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Great Books of the World : Top 100 Non-Fiction Rachel

Great Books of the World

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100 titles sorted by popularity

  • The Bible, King James Version, Complete Contents Anonymous

    The King James Version , commonly known as the Authorized Version or King James Bible , is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611. First printed by the King's Printer Robert Barker, this was the third translation into English to be approved by the English Church authorities. The first was the Great Bible commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII, and the second was the Bishops' Bible of 1568. In January 1604, King James I convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England.

  • The Tao Teh King, or the Tao and its Characteristics Laozi

    The Tao Te Ching, Daodejing or Dao De Jing , also simply referred to as the Laozi, is a Chinese classic text. According to tradition, it was written around 6th century BC by the sage Laozi , a record-keeper at the Zhou dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China. The text's true authorship and date of composition or compilation are still debated, although the oldest excavated text dates back to the late 4th century BC.

  • The Koran (Al-Qur'an) J. M. Rodwell

    The Koran is the name of a translation of the Qur'an written by John Medows Rodwell. It uses a chronological method of sorting verses in the Koran. Rodwell's translation has not aged well with time and many find it inferior to other, more modern translations.

  • The Story of My Life Helen Keller

    Helen Adams Keller was a deaf and blind American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Her birthday on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, her 100th birthday.

  • The Art of War Sunzi (6th cent. BC)

    The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise attributed to Sun Tzu, a high-ranking military general, strategist and tactician. The text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare. It is commonly known to be the definitive work on military strategy and tactics of its time. It has been the most famous and influential of China's Seven Military Classics, and "for the last two thousand years it remained the most important military treatise in Asia, where even the common people knew it by name." It has had an influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy and beyond.

  • The Pursuit of God A. W. Tozer

    Aiden Wilson Tozer was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. For his work, he received two honorary doctorate degrees.

  • Thus Spake Zarathustra Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None is a philosophical novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885. Much of the work deals with ideas such as the "eternal recurrence of the same", the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Übermensch, which were first introduced in The Gay Science.

  • The Republic Plato

    The Republic is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man. It is Plato's best-known work and has proven to be one of the most intellectually and historically influential works of philosophy and political theory.

  • As a Man Thinketh James Allen

    Complete Original Text of the Best Selling Inspirational Classic - Millions of Copies Sold Worldwide.

  • Autobiography of a Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda

    Paramahansa Yogananda , born Mukunda Lal Ghosh, was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi.

  • The Prince Niccolò Machiavelli

    The Prince is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus . However, the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death. This was done with the permission of the Medici pope Clement VII, but "long before then, in fact since the first appearance of the Prince in manuscript, controversy had swirled about his writings".

  • On the Origin of Species Charles Darwin

    On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. For the sixth edition of 1872, the short title was changed to The Origin of Species. Darwin's book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution.

  • Meditations Emperor of Rome Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus' death in 169. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.

  • Walden Henry David Thoreau

    Walden is an American book written by noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. First published in 1854, it details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. The book compresses the time into a single calendar year and uses passages of four seasons to symbolize human development.

  • A Modest Proposal Jonathan Swift

    A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general.

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass

    Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by famous orator and former slave, Frederick Douglass. It is generally held to be the most famous of a number of narratives written by former slaves during the same period. In factual detail, the text describes the events of his life and is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States.

  • The Souls of Black Folk W. E. B. Du Bois

    The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work of American literature by W. E. B. Du Bois. It is a seminal work in the history of sociology, and a cornerstone of African-American literary history.

  • Civil Disobedience Henry David Thoreau

    Resistance to Civil Government is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.

  • The Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton

    The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October of 1787 and August 1788. A compilation of these and eight others, called The Federalist; or, The New Constitution, was published in two volumes in 1788 by J. and A. McLean. The series' correct title is The Federalist; the title The Federalist Papers did not emerge until the twentieth century.

  • Apology, Crito, and Phaedo of Socrates Plato

    Perdóname, Marco. The Apology is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" . "Apology" here has its earlier meaning of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions .

