Free biographies and memoirs Kindle books for 12 Dec 15

From Canal Boy to President, or, The Boyhood and Manhood of James A Garfield

by Jr. Horatio Alger

If you’ve ever used the phrase “rags to riches,” you owe that to Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832-1899), who popularized the idea through his fictional writings that also served as a theme for the way America viewed itself as a country. Alger’s works about poor boys rising to better living conditions through hard work, determination, courage, honesty, and morals was popular with both adults and younger readers.

Alger’s writings happened to correspond with America’s Gilded Age, a time of increasing prosperity in a nation rebuilding from the Civil War. His lifelong theme of rags to riches continued to gain popularity but has gradually lessened since the 1920s. Still, readers today often come across Ragged Dick and stories like it in school.



It All Began With The May Rains: An Introvert’s Remarkable Journey: Volume 1

by Paul iVEY

The author emerged from a small, rural district in Jamaica, where at times he attended primary school sans shoes, and twice failed the entrance examination to high school. But he has earned five degrees and became president of his alma mater – Jamaica’s premier multi-disciplinary college. This is a story that needed to be told, and is told in this book. Not for narcissistic ego-stoking, but to inspire other persons, especially those “not to the manor born.” For this reason, at its core this book is really a device, a machine if you will, for motivation. The analogy of a machine is used because a machine exists to do something, and the “something” this book is intended to do is inspire and motivate.

This Volume covers the author’s early life, his parents, grandparents, and siblings. Volume 2 covers his fascinating educational journey and initial foray into the world of work, and Volume 3 illuminates his full professional life, including his tenure as president of his alma mater College.



Battles & Leaders of the Civil War: The Second 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. 



SAM BASS and His Horse Marines: The Round Rock Shootout 1878 (The TEXAS Outlaw Series)

by Sean E. Jacobs

There’s a statue in Nottingham, England of Robin Hood. He and his Merry Men are known for robbing the rich to give to the poor. Five centuries later there’s Sam Bass, later known as the most notorious outlaw in the state of Texas, along with his desperados, not known as Merry Men, but as Horse Marines.

Sean E. Jacob’s creative nonfiction style of storytelling is exemplified when he retells the true story of Sam Bass and Gang. The first question that comes to mind, was Sam Bass the Robin Hood of Texas? One would sure think so. Why would such a notorious outlaw have a Texas Historical Marker, a carefully maintained gravesite, and reenactments of his final shootout in Round Rock, Texas each year?

Sam Bass Road has been around for years, but the deputy sheriff he allegedly killed, remained lost in the history books for many years. As a matter of fact, it was only in recent years the deputy, Caige Grimes, also known as Alijah W. Grimes, was memorialized by a road being named after him in Round Rock.

Sam Bass was a reckless young lad who remained true to his men to the very last, who shared his gold with the less fortunate in Denton County, Texas. He was gallant with the ladies in each town he traveled and dearly loved children and horses.

Sam Bass was a charismatic leader who won the respect of cowboys, ranchers, saloon keepers, and farmers all across north Texas. Was Sam Bass a Robin Hood? Were his fellow gang members the Merry Men?

As the first in the Texas Outlaw series, the life and adventures of Sam Bass, the notorious Union Pacific and Texas train robber, unfold. James B. Gillett, six years with the Texas Rangers as well as many other law enforcement individuals chased Sam Bass and his outlaws across Texas in one of the longest, if not the longest, manhunt in history.

In researching for the scenes in the novel, a few capturing quotes from unknown people in old newspaper articles were spotted along the way. They lend a certain amount of to tell the story of Sam Bass during his desperado years of 1870-1878:

“Don’t squat with your spurs on.”

“Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.”

Texas Ranger Richard “Dick” Ware, a main character in the novel, will attest, if he were still alive today, “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut!”

This fresh retelling of Sam Bass deserves a place on the bookshelf of Texas history. There are many historical figures from the Lone Star State in this portrayal of Bass and gang. Governor Hubbard, after listening to the outcry of the legislature, called in the Texas Rangers and other pioneer law enforcement individuals of Texas to seek out and capture Sam Bass.

The Texas Rangers, in an effort to coral Sam Bass, find his trail heading west in a effort to join up with Quanah Parker and the Comanche, the most powerful Indian tribe of the time.

In 1938, a race horse by the name of Seabiscuit, made history and was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history. What a few people today realize the Denton Mare, owned by Sam Bass and sired by the great Steeldust, won numerous races and topped the headlines of many newspapers in Texas in 1875, more than sixty years earlier.



