Robert Louis Stevenson’s charming account of a twelve-day hike he made on foot in 1878, accompanied by his stubborn and self-willed donkey Modestine, across the wild country of the Cévennes in south-central France, stopping for four days at a secluded Trappist monastery where the monks were sworn to silence – except to talk with visitors when they were very voluble indeed – and continuing, almost always sleeping in the wild, through the mountainous area of the Cévennes that had been a (...)
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"Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes" by Robert Louis Stevenson (1879)
27 June, by Robert Louis Stevenson
"Letter to Father" (1919) by Franz Kafka
21 October 2022, by Franz Kafka
The long letter that Kafka wrote to his father to explain why he’d always had so much difficulty communicating with him. An extraordinary document told from the heart by a son who may not have been as good a talker as his domineering and self-assured father, but who sure knew how to put words together in a flowing, expressive, forceful and moving way.
Written when Kafka was thirty-five years old, it was never actually delivered and was found in his papers after his death from (...)
"Anabasis, or The Retreat of the Ten Thousand", by Xenophon
21 March 2022, by Xenophon
The dramatic account by Xenophon (430-355 BC), an Athenian philosopher, author, soldier and student of Socrates, of the expedition – that he participated in and eventually led – of an elite force of Greek soldiers into the heart of Persia on behalf of one of the contestants to the throne there, and how after the failure of their intervention they passed through the heartland of that Empire through the mountains of Armenia and along the Black Sea to return to their homeland, fighting (...)
"Commentaries on the Gallic War" by Julius Caesar
14 February 2022, by Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar’s account of his military campaign from 58-52 B.C. that integrated Gaul – and Britain – into the Roman Empire. A remarkably vivid, dramatic and on the whole accurate account of a particularly important episode in European history, written with the clarity, style and forcefulness that has established this text as one of the most famous historical documents of all time.
A monument of Roman and world literature.
Translated and extensively annotated by the distinguished (...)
"Homage to Catalonia" (1938) by George Orwell
10 May 2021, by George Orwell
George Orwell, a convinced left-wing socialist, went to Barcelona in December 1936 to join the forces in Catalonia fighting against the military uprising led by the General Franco. He joined the extreme-left party P.O.U.M. there and spent six months on duty in their section of the front line before being seriously wounded.
He was present in Barcelona when there was severe internecine fighting between the Communist-led government forces and Anarchist and P.O.U.M. militiamen that ended (...)
"Down and Out in Paris and London" (1933) by George Orwell
6 May 2021, by George Orwell
George Orwell (1903-1950) was a passionate defender all his life of the underdogs in the society of his time, and in spite of his background as a member of the upper middle class — he was well educated and spoke with a “posh” accent — spent several years in his late twenties working as a dishwasher in Paris restaurants and hotels and also just tramping about England for months on end without a penny in his pocket, observing and experiencing for himself the ways and the language and the (...)
"Typee" (1846) by Herman Melville - a fascinating account of life in a South Sea island before the spread of Western civilization
1 May 2019, by Herman Melville
This account of his four-months stay among the fiercest tribe in the remote Marquesas Island of Nukuheva was Herman Melville’s first book, and its enormous success – it was the best-selling of all his books during his lifetime – was essential in deciding the future author of the monumental “Moby Dick” to become a full-time writer.
A young sailor at the time on a whale-boat that had stopped off there to replenish its supplies, just a few weeks after the French has sent a full squadron of (...)
"Children of Yesterday" – Jan Valtin’s dramatic eyewitness account of the Pacific War in the Philippines 1944-45
21 November 2017, by Jan Valtin
After the quite phenomenal success of his monumental political memoir Out of the Night in 1941 , Richard Krebs (nom-de-plume: Jan Valtin) was arrested and tried for an attempted (political) murder he was accused of having committed in the twenties – for which he was acquitted – in 1942, and then in 1943 he was drafted into the US Army, which sent this expert on German affairs, after training, to the Pacific front.
Where he served as a combat reporter with the crack 24th Infantry (...)
"Out of the Night" (1941) by Jan Valtin – an extraordinary memoir of life in the international Communist movement between the two World Wars
26 April 2017, by Jan Valtin
This is the memoir of a militant and full-time party worker in the German Communist Party (KPD) and in the Comintern – the international organization of all the Communist parties in the world – in the twenties and thirties, this is a first-hand account of many of the dramatic events that shaped the future of Germany and the world between the two World Wars, this is an adventure story that has to be read to be believed, this is an autobiography that is so packed out with dialogues and (...)
Jack London’s in-depth exploration of the (shocking) living conditions in London’s East End: "The People of the Abyss" (1903)
2 December 2016, by Jack London
see=> "The People of the Abyss".