  • The history of Herodotus Herodotus

    The Histories of Herodotus is now considered as the founding work of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known around the Mediterranean and Western Asia at that time. It is not an impartial record but it remains one of the West's most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it established without precedent the genre and study of history in the Western world, although historical records and chronicles existed beforehand.

  • Symposium Plato

    The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–380 BC. It concerns itself at one level with the genesis, purpose and nature of love, and is the origin of the concept of Platonic love.

  • Le Mort d'Arthur: Volume 1 Sir Malory, Thomas

    Le Morte d'Arthur is a compilation by Sir Thomas Malory of Romance tales about the legendary King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table. Malory interprets existing French and English stories about these figures and adds original material . First published in 1485 by William Caxton, Le Morte d'Arthur is today perhaps the best-known work of Arthurian literature in English. Many modern Arthurian writers have used Malory as their principal source, including T. H. White in his popular The Once and Future King and Tennyson in The Idylls of the King.

  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet A. Jacobs

    Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a slave narrative that was published in 1861 by Harriet Ann Jacobs, using the pen name "Linda Brent." The book is an in-depth chronological account of Jacobs's life as a slave, and the decisions and choices she made to gain freedom for herself and her children. It addresses the struggles and sexual abuse that young women slaves faced on the plantations, and how these struggles were harsher than what men suffered as slaves. The book is considered sentimental and written to provoke an emotional response and sympathy from the reader toward slavery in general and slave women in particular for their struggles with rape, the pressure to have sex at an early age, the selling of their children, and the treatment of female slaves by their mistresses.

  • The Imitation of Christ à Kempis Thomas

    The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis is a Christian devotional book. It was first composed in Latin ca.1418-1427. It is a handbook for spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna movement, where Kempis was a member.

  • Apology Plato

    Perdóname, Marco. The Apology is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" . "Apology" here has its earlier meaning of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions .

  • The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Sainte Thérèse, de Lisieux

    Beloved as "the Little Flower of Jesus," Marie-Fran oise-Th r se Martin-or SAINT TH R SE OF LISIEUX (1873-1897)-is remembered today for this, her spiritual autobiography. Before her too-young death from tuberculosis at the age of 24, she put down in words her simple yet profound approach to the worship of God, called her "little way," a philosophy of everyday goodness and appreciation of life and nature that anyone may follow. Remarkably, her deep piety grew from her own life-long suffering, from the loss of her mother at age four to her own ill health, and through them her dedication to obedience of and surrender to God's will.A favorite of spiritual seekers, this is a lovely work of devotion and prayfulness.

  • The Writings of Thomas Paine Thomas Paine

    Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination".

  • Essays of Michel de Montaigne Michel de Montaigne

    Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre, and commonly thought of as the father of modern skepticism. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual exercises with casual anecdotes and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers all over the world, including René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer, Isaac Asimov, and possibly on the later works of William Shakespeare.

  • Fox's Book of Martyrs John Foxe

    The Actes and Monuments, popularly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, is a work of Protestant history and martyrology by John Foxe, first published in English in 1563 by John Day. It includes a polemical account of the sufferings of Protestants under the Catholic Church, with particular emphasis on England and Scotland. The book was highly influential in those countries, and helped shape lasting popular notions of Catholicism there. The book went through four editions in Foxe's lifetime and a number of later editions and abridgements, including some that specifically reduced the text to a Book of Martyrs.

  • The Confessions of St. Augustine Bishop of Hippo Augustine, Saint

    Confessions is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written in Latin between CE 397 and CE 398. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confessions of St. Augustine in order to distinguish the book from other books with similar titles. Its original title was "Confessions in Thirteen Books," and it was composed to be read out loud with each book being a complete unit.

  • Relativity : the Special and General Theory Albert Einstein

    The theory of relativity, or simply relativity in physics, usually encompasses two theories by Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity.