Battles & Leaders of the Civil War: The 20th Maine at Little Round Top

by Joshua L. Chamberlain

For much of the 20th century, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s life and career remained mostly obscure, outside of dedicated scholars of the Battle of Gettysburg and alumni and students of Bowdoin College. Colonel Chamberlain had led the 20th Maine regiment at Gettysburg, holding the extreme left of the Union line on Little Round Top, and he continued to rise up the ranks toward the end of the war until he was commanding a brigade and present at the surrender ceremony of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. After the Civil War, Chamberlain served as Governor of Maine and President of Bowdoin College.  
 
Chamberlain had a respectable Civil War career and life, but he had been largely forgotten in the decades after the Civil War, with the focus on more influential commanding generals and their principal subordinates. Then a remarkable thing happened with the 1974 publication of Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, a Pulitzer Prize winning historical fiction that focuses on the Battle of Gettysburg and its influential generals and leaders. In one fell swoop, Michael Shaara breathed life back into the reputations of men like John Buford and Joshua Chamberlain, cast as the Union heroes of Day 1 and Day 2 respectively that made victory at Gettysburg possible. In the novel, Chamberlain’s regiment holds the high ground against a series of desperate Confederate charges, and when they ran out of gunpowder, Chamberlain ordered a brave bayonet charge that drove the Confederates in their front from the fight. With that, the Union’s left flank was saved. 
 
Naturally, once more attention was focused on Chamberlain’s record, historians started to scrutinize his service and post-war writings, leading to ensuing controversies over just what happened on Little Round Top on July 2, 1863. Furthermore, there still remains debate over Chamberlain’s participation during the surrender ceremony of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.  
 
Part of that debate stems from the fact that Chamberlain wrote one of the most descriptive books about the last days of the Civil War, culminating with Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox, and what followed it. It’s an invaluable resource for historians and anyone interested in the Civil War.



Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville: An Excerpt from Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson

by Robert Lewis Dabney

Robert Lewis Dabney (March 5, 1820 – January 3, 1898) was an American Christian theologian, a Southern Presbyterian pastor, and Confederate Army chaplain best known for being chief of staff to General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson during his famous Valley Campaign and the Seven Days Battles. He also wrote Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson, an invaluable biography of the general that was published in 1866, just a year after the Civil War had ended.

Stonewall Jackson needs no formal introduction, being one of the most famous generals of the Civil War, revered throughout the South for his extremely successful military skill. At the same time, Jackson’s pious Christianity and seeming eccentricities have continued to fascinate historians, scholars and readers, who often still argue why he would hold his left arm up with his palm facing outward while in battle. 

Jackson earned his famous “stonewall” moniker at the Battle of First Bull Run, when Brigadier-General Bee told his brigade to rally behind Jackson, who was standing like a stone wall. General Bee was mortally wounded shortly after giving the order, so it’s still unclear whether that was a compliment for standing strong or an insult for not moving his brigade, but the nickname stuck for the brigade and the general itself.

Jackson would go on to lead an army to one of the most incredible campaigns of the war in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. Known as the Valley Campaign, Jackson kept 3 Union armies occupied north of Richmond with less than 1/3 of the men. Jackson’s forces marched about 650 miles in just 3 months, earning the nickname “foot cavalry.” 

Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville is an account of Jackson’s famous march and attack at the Battle of Chancellorsville, a tactical Confederate victory that ranked among the Army of Northern Virginia’s greatest feats. It was also one of Jackson’s greatest feats, but he was mortally wounded by his own men during the night of May 2, 1863, after conducting scouting ahead of his own lines. Jackson would die 8 days later, and his death and burial are also covered in this account, which comes from Dabney’s biography of Jackson. The biography is invaluable not just as a contemporary source but as a study of Lost Cause ideology, coming even before the phrase itself took hold. Dabney’s hatred of the Yankees is evident throughout the book, as is his adulation of Jackson, who comes off as nearly perfect in this book. Slavery is depicted as a benign institution, and the Yankees are treated as inferior in every respect to Southerners. The frequent Lost Cause argument that the South lost only because of inferior manpower and resources can be found in this book, much of which was written before the Confederacy had been defeated. At the same time, Dabney wrote the book to demonstrate the importance of Christianity and its influence on Jackson’s generalship, helping create the image of Confederates as dignified, Christian fighters. The biography will be of interest to anyone interested in Southern attitudes toward the North and the war in the 1860s.



Stonewall Jackson at First Bull Run: An Excerpt from Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson

by Robert Lewis Dabney

Robert Lewis Dabney (March 5, 1820 – January 3, 1898) was an American Christian theologian, a Southern Presbyterian pastor, and Confederate Army chaplain best known for being chief of staff to General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson during his famous Valley Campaign and the Seven Days Battles. He also wrote Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson, an invaluable biography of the general that was published in 1866, just a year after the Civil War had ended.

Stonewall Jackson needs no formal introduction, being one of the most famous generals of the Civil War, revered throughout the South for his extremely successful military skill. At the same time, Jackson’s pious Christianity and seeming eccentricities have continued to fascinate historians, scholars and readers, who often still argue why he would hold his left arm up with his palm facing outward while in battle. 

