops in. Of course, these farmers, trying to quickly carve working farms, were more concerned with speed than with the impact on the ground itself. Surviving each year itself was enough work; the future would have to worry about itself.

While farmers were planting crops, the seeds were also being sown for a natural disaster once a severe drought hit the prairie land in the 1930s. Due to a lack of proper dryland farming methods, wind erosion and the drought combined to create horrific dust storms that devastated wide swathes of Great Plains and even reached cities on the East Coast like New York City and Washington, D.C. It’s estimated that the dust storms affected about 100 million acres during the decade, uprooting not just soil but tens of thousands of people as their farms and families suffered.

With farms failing across vast portions of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico Colorado and Kansas, those who could no longer support themselves became migrants, moving to other states like California, but the country was still in the throes of the Great Depression. As a result, there was a unique class of suffering that was documented not only in pictures but in graphically realistic novels like John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Pictures of abandoned farms that looked like post-apocalyptic ghost towns helped drive the crisis home across the country, to the extent that the Dust Bowl is still well-known 80 years later.

The Dust Bowl chronicles one of America’s “Dirty Thirties,” an era in which ecological disasters brought economic ruin and permanently affected millions across the country. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Dust Bowl like never before, in no time at all.

The Assyrians: The History of the Most Prominent Empire of the Ancient Near East

by Charles River Editors

*Includes pictures

*Discusses Assyrian military tactics, religious practices, and more

*Includes ancient Assyrian accounts documenting their military campaigns and more

*Includes a bibliography for further reading

*Includes a table of contents

“I fought daily, without interruption against Taharqa, King of Egypt and Ethiopia, the one accursed by all the great gods. Five times I hit him with the point of my arrows inflicting wounds from which he should not recover, and then I laid siege to Memphis his royal residence, and conquered it in half a day by means of mines, breaches and assault ladders.” – Esarhaddon

“I captured 46 towns…by consolidating ramps to bring up battering rams, by infantry attacks, mines, breaches and siege engines.” – Sennacherib

When scholars study the history of the ancient Near East, several wars that had extremely brutal consequences (at least by modern standards) often stand out. Forced removal of entire populations, sieges that decimated entire cities, and wanton destruction of property were all tactics used by the various peoples of the ancient Near East against each other, but the Assyrians were the first people to make war a science. When the Assyrians are mentioned, images of war and brutality are among the first that come to mind, despite the fact that their culture prospered for nearly 2,000 years.

Like a number of ancient individuals and empires in that region, the negative perception of ancient Assyrian culture was passed down through Biblical accounts, and regardless of the accuracy of the Bible’s depiction of certain events, the Assyrians clearly played the role of adversary for the Israelites. Indeed, Assyria (Biblical Shinar) and the Assyrian people played an important role in many books of the Old Testament and are first mentioned in the book of Genesis: “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech, and Akkad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Ashur and built Nineveh and the city Rehoboth and Kallah.” (Gen. 10:10-11).

Although the Biblical accounts of the Assyrians are among the most interesting and are often corroborated with other historical sources, the Assyrians were much more than just the enemies of the Israelites and brutal thugs. A historical survey of ancient Assyrian culture reveals that although they were the supreme warriors of their time, they were also excellent merchants, diplomats, and highly literate people who recorded their history and religious rituals and ideology in great detail. The Assyrians, like their other neighbors in Mesopotamia, were literate and developed their own dialect of the Akkadian language that they used to write tens of thousands of documents in the cuneiform script (Kuhrt 2010, 1:84). Furthermore, the Assyrians prospered for so long that their culture is often broken down by historians into the “Old”, “Middle”, and “Neo” Assyrian periods, even though the Assyrians themselves viewed their history as a long succession of rulers from an archaic period until the collapse of the neo-Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BCE. In fact, the current divisions have been made by modern scholars based on linguistic changes, not on political dynasties (van de Mieroop 2007, 179).

The Assyrians: The History of the Most Prominent Empire of the Ancient Near East traces the history and legacy of Assyria across several millennia. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the history of the Assyrians like never before, in no time at all.

The Energetic Heart: A Quantum Exploration of a 20,000 Year-Old Artifact

by Judith Mann

‘The Energetic Heart’ is a fascinating account of a dimension-breaking experiment with a 20,000 year-old painted stone heart utilizing photographic techniques that detect, measure and document the interaction between photons and any present energy fields.

Striking energy images embody ancient spiritual concepts, directly verified by the theory of quantum entanglement. The stone heart artifact was found in the Ravne Tunnels of the Bosnian Pyramids, Viskoko, Bosnia in 2013.

Judith Mann and Julia Lincoln successfully rend the veil of habitual perceptions through their continuing experiments, recognizing stones as sentient beings who invite us to connect with them. Twenty-six vibrant color energy photos are shared in ‘The Energetic Heart’.

The Last Generation

by Ben Robertson

A teenage girl embarks on the journey of a lifetime in Ben Robertson’s epic young adult novel, The Last Generation.

Bridget Thorsdottir is seventeen years old when the new bishop who has taken over her Norse colony announces the final step in his plans to do away with their centuries-long tradition of farming.

An avid hunter in the days when women were not allowed to bear arms, as well as half-Inuit due to her father’s love for an outsider, Bridget has never really fit in with her fellow Greenlanders.

Her family is further shunned when Bridget’s father, Thor, opposes the new bishop’s plan. His refusal to abandon his farm in favor of fishing leaves the farm and even Thor’s life in peril.

Bridget, suffering from prophetic dreams that haunt her every waking moment, urges her father to flee to the New World immediately.

But when Thor refuses to listen, Bridget and her adoptive brother set sail for the New World on their own.

Danger and hardship will challenge their progress along the way. Will Bridget ever find the New World? And will she ever convince the rest of her family to join her?

The History of the Sunni and Shia Split: Understanding the Divisions within Islam

by Jesse Harasta

*Includes pictures

*Discusses the political and religious history of both main branches of Islam

*Includes footnotes and a bibliography for further reading

*Includes a table of contents

“Our followers are of three kinds, one who follows us but depends on others, one who is like a glass involved in his own reflections, but the best are those who are like gold, the more they suffer the more they shine.” – Muhammad al-Baqir

Different branches of the same religion are the exception more than the rule, and they have had a profound impact upon history. The schism between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches influenced relationships between nations across Europe, and religious intolerance based on different Christian faiths led to persecution and outright violence across the continent for centuries. The Protestant Reformation split Christianity further, and the results culminated in the incredibly destructive Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century.

Today, the most important religious split is between the Sunnis and the Shias (Shiites) within Islam. Unlike divisions in other faiths – between Conservative and Orthodox Jews or Catholic and Protestant Christians – the split between the Sunnis and Shia has existed almost as long as the faith itself, and it quickly emerged out of tensions created by the political crisis after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. In a sense, what are now two different forms of Islam essentially started as political factions within the unified body of Muslim believers.

Over the past few centuries, Christians have mostly been able to live alongside their co-religionists, but the split between the Sunnis and Shias is still so pronounced that many adherents of each branch view each other with disdain if not as outright apostates or non-believers. The religious divide is perhaps the most important fault line in the turbulent Middle East today, with Sunni nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia at odds with Shiite nations like Iran. At lower levels, non-state groups like the Islamic State and Hezbollah are fighting each other in ways that cross state lines in places like Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. Although it is technically a split in religion, the divide has had substantial global ramifications for decades, and there seems to be no end in sight.

The History of the Sunni and Shia Split traces the origins of the split and the historic effects of the main divide within Islam. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the history of the Sunnis and Shias like never before, in no time at all.

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