  • The Ethics of Aristotle Aristotle

    Ethics as a subject has been studied under great influence of works of Aristotle, and his treatment of a philosophical question which had been raised by his predecessors Socrates and Plato. In its original form, this subject is concerned with the human aim of having virtue of character , or in other words having excellent and well-chosen habits. The acquisition of an excellent character is in turn aimed at living well and eudaimonia a Greek word often translated as well-being, happiness or "human flourishing". In other words, ethics is a systematic study of how individuals should best live. This study was originally coupled with the closely related study of politics, including law-making. Politics has an effect on how people are brought up, which therefore addresses the same question of how people should live, but from the standpoint of the community. The original Aristotelian and Socratic answer to the question of how best to live was to live the life of philosophy and contemplation.

  • The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci Leonardo da Vinci

    Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci ; April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519, Old Style) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination". He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote". Marco Rosci states that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.

  • Politics: A Treatise on Government Aristotle

    Aristotle's Politics is a work of political philosophy. The end of the Nicomachean Ethics declared that the inquiry into ethics necessarily follows into politics, and the two works are frequently considered to be parts of a larger treatise, or perhaps connected lectures, dealing with the "philosophy of human affairs." The title of the Politics literally means "the things concerning the polis."

  • Common Sense Thomas Paine

    Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. In clear, simple language it explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time , it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.

  • The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce

    The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical "reference" book written by Ambrose Bierce. The book offers reinterpretations of terms in the English language, lampooning cant and political doublespeak, as well as other aspects of human foolishness and frailty. It was originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book before being retitled in 1911. Modern "unabridged" versions that include Bierce "definitions" that were for various reasons missed by earlier editions continue to be popular a century later.

  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin

    The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for the unfinished record of his own life written by Benjamin Franklin from 1771 to 1790; however, Franklin himself appears to have called the work his Memoirs. Although it had a tortuous publication history after Franklin's death, this work has become one of the most famous and influential examples of an autobiography ever written.

  • Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville

    De la démocratie en Amérique is a classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville. Its title translates as On Democracy in America, but English translations are usually entitled simply Democracy in America. In the book, Tocqueville examines the democratic revolution that he believed had been occurring over the past seven hundred years.

  • The Essays of "George Eliot" George Eliot

    Mary Anne Evans , known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist, and translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede , The Mill on the Floss , Silas Marner , Middlemarch , and Daniel Deronda , most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.

  • The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Complete Suetonius

    As private secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, Suetonius gained access to the imperial archives and used them (along with carefully gathered eye-witness accounts) to produce one of the most colourful biographical works in history. 'The Twelve Caesars' chronicles the public careers and private lives of the men who wielded absolute power over Rome, from the foundation of the empire under Julius Caesar and Augustus, to the decline into depravity and civil war under Nero, and the recovery and stability that came with his successors. A masterpiece of anecdote, wry observation and detailed physical description, 'The Twelve Caesars' presents us with a gallery of vividly drawn - and all too human - individuals.

  • Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

    Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits is a book by 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1878. A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims , was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow , followed in 1880.

  • Up from Slavery: an autobiography Booker T. Washington

    Up from Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his personal experiences in working to rise from the position of a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an education at the new Hampton University, to his work establishing vocational schools—most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama—to help black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills and work to pull themselves, as a race, up by the bootstraps. He reflects on the generosity of both teachers and philanthropists who helped in educating blacks and native Americans. He describes his efforts to instill manners, breeding, health and a feeling of dignity to students. His educational philosophy stresses combining academic subjects with learning a trade . Washington explained that the integration of practical subjects is partly designed to reassure the white community as to the usefulness of educating black people.

  • The History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides

    The History of the Peloponnesian War is a historical account of the Peloponnesian War, which was fought between the Peloponnesian League and the Delian League . It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian historian who also happened to serve as an Athenian general during the war. His account of the conflict is widely considered to be a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The Histories are divided into eight books by editors of later antiquity.