Jackson earned his famous “stonewall” moniker at the Battle of First Bull Run, when Brigadier-General Bee told his brigade to rally behind Jackson, who was standing like a stone wall. General Bee was mortally wounded shortly after giving the order, so it’s still unclear whether that was a compliment for standing strong or an insult for not moving his brigade, but the nickname stuck for the brigade and the general itself.

Jackson would go on to lead an army to one of the most incredible campaigns of the war in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. Known as the Valley Campaign, Jackson kept 3 Union armies occupied north of Richmond with less than 1/3 of the men. Jackson’s forces marched about 650 miles in just 3 months, earning the nickname “foot cavalry.” 

Stonewall Jackson at First Bull Run is an account of Jackson and his brigade at the first major battle of the war, from Dabney’s biography of Jackson. The biography is invaluable not just as a contemporary source but as a study of Lost Cause ideology, coming even before the phrase itself took hold. Dabney’s hatred of the Yankees is evident throughout the book, as is his adulation of Jackson, who comes off as nearly perfect in this book. Slavery is depicted as a benign institution, and the Yankees are treated as inferior in every respect to Southerners. The frequent Lost Cause argument that the South lost only because of inferior manpower and resources can be found in this book, much of which was written before the Confederacy had been defeated. At the same time, Dabney wrote the book to demonstrate the importance of Christianity and its influence on Jackson’s generalship, helping create the image of Confederates as dignified, Christian fighters. The biography will be of interest to anyone interested in Southern attitudes toward the North and the war in the 1860s.



Battles & Leaders of the Civil War: In the Monitor Turret

by S. Dana Greene

On March 8, 1862, the Union and Confederates made history when the South’s first ironclad ventured down the Elizabeth River into Hampton Roads to attack the wooden-sided U.S. blockading fleet anchored there. Built on the hull of the U.S.S. Merrimac (which had been scuttled and burned when the Federals abandoned the Gosport Navy Yard in April, 1861), the new warship had been christened C.S.S. Virginia, but it was still mostly remembered by its original name and referred to by it. After ramming and sinking the twenty-four-gun wooden hulled steam-sailing sloop Cumberland, the Merrimac headed for the fifty-gun frigate Congress. An awe struck Union officer watched the one-sided fight as the Merrimac fired “shot and shell into her with terrific effect, while the shot from the Congress glanced from her iron-plated sloping sides, without doing any apparent injury.”

The results of the first day’s fighting at Hampton Roads proved the superiority of iron over wood, but on the next day iron was pitted against iron as the U.S.S. Monitor arrived on the scene. It was just in time to challenge the Merrimac, which was returning to finish off the U.S. blockading squadron. The Confederate ironclad carried more guns than the Union Monitor, but it was slow, clumsy, and prone to engine trouble. The Union prototype, as designed by John Ericsson, was the faster and more maneuverable ironclad, but it lacked the Rebel vessel’s brutish size and power. The Merrimac’s officers had heard rumors about a Union ironclad, yet, according to Lieutenant Wood: “She could not possibly have made her appearance at a more inopportune time for us.” Lieutenant S. Dana Greene, an officer aboard the Monitor, described the first exchange of gunfire: “The turrets and other parts of the ship were heavily struck, but the shots did not penetrate; the tower was intact, and it continued to revolve. A look of confidence passed over the men’s faces, and we believed the Merrimac would not repeat the work she had accomplished the day before.” Neither ironclad seriously damaged the other in their one day of fighting, March 9, 1862, but the Merrimac was indeed prevented from attacking any more of the Union’s wooden ships. Naval warfare would never be the same.

After the war, Lieutenant S. Dana Greene wrote an account of the ironclad battle that became part of the well known Battles & Leaders of the Civil War Series. 



More Than Just a Pair of Pumps

by Alexandra Iff

Gutsy and stubborn 24 year old Trinity Parker is more than thrilled when she lands a job in a top New York fashion store, crunching numbers in the back office. As luck would have it, it’s on her first day there that she ends up heroically foiling a robbery. Or so she thinks.

The man she thought was stealing, Dimitri DuPont, a handsome and rich distinguished gentleman, insists Trinity apologizes to him for her assumptions. In fact, he demands more.

Dimitri is a man one cannot say no to. So she doesn’t. She succumbs.

Soon, her life becomes a tangled web full of lies and deceit and Dimitri DuPont, the one person who’s been there through it all, takes her out of her comfort zone and leads her on a voyage of discovery.

Will he be the anchor that she needs or the catalyst that blows her world apart?

* * *

“This looks delicious!” he murmurs as he takes the oyster to his lips, slurping it slowly. As he does, his eyes land on me and, my heart stops beating. “I love how they feel in my mouth.”

