Free biographies and memoirs Kindle books for 27 Nov 15

Battles & Leaders of the Civil War: Lee’s Right Wing at Gettysburg

by James Longstreet

One of the most important Confederate generals of the Civil War was Lieutenant General James Longstreet, the man Robert E. Lee called his “old war horse.” Longstreet was arguably the best corps commander the Confederates have, and he played crucial roles at Antietam, Second Bull Run, Chickamauga, the Wilderness, and Fredericksburg. However, Longstreet had a controversial role at Gettysburg, when he was unable to roll up the Union Army of the Potomac’s flank on Day 2 and Pickett’s Charge failed on Day 3. Though Longstreet tried to talk Lee out of the attacks, they went forward, and Longstreet criticized Lee about them afterward, making him reviled among other Confederates. In turn, they tried to blame him for the loss at Gettysburg.  

In one of the most famous Battles & Leaders essays, Longstreet discusses his role commanding Lee’s right wing at Gettysburg, particularly his objections to Pickett’s Charge. His willingness to criticize Lee in essays like this one is what upset his former comrades after the war. This edition of Lee’s Right Wing at Gettysburg is specially formatted with maps of the campaign and pictures of its important commanders.



Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

by Frederick Douglass

With the possible exception of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., no African American has been more instrumental in the fight for minorities’ civil rights in the United States than Frederick Douglass 1818-1895), an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. His list of accomplishments would be impressive enough even without taking into account the fact that he was born into slavery.

After escaping from slavery, Douglass became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and antislavery writing. He stood out as the living embodiment of an intellectual former slave, the antithesis of slaveholders’ arguments that blacks were an inferior race. Douglass remained active in the fight for civil rights and abolition throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction, urging Lincoln to let black men enlist in the Union. As Douglass constantly stated, nobody had more to fight for in the Civil War than black men.

Douglass continued his advocacy all the way until his death in 1895. Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all people, advocating on behalf of blacks, women, immigrants and even Native Americans. Douglass famously said, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”

Of all his speeches and writings, his most famous are his autobiographies. The first was Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, published in 1845 and still his best-known work. With vivid description and detail, the autobiography describes the events of Douglass’ life in chains and his newfound freedom, becoming one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement.



Battles & Leaders of the Civil War: Kershaw’s Brigade at Gettysburg

by Joseph B. Kershaw

Joseph Brevard Kershaw (January 5, 1822 – April 13, 1894) was a lawyer, judge, and a Confederate general in the Civil War who commanded the 2nd South Carolina Infantry regiment at the beginning of the war, taking part in the First Battle of Bull Run. From there, Kershaw began to rise in command, eventually being commissioned a brigadier general on February 13, 1862 and commanding a brigade in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia during the Peninsula Campaign. Kershaw continued to command a brigade at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg before going with the rest of General James Longstreet’s corps out west, fighting at Chickamauga and Knoxville.
Kershaw eventually commanded a division at the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and Cold Harbor, and was engaged in the Shenandoah campaign of 1864 against Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan. After the evacuation of Richmond, his troops formed part of Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s corps, which was captured at the Battle of Sayler’s Creek, April 6, 1865.

After the war, Kershaw wrote an account of his brigade’s role during the Gettysburg Campaign, most notably on Day 2 of the battle. Kershaw’s account became part of the well known Battles & Leaders of the Civil War series. 



Battles & Leaders of the Civil War: The First Day at Gettysburg

by Henry J. Hunt

Henry Jackson Hunt (September 14, 1819 – February 11, 1889) was Chief of Artillery in the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. Considered by his contemporaries the greatest artillery tactician and strategist of the war, he was a master of the science of gunnery and rewrote the manual on the organization and use of artillery in early modern armies. His courage and tactics affected the outcome of some of the most significant battles in the war.
In 1856 Hunt was a member of a three-man board that revised field artillery drill and tactics for the army. The Instructions for Field Artillery manual written by the three was published by the War Department in 1861 and was the “bible” of Northern field artillerists during the war. He was a principal proponent of the organizational doctrine that allowed infantry brigades to retain artillery batteries for close-in support, but that moved batteries formerly assigned to divisions and corps to an Artillery Reserve at the army level for more strategic control.

Hunt’s most important role during the war came at Gettysburg, especially on Day 3. Although Hunt was involved in the artillery the previous two days, it was his handling of the artillery was conspicuous in the repulse of Pickett’s Charge on July 3. In particular, with the Union line on Cemetery Ridge under massive bombardment, Hunt was able to resist command pressure that would have expended all his ammunition in counter-battery fire, reserving sufficient amounts for anti-personnel fire in the attack he knew was coming. Additionally, his orders to cease firing fooled the Confederates into thinking his batteries were destroyed, thus allowing Pickett’s Charge to proceed. Once it did, Hunt’s concealed placement of Lt. Col. Freeman McGilvery’s batteries north of Little Round Top caused massive casualties in the infantry assault. He was rewarded for his service with the brevet of colonel in the regular army.