  • The Critique of Pure Reason Immanuel Kant

    The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, is one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. Also referred to as Kant's "first critique," it was followed in 1788 by the Critique of Practical Reason and in 1790 by the Critique of Judgment. In the preface to the first edition Kant explains what he means by a critique of pure reason: "I do not mean by this a critique of books and systems, but of the faculty of reason in general, in respect of all knowledge after which it may strive independently of all experience."

  • An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations Adam Smith

    An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, , is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. Through reflection over the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution the book touches upon broad topics as the division of labour, productivity and free markets.

  • Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature William James

    The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature is a book by Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William James. It comprises his edited Gifford Lectures on natural theology, which were delivered at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1901 and 1902.

  • My Bondage and My Freedom Frederick Douglass

    My Bondage and My Freedom is an autobiographical slave narrative written by Frederick Douglass and published in 1855. It is the second of three autobiographies written by Douglass, and is mainly an expansion of his first , discussing in greater detail his transition from bondage to liberty. Following his liberation, Douglass, a former slave, went on to become a prominent abolitionist, speaker, author, and publisher.

  • De Profundis Oscar Wilde

    De Profundis is an epistle written by Oscar Wilde during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol, to Lord Alfred Douglas. During its first half Wilde recounts their previous relationship and extravagant lifestyle which eventually led to Wilde's conviction and imprisonment for gross indecency. He indicts both Lord Alfred's vanity and his own weakness in acceding to those wishes. In the second half, Wilde charts his spiritual development in prison and identification with Jesus Christ, whom he characterises as a romantic, individualist artist.

  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding David Hume

    An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is a book by the Scottish empiricist philosopher David Hume, published in 1748. It was a revision of an earlier effort, Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature, published anonymously in London in 1739–40. Hume was disappointed with the reception of the Treatise, which "fell dead-born from the press," as he put it, and so tried again to disseminate his more developed ideas to the public by writing a shorter and more polemical work.

  • Nature Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Nature is an essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published anonymously in 1836. It is in this essay that the foundation of transcendentalism is put forth, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature. Transcendentalism suggests that divinity suffuses all nature, and speaks to the notion that we can only understand reality through studying nature. A visit to the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris inspired a set of lectures delivered in Boston and subsequently the ideas leading to the publication of Nature.

  • Pascal's Pens Blaise Pascal

    Intended to convert religiously indifferent readers to Christianity, Pensées were published posthumously, to wide and ongoing acclaim. This selection of highlights focuses on their secular aspects. Written in support of the Jansenist movement, Provincial Letters captivated a large audience with their satirical wit, righteous indignation, and effervescent style. This is the only dual-language edition available.

  • South! The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition, 1914-1917; Includes both text and audio files Sir Shackleton, Ernest Henry

    Sir Ernest Shackleton's astonishing memoir of his 1914 Antarctic expedition explores human courage, tenacity and an unflagging hope in the face of adversity. South remains one of the greatest adventures of the twentieth century.

  • The Golden Bough: A Study of Magic and Religion James George Frazer

    The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It was first published in two volumes in 1890; in three volumes in 1900; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes. The work was aimed at a wide literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes .

  • Leviathan Thomas Hobbes

    Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil — commonly referred to as Leviathan — is a book written by Thomas Hobbes and published in 1651. Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan. The work concerns the structure of society and legitimate government, and is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory. Leviathan ranks as a classic western work on statecraft comparable to Machiavelli's The Prince. Written during the English Civil War , Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and the brute situation of a state of nature could only be avoided by strong undivided government.

  • Life on the Mississippi Mark Twain

    Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain of his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War, and also a travel book, recounting his trip along the Mississippi from St. Louis to New Orleans many years after the War.

  • The Golden Asse Lucius Apuleius

    Apuleius was a Latin-language prose writer. He was a Numidian Berber and lived during the Roman period. He was from Madaurus . He studied Platonist philosophy in Athens; travelled to Italy, Asia Minor and Egypt; and was an initiate in several cults or mysteries. The most famous incident in his life was when he was accused of using magic to gain the attentions of a wealthy widow. He declaimed and then distributed a witty tour de force in his own defense before the proconsul and a court of magistrates convened in Sabratha, near ancient Tripoli, Libya. This is known as the Apologia.