Why does he have to look at me like that? Without an ounce of shame? Or is it just me? I’m frozen in place, entranced by him again, working with the small fork in one hand and the oyster in the other, separating the flesh from its shell. Then he picks up the cut lemon, squeezes the juice over it and moves it to his lips. But this time he knows I’m watching him; he looks at me just as he slurps the oyster. His tongue slowly swirls around it andâ?¦ now I’m trembling. I blink rapidly a few times, my eyes landing on the oysters in front of me, and I bite my lip. This is not happening.

“Is everything okay?”

“Um, yes, everything is fine. I’m sorry. I thought I had something in my eye.” Fuck, I’m not going to get through this. “All fine now.”

I take the small fork lying on the table in front of me, pick up an oyster in the palm of my hand and start separating the meat from its shell. I’ve done this hundreds of times before, and yet, right now I feel so nervous. I successfully finish the task at hand and now all I have to do is eat it. Well, swallow it. Fuck, even that word makes me think of sex. I lick my lips before I tip the oyster toward my open mouth, desperately trying to ignore everything around me when I notice out of the corner of my eye Dimitri has stopped moving. I glance in his direction at the exact moment the oyster slides inside my mouth and see him, fully immersed in what I’m doing; his lips are parted and he swallows at the same time I do. Fuck. He may as well have just undressed me right now.

“Good, right?”



THE LINCOLN ASSASSINATION – Book 1 (150th Anniversary Series of the Lincoln Assassination)

by Sean E. Jacobs

BOOK 1 in the 150th Anniversary Series of the Lincoln Assassination: Books stacked on top of one another about the Lincoln Assassination will reach the top of the tower in the Castle, or should I say the Smithsonian Institute. The first in the Lincoln Assassination Series will be one where, as the author, I transform into the character and take a “time machine” back to the 1865.

I began my research by first reading numerous first edition books written and published in 1869-1890, part of a collection handed down to me when my father, Elmer A. Struss, passed away in his business in Eagle Lake, Texas in 2003 and my family sent them my way.

Over the last forty years writing local history and family genealogy books, I learned one of the best ways to find the pieces to the puzzle is to put myself in the place of the person I am writing about. What this means is the time and place…and the gender. From reading a large number of novels and history books from other authors, I came to realize the writings depend on where the author’s writing occurrs as to which direction the story unfolds.

In the case of my first book in the 150th Anniversary Series of the Lincoln Assassination, I was not going to write in support of one side or the other. I drew a narrow gray line between how the facts are described in the novel. I hadn’t even started the series without noticing I used the word gray when I could have used “blue” lineâ?¦so much with trying to hide my feelings, right? This novel will present the facts in the most truthful manner as possible. The first five novels in the series cover the assassination and trial of the conspirators.

In the first novel of the series, the assassination and funeral of Abraham Lincoln to the capture and torture of Jefferson Davis are covered.

There are a number of conspiracy theories covered in Book 6. “The Lincoln Assassination – Who Really Killed President Abraham Lincoln?”

What was the real cause of the civil war? Did Lincoln send orders with one of his generals to assassinate Davis? Did Jeff Davis send orders to kill Abraham Lincoln? Since the war was not officially over, did John Wilkes Booth act on orders from the Knights of the Golden Circle or from Clement Clay and the Secret Service in Montreal, Canada? Was Jefferson Davis really wearing a dress when captured in Georgia on May 10, 1865? Did John Wilkes Booth actually jump from the box where he shot Lincoln or did Henry Rathbone in his scuffle knock him off? What is the truth behind the reason there was no security guard guarding President Lincoln? Did Secretary Edwin Stanton of the War Department participate in the assassination of Lincoln?

I assure the readers right off the bat the hanging of Mary Surratt, in my opinion, was not justice in triumph. The Lincoln Assassination trial was marked by bribery, lies, perjury, and intimidation of the witnesses and defendants, including torture. If only Edman Spangler could tell you of his stay at the “Holiday Inn” on the USS Saugus.

In closing, let me tease you with my transformation into the shoes of Secretary Edwin Stanton. “I became bitter and upset of Lincoln after only writing a half chapter posing as a politically ambitious and ruthless cabinet member under Lincoln. My good friend, Colonel Lafayette Baker, does all my dirty work, including any information about my involvement in the assassination left in John Wilkes Booth red diary which never showed up on the evidence table in the courtroom during the trial. Even further, I tore out a number of pages and set them to fire and made sure the writings would never surface for anyone to read.

In concluding my summary of the first novel in the 150th Anniversary Series of the Lincoln Assassination, I jump into the Secretary of the Navy’s shoes, Secretary Gideon Welles, and almost immediately I am talking with my good friend Abe. “Mr. President, Stanton is “bad!”



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