After the war, the artillery chief wrote a critically acclaimed account of the Battle of Gettysburg, covering all three days in separate essays within the well known and highly regarded Battles & Leaders series. 



PARDON ME WHILE I CLOSE THE DOOR

by Marjan Sierhuis

We often talk of life as a journey. Many writers use walking as a motif for exploring the journey of life. Indeed, my walk frames my reflections on a crucial part of my life journey. My hope is that my story will show you that we all have the strength to accept the loss of those we love, whether it be a parent, sibling, child, or a relationship. And for some of us the journey may be a long one. Sometimes, grieving and “getting over” loss takes longer than we expected, but we do move on. I know because I did. So, on July 7, 2014, I took my walk.



St. Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul

by St. Therese of Lisieux

This is an autobiographical work by one of the most popular saints of the 19th century, St. Therese of Lisieux, who died in her mid-20s as a result of various maladies but impressed everyone with the power of her faith.



Battles & Leaders of the Civil War: Stonewall Jackson’s Raid Around Pope

by William B. Taliaferro

William Booth Taliaferro (December 28, 1822 – February 27, 1898), was a United States Army officer, a lawyer, legislator, and Confederate general in the Civil War. Taliaferro’s Brigade came under Stonewall Jackson’s command at the end of 1861, and  he remained with Jackson for some years, rising to division command in 1862. Taliaferro was seriously injured at the Battle of Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), but returned to the field in the time for the Battle of Fredericksburg, his last battle under Jackson.

Taliaferro was a strict and aloof commander who alienated many of his troops. There is at least one known circumstance when one of his troops actually assaulted him, though Taliaferro was unscathed. Taliaferro chafed under the command of General Jackson, complaining to his political colleagues in Virginia about Jackson’s tactics and treatment of the men. Jackson later protested Taliaferro’s promotion to brigadier general, while Taliaferro was still under Jackson’s command; however, Jackson respected Taliaferro’s leadership and military ability and did not continue to stand in his way. Jackson later would select Taliaferro for temporary divisional command in specific engagements.

 After the war, Taliaferro wrote an account of the Battle of Second Manassas or Second Bull Run which became part of the well known Battles & Leaders of the Civil War Series, discussing the preparations for and fighting during the battle, a decisive Confederate victory. As part of Jackson’s force, Taliaferro was part of the important strategic marching and defense set up by Jackson that allowed him to withstand the Union army’s assault while Longstreet’s corps shattered Pope’s left flank, sending the federals scurrying back to Washington D.C.



Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: General Robert E. Lee at The Wilderness

by Charles S. Venable

With the exception of George Washington, perhaps the most famous and celebrated general in American history is Robert E. Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870), despite the fact he led the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia against the Union in the Civil War. The son of U.S. Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III, a relative of Martha Custis Washington, and a top graduate of West Point, Lee had distinguished himself so well before the Civil War that President Lincoln asked him to command the entire Union Army. Lee famously declined, serving his home state of Virginia instead after it seceded.

Lee constantly defeated the Union’s Army of the Potomac in the Eastern theater from 1862-1865, considerably frustrating Lincoln and his generals. His leadership of his army led to him being deified after the war by some of his former subordinates, especially Virginians, and he came to personify the Lost Cause’s ideal Southern soldier.
Of all the battles Lee fought in, he was most criticized for Gettysburg, particularly his order of Pickett’s Charge on the third and final day of the war. Despite the fact his principle subordinate and corps leader, General James Longstreet, advised against the charge, Lee went ahead with it, ending the army’s defeat at Gettysburg with a violent climax that left half of the men who charged killed or wounded.

Lee died in 1870 before he could write memoirs about the Civil War, so his only primary accounts were reports and dispatches during the war that were preserved in the Official Records. However, a member of his staff, Charles S. Venable, wrote extensively about Lee’s actions in some of the war’s most famous battles for the very well known Battles & Leaders of the Civil War series. In this article, Venable discusses the Battle of The Wilderness in depth and the movements of the Overland Campaign between Grant and Lee until the armies settle into a long siege at Petersburg.

 This edition includes illustrations of the battle of the Wilderness and Lee.



From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of the Civil War in America

by James Longstreet

One of the most important Confederate generals of the Civil War was Lieutenant General James Longstreet, the man Robert E. Lee called his “old war horse.” Longstreet was arguably the best corps commander the Confederates have, and he played crucial roles at Antietam, Second Bull Run, Chickamauga, the Wilderness, and Fredericksburg. However, Longstreet had a controversial role at Gettysburg, when he was unable to roll up the Union Army of the Potomac’s flank on Day 2 and Pickett’s Charge failed on Day 3. Though Longstreet tried to talk Lee out of the attacks, they went forward, and Longstreet criticized Lee about them afterward, making him reviled among other Confederates. In turn, they tried to blame him for the loss at Gettysburg.  