  • Phaedo Plato

    Plato's Phaedo is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato's fourth and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days, following Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito.

  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Mary Wollstonecraft

    A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects , written by the 18th-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who did not believe women should have an education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men.

  • The Innocents Abroad Mark Twain

    The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims' Progress is a travel book by American author Mark Twain published in 1869 which humorously chronicles what Twain called his "Great Pleasure Excursion" on board the chartered vessel Quaker City through Europe and the Holy Land with a group of American travelers in 1867. It was the best selling of Twain's works during his lifetime and one of the best selling travel books of all time.

  • Sailing Alone Around the World Joshua Slocum

    Joshua Slocum was the first man to sail alone around the world. It was a feat that made him the "patron saint" of small boat sailors everywhere. His voyage, retold in Sailing Alone Around the World, took place from 1895 to 1898. It made Slocum and his little boat Spray forever famous. Rod Scher received his M.Ed. from the University of Oregon. A longtime boating enthusiast, writer, and former English teacher, he is currently VP of Technology for Class.com. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

  • Second Treatise of Government John Locke

    The Second Treatise is notable for a number of themes which Locke develops therein. It begins with a depiction of the state of nature, wherein individuals are under no obligation to obey one another but are each themselves judge of what the law of nature requires. It also covers conquest and slavery, property, representative government, and the right of revoluti

  • The Worst Journey in the World Apsley Cherry-Garrard

    Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard was an English explorer of Antarctica. He was a survivor of the Terra Nova Expedition and is acclaimed for his historical account of this expedition, The Worst Journey in the World Born in Lansdowne Road, Bedford, as Apsley George Benet Cherry, the son and eldest child of Major General Apsley Cherry of Denford Park in Berkshire and his wife, Evelyn Edith , daughter of Henry Wilson Sharpin of Bedford. He was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford where he read Classics and Modern History. While at Oxford he rowed in the 1908 Christ Church crew which won the Grand Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta.

  • The Consolation of Philosophy Boethius

    Consolation of Philosophy is a philosophical work by Boethius, written around the year 524. It has been described as the single most important and influential work in the West on Medieval and early Renaissance Christianity, and is also the last great Western work of the Classical Period.

  • The Problems of Philosophy Bertrand Russell

    The Problems of Philosophy is one of Bertrand Russell's attempts to create a brief and accessible guide to the problems of philosophy. Focusing on problems he believes will provoke positive and constructive discussion, Russell concentrates on knowledge rather than metaphysics: If it is uncertain that external objects exist, how can we then have knowledge of them but by probability. There is no reason to doubt the existence of external objects simply because of sense data.

  • A Treatise of Human Nature David Hume

    A Treatise of Human Nature is a book by Scottish philosopher David Hume, first published in 1739–1740.

  • Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius Niccolò Machiavelli

    Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He was for many years an official in the Florentine Republic, with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He was a founder of modern political science, and more specifically political ethics. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned in the Italian language. He was Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. He wrote his masterpiece, The Prince, after the Medici had recovered power and he no longer held a position of responsibility in Florence.

  • Plutarch: Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans Plutarch

    Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is considered today to be a Middle Platonist.

  • Roughing It Mark Twain

    Roughing It is a book of semi-autobiographical travel literature written by American humorist Mark Twain. It was written during 1870–71 and published in 1872 as a prequel to his first book Innocents Abroad. This book tells of Twain's adventures prior to his pleasure cruise related in Innocents Abroad.

  • Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences René Descartes

    The Discourse on the Method is a philosophical and autobiographical treatise published by René Descartes in 1637. Its full name is Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences . The Discourse on The Method is best known as the source of the famous quotation "Je pense, donc je suis" , which occurs in Part IV of the work.

  • In Praise of Folly Desiderius Erasmus

    In Praise of Folly ; Dutch title: Lof der Zotheid) is an essay written in Latin in 1509 by Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam and first printed in 1511. The essay was inspired by De Triumpho Stultitiae, written by the Italian humanist Faustino Perisauli, born at Tredozio, near Forlì.

  • Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill

    John Stuart Mill, FRSE was an English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. He was an influential contributor to social theory, political theory and political economy. He has been called "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century". Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham. Hoping to remedy the problems found in an inductive approach to science, such as confirmation bias, he clearly set forth the premises of falsifiability as the key component in the scientific method. Mill was also a Member of Parliament and an important figure in liberal political philosophy.

  • Anabasis Xenophon

    Anabasis is the most famous work, in seven books, of the Greek professional soldier and writer Xenophon. The journey it narrates is his best known accomplishment and "one of the great adventures in human history," as Will Durant expressed the common assessment.

  • Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals Immanuel Kant

    Fundamental Principles for the Metaphysics of Morals, is the first of Immanuel Kant's mature works on moral philosophy and remains one of the most influential in the field. Kant conceives his investigation as a work of foundational ethics - one that clears the ground for future research by explaining the core concepts and principles of moral theory and showing that they are normative for rational agents. Kant aspires to nothing less than this: to lay bare the fundamental principle of morality and show that it applies to us.

  • Anarchism and Other Essays Emma Goldman

    Anarchism and Other Essays is a book by the anarchist Emma Goldman, first published in 1910 by Mother Earth Publishing Association.

  • Gorgias Plato

    Gorgias is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC. In this dialogue, Socrates seeks the true definition of rhetoric, attempting to pinpoint the essence of rhetoric and unveil the flaws of the sophistic oratory popular in Athens at this time. The art of persuasion was widely considered necessary for political and legal advantage in classical Athens, and rhetoricians promoted themselves as teachers of this fundamental skill. To Socrates, most rhetoric in practice is merely flattery. In order to use rhetoric for good, rhetoric cannot exist alone; it must depend on philosophy to guide its morality. Socrates, therefore, believes that morality is not inherent in rhetoric and that without philosophy, rhetoric is simply used to persuade for personal gain.

  • Phaedrus Plato

    The Phaedrus , written by Plato, is a dialogue between Plato's main protagonist, Socrates, and Phaedrus, an interlocutor in several dialogues. The Phaedrus was presumably composed around 370 BC, around the same time as Plato's Republic and Symposium. Although ostensibly about the topic of love, the discussion in the dialogue revolves around the art of rhetoric and how it should be practiced, and dwells on subjects as diverse as metempsychosis and erotic love.

  • Theaetetus Plato

    The Theaetetus is one of Plato's dialogues concerning the nature of knowledge, written circa 369 BC. The framing of the dialogue begins when Euclides tells his friend Terpsion that he had written a book many years ago based on what Socrates had told him of a conversation he had with Theaetetus when Theaetetus was quite a young man.

  • Meno Plato

    Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. It attempts to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning virtue in general, rather than particular virtues, such as justice or temperance. The first part of the work is written in the Socratic dialectical style and Meno is reduced to confusion or aporia. In response to Meno's paradox , however, Socrates introduces positive ideas: the immortality of the soul, the theory of knowledge as recollection , which Socrates demonstrates by posing a mathematical puzzle to one of Meno's slaves, the method of hypothesis, and, in the final lines, the distinction between knowledge and true belief.

  • "The Kingdom of God Is Within You" Leo Tolstoy

    The Kingdom of God Is Within You is the non-fiction magnum opus of Leo Tolstoy. The book was first published in Germany in 1894 after being banned in his home country of Russia. It is the culmination of thirty years of Tolstoy's Christian anarchist thinking, and lays out a new organization for society based on a literal Christian interpretation.

  • The Descent of Man Charles Darwin

    The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex is a book on evolutionary theory by English naturalist Charles Darwin, first published in 1871. It was Darwin's second book on evolutionary theory, following his 1859 work, On the Origin of Species. In The Descent of Man, Darwin applies evolutionary theory to human evolution, and details his theory of sexual selection. The book discusses many related issues, including evolutionary psychology, evolutionary ethics, differences between human races, differences between sexes, the dominant role of women in choosing mating partners, and the relevance of the evolutionary theory to society.