Just a few years before his death, Longstreet finally published his crucial memoirs, From Manassas to Appomattox, which talked about his experiences and analysis of the decisions made during the war. Longstreet wrote it to respond to his own critics and because Lee himself didn’t write any. Regardless, they are one of the most important post-war writings of any general on either side of the Civil War.



Charles Dickens

by G.K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton was an English writer, theologian and poet.  Chesterton, also known as the prince of paradox, wrote on a vast variety of subjects using an unorthodox yet interesting writing style.  This edition of Charles Dickens includes a table of contents.



Die in Paris: The true story of France’s most notorious serial killer

by Marilyn Z. Tomlins

Marcel Petiot, France’s most famous serial killer

  • Marilyn Z. Tomlins has crafted an enthralling and suspenseful page-turner about one of history’s most fascinating and notorious serial killers. This grisly World War Two era thriller will have you teetering on a slippery edge from beginning to end.

    Don Fulsom, veteran UPI and VOA White House correspondent, Washington, D.C. reporter, author of the bestseller Nixon’s Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America’s Most Troubled President, and a professor of government at American University in Washington.
  • With style, Marilyn Z. Tomlins’ Die in Paris, tells the incredible story of France’s most prolific murderer. Readers will discover a truly psychotic serial killer.

    J. Patrick O’Connor, author of the bestsellers The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal and of Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murder and the Framing of Kevin Cooper, and the creator and editor of www.crimemagazine.com

A spring night in Paris. The most beautiful city in the world is dark and silent. Uncertainty devils the air. As does normality: war time normality. The Nazis’ Swastika flutters from the Eiffel Tower. The Parisians are huddled indoors.

Suddenly the night’s stillness is shattered by sirens and excited voices. For days foul smoke has been pouring from the chimney of an uninhabited house close to the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Police and firefighters are racing to the house to break down the bolted door. They make a spine-chilling discovery. The remains of countless human beings are being incinerated in a furnace in the basement. In a pit in an outhouse quicklime consumes still more bodies.

Neighbors say they hear banging, pleading, sobbing and cries for help come from inside the house deep at night. They say a shabbily-dressed man on a green bicycle pulling a cart behind him comes to the house, always at dawn, or dusk.

The house belongs to Dr Marcel Petiot – a good-looking, charming, caring, family physician who lives elsewhere in the city with his wife and teenage son.

Is he the shabbily-dressed man on the green bicycle?

If so, what has he to say about the bodies?

“Die in Paris” will give you new insights into the horrors of Occupied France. Download now for instant access



G.F. Watts

by G.K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton was an English writer, theologian and poet.  Chesterton, also known as the prince of paradox, wrote on a vast variety of subjects using an unorthodox yet interesting writing style.  This edition of G.F. Watts includes a table of contents.



A Reason To Smile

by Jason Phinney

Devastated by the death of his mother and embittered by a fractious relationship with his father, Jason wasn’t willing to let anyone get close. But when a pair of fun-loving, destructive dogs, upend his cluttered, yet lonely life, they unwittingly become the catalyst for marriage. With his devoted wife and rambunctious canines by his side, Jason hopes to leave the past behind. But as life together grows complicated, conflicts spiral out of control leaving the relationship in ruins. And when his best friend dies, all hope seems lost.

Jason’s redemption comes in the form of a band of misfit, discarded dogs who find refuge in his home. He gives them freedom, allowing them to explore and play in the outdoors, and they in turn give him love and a sense of purpose. The heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking canine experiences Jason vividly captures serve as backdrop for his journey from pain to forgiveness and his struggle to find faith in both himself and something larger.

A Reason to Smile will touch the hearts of readers as Jason’s canine companions prove healing sometimes comes from the most unexpected places.



An Autobiography of Anthony Trollope

by Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope was a British writer who is considered to be one of the most prominent authors of the Victorian era.  Trollope created the fictional county of Barsetshire which many of his novels are set in.  Trollope also wrote on the political and social issues on England during his time.  This edition of An Autobiography of Anthony Trollope includes a table of contents.



A Paddle Across America

by RICHARD C SILVESTRI

This is a book about planning, near obsession, and shear determination to beat the odds of succeeding. It is a story about inner drive that culminates in success.

The author after retirement from the fire service where he spent 26 years became interested in paddling a kayak. When he read about the expedition conducted by Lewis and Clark in the early nineteenth century he had a plan. The route the explorers followed was almost entirely by water along the country’s major rivers. With the bicentennial of that adventure approaching along with his 60th birthday, he decided he was going to paddle his kayak along that route-over 4000 miles!

It is a story of the years he spent unknowingly becoming well suited for the journey despite his age. It also chronicles the preparation, planning and finally the details of the journey and the lessons learned in the end.



Got a new Kindle or know someone who has? Check out the ultimate guide to finding free books for your Kindle. Also available in the UK.