  • French Mediaeval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France 12th cent. Marie, de France

    The lais of Marie de France are a series of twelve short narrative Breton lais by the poet Marie de France. They are written in the Anglo-Norman and were probably composed in the late 12th century. The short, narrative poems generally focus on glorifying the concept of courtly love through the adventures of their main characters. Despite her stature in Anglo-Norman literature and medieval French literature generally, little is known of Marie herself, though it is thought that she was born in France and wrote in England.

  • Orthodoxy G. K. Chesterton

    Orthodoxy is a book by G. K. Chesterton that has become a classic of Christian apologetics. Chesterton considered this book a companion to his other work, Heretics. In the book's preface Chesterton states the purpose is to "attempt an explanation, not of whether the Christian faith can be believed, but of how he personally has come to believe it." In it, Chesterton presents an original view of Christian religion. He sees it as the answer to natural human needs, the "answer to a riddle" in his own words, and not simply as an arbitrary truth received from somewhere outside the boundaries of human experience.

  • A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud

    Introduction to Psychoanalysis is one of the most famous works of Sigmund Freud, calculated for a wide readership. In its first part Freud enthusiastically outlines his approach to the unconscious, dreams, the theory of neuroses and some technical issues in the form in which it was formulated at the time of reading the lectures in Vienna in 1916-1917. From some positions outlined here Freud subsequently refused, many supplements and develops or revises in his later works. The second part has never been read before to public, it features a different style of presentation, sometimes requiring the reader to training, sometimes polemical.

  • An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals David Hume

    An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals is a book by Scottish enlightenment philosopher David Hume. In it, Hume argues that the foundations of morals lie with sentiment, not reason.

  • Tender Buttons Gertrude Stein

    This edition of the legendary classic of 20th-century prose poetry is the second edition since its original publication in 1914 by Claire Marie (Donald Evans). This new Green Integer edition reveals the original form and structure of Stein's geat work. Stein's writing is as startlingly fresh as if published last month-or tomorrow. Here objects, food, and rooms come into new perspective in Stein's wonderfully original language. Everywhere and everything in Tender Buttons is a de-licious linguistic concoction.

  • The Book of Tea Kakuzo Okakura

    The Philosophy of Tea is not mere aestheticism in the ordinary acceptance of the term, for it expresses conjointly with ethics and religion our whole point of view about man and nature. It is hygiene, for it enforces cleanliness; it is economics, for it shows comfort in simplicity rather than in the complex and costly; it is moral geometry, inasmuch as it defines our sense of proportion to the universe. It represents the true spirit of Eastern democracy by making all its votaries aristocrats in taste. (from "The Book of Tea")

  • Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion David Hume

    Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion is a philosophical work by the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Through dialogue, three philosophers named Demea, Philo , and Cleanthes of Assos debate the nature of God's existence. While all three agree that a god exists, they differ sharply in opinion on God's nature or attributes and how, or if, humankind can come to knowledge of a deity.

  • Euthyphro Plato

    Euthyphro is one of Plato's early dialogues, dated to after 399 BC. Taking place during the weeks leading up to Socrates' trial, the dialogue features Socrates and Euthyphro, a religious expert also mentioned at Cratylus 396a and 396d, attempting to define piety or holiness.

  • Walking Henry David Thoreau

    "Walking" is an essay written by Henry David Thoreau, . Between 1851 and 1860 Thoreau read the piece a total of ten times, more than any other of his lectures. He considered it one of his seminal works, so much so, that he once wrote of the lecture, "I regard this as a sort of introduction to all that I may write hereafter." Thoreau constantly reworked and revised the piece throughout the 1850s.

  • Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, Complete Ulysses S. Grant

    Completed just days before his death and hailed by Mark Twain as "the most remarkable work of its kind since the Commentaries of Julius Caesar," this is the now-legendary autobiography of ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT (1822-1885), 18th president of the United States and the Union general who led the North to victory in the Civil War. Though Grant opens with tales of his boyhood, his education at West Point, and his early military career in the Mexican-American war of the 1840s, it is Grant's intimate observations on the conduct of the Civil War, which make up the bulk of the work, that have made this required reading for history students, military strategists, and Civil War buffs alike.

  • Etiquette Emily Post

    Emily Post was an American author famous for writing on etiquette.

  • Bushido, the Soul of Japan Inazo Nitobe

    Bushido: The Soul of Japan written by Inazo Nitobe is, along with the classic text Hagakure by Tsunetomo Yamamoto , a study of the way of the samurai. A best-seller in its day, it was read by many influential foreigners, among them President Theodore Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy and Robert Baden-Powell. It may well have shaped Baden-Powell's ideas on the Boy Scout movement he founded.

  • Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Introduction by Mary Oliver Commentary by Henry James, Robert Frost, Matthew Arnold, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry David Thoreau The definitive collection of Emerson’s major speeches, essays, and poetry, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson chronicles the life’s work of a true “American Scholar.” As one of the architects of the transcendentalist movement, Emerson embraced a philosophy that championed the individual, emphasized independent thought, and prized “the splendid labyrinth of one’s own perceptions.” More than any writer of his time, he forged a style distinct from his European predecessors and embodied and defined what it meant to be an American. Matthew Arnold called Emerson’s essays “the most important work done in prose.” INCLUDES A MODERN LIBRARY READING GROUP GUIDE From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Boswell's Life of Johnson James Boswell

    The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. is a biography of Dr. Samuel Johnson written by James Boswell. It is regarded as an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography; many have claimed it as the greatest biography written in English. While Boswell's personal acquaintance with his subject only began in 1763, when Johnson was 54 years old, Boswell covered the entirety of Johnson's life by means of additional research. The biography takes many critical liberties with Johnson's life, as Boswell makes various changes to Johnson's quotations and even censors many comments. Regardless of these actions, modern biographers have found Boswell's biography as an important source of information on Johnson and his times. The work was popular among early audiences and with modern critics, but some of the modern critics believe that the work cannot be considered a proper biography.

  • The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire Edward Gibbon

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is Edward Gibbon's magnum opus, written and published over a 13-year period beginning in 1776. It not only chronicles the events of the downfall starting with the end of the rule of Marcus Aurelius, but proposes a theory as to why Rome collapsed: the populace, Gibbon theorizes, lost its moral fortitude, its militaristic will, and its sense of civic duty.

  • Theory of the Leisure Class Thorstein Veblen

    The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions , by Thorstein Veblen, is an economic treatise and detailed social critique of conspicuous consumption, as a function of social-class consumerism, which proposes that the social strata and the division of labor of the feudal period continued into the modern era. The lords of the manor employed themselves in the economically useless practices of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure, whilst the middle and lower classes were employed in the industrial occupations that support the whole of society; economically wasteful activities are those activities that do not contribute to the economy or to the material productivity required for the fruitful functioning of society. Veblen's analyses of business cycles and prices, and of the emergent technocratic division of labor by speciality at the beginning of the 20th century proved to be accurate predictions of the nature of an industrial society.

  • Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex Sigmund Freud

    Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality , sometimes titled Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, is a 1905 work by Sigmund Freud which advanced his theory of sexuality, in particular its relation to childhood.

  • The Anatomy of Melancholy Robert Burton

    The Anatomy of Melancholy is a book by Robert Burton, first published in 1621.

  • The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    The Confessions is an autobiographical book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In modern times, it is often published with the title The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in order to distinguish it from Saint Augustine's Confessions. Covering the first fifty-three years of Rousseau's life, up to 1765, it was completed in 1769, but not published until 1782, four years after Rousseau's death, even though Rousseau did read excerpts of his manuscript publicly at various salons and other meeting places.

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