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The Best Books You Never Read: Vol IV – Fiction – Ebers to Grant

A NEW Series from Fireship Press. The Best Books You Never Read Trying to decide which books to read next? This series is your answer. Hundreds of classic and quality books presented in summary form. Read a bit about each author, a summary of the book's plot or content, and then decide. Each summary reads like a short story. The series will include: Fiction, Lives and Letters, Ancient and Medieval History, Modern History, Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy and Economics, Science, Travel and Adventure, and more. VOLUME IV - FICTION - Ebers to Grant EBERS, GEORG - An Egyptian Princess EDGEWORTH, MARIE - Belinda - Castle Rackrent ELIOT, GEORGE - Adam Bede - Felix Holt - Romola - Silas Marner - The Mill on the Floss ERCKMANN-CHATRIAN - Waterloo FEUILLET, OCTAVE - Romance of a Poor Young Man FIELDING, HENRY - Amelia - Jonathan Wild - Joseph Andrews - Tom Jones FLAMMARION, CAMILLE - Urania FOUQUE, DE LA MOTTE - Undine GABORIAU, EMILE - File No. 113 GALT, JOHN - Annals of the Parish GASKELL, MRS. - Cranford - Mary Barton GODWIN, WILLIAM - Caleb Williams GOETHE - Sorrows of Young Werther - Wilhelm Meister GOLDSMITH, OLIVER - Vicar of Wakefield GONCOURT, EDMOND AND JULES - Renee Mauperin GRANT, JAMES - Bothwell
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Wings Over Cairo

When Jack McClelland joins the Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Ramsey in early 1941, he is one of a group of patriots who take to the air to defend Britain in the new Bristol Beaufighter. But he finds out the hard way that a thwarted senior officer can carry a
grudge, especially when a beautiful woman is at the heart of their rivalry. McClelland is sent to Egypt, and as love and war collide, he finds himself in an impossible situation: follow orders on a suicide mission, or disobey his commanding officer to accomplish the objective. Set in the early, desperate days of World War II, here is a tale of courage, romance, and the struggle to win over adversity, based on the actual exploits and misadventures of the men of the RAF's 272 Squadron.
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Wilderness Road (An American Trilogy Book 2)


A Road Opens Westward and a Frightening Past is Left Behind.

A handsome patent medicine peddler steals the heart of Lizzie Mueller, Heinrich Mueller’s daughter, who is intent on breaking 19th century constraints that anchor women to home and hearth. But when a diamond and pearl ring links him to two violent crimes, sending him to jail, the devastated Lizzie leaves Baltimore and returns to her family.

She marries a steady man for whom the Ohio frontier beckons. They leave a comfortable Maryland home to travel over the new National Road, funded in 1806 by the Federal Government, to encourage trade and settlement in the west.

With hard work and terrible losses they finally establish a backwoods homestead in the new state. But when her first love reappears, Lizzie is conflicted in ways she could never have imagined or anticipated.

Wilderness Road is a re-publication of an earlier work by Ms. Butler called: The Good Wife.
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WHY IS A COLONEL CALLED A “KERNAL”? The Origin of American Ranks and Insignia


“Short. Quick. Entertaining. A marvelously fun read!”

Raymond Oliver, then the Curator for the McClellan Aviation Museum (now the Aerospace Museum of California), was once asked by a colonel why her title was pronounced “kernal” and where her eagle insignia originated? That simple question began a quest to trace the development of various categories of rank. What began as a paper, however, soon developed into a booklet, which eventually wound up as this book.

Have you ever asked yourself questions like:

Why is Colonel pronounced “kernal”?
Why does a Lieutenant General outrank a Major General?
Why is Navy Captain a higher rank than Army-Air Force-Marine Captain?
Why do Sergeants wear chevrons?

If you are in the military, this book will give you a deeper appreciation for your rank and insignia—and you might find yourself wearing it with even more pride.

If you have not been in the service, or are a family member of one who is, this book might help to put an historical perspective on the often confusing layers of rank.

Either way: military, ex-military, soon-to-be military, friend or family... it’s a delight!
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Wellington’s Men


Wellington's Peninsula Campaign as told by
four soldiers who lived through it:
John Kincaid - Adventures in the Rifle Brigade
Benjamin Harris - Rifleman Harris
James Anton - Military Life
Cavalie Mercer - Waterloo

Wellington’s Men is perhaps best summarized by the words of the author in the opening sentence of the book.

“This volume is an attempt to rescue from undeserved oblivion a cluster of soldierly autobiographies; and to give to the general reader some pictures of famous battles, not as described by the historian or analysed by the philosopher, but as seen by the eyes of men who fought in them.”

Fitchett attempts that rescue with a brilliant rendering and analysis of parts of four biographies—written by two junior officers, a sergeant, and a private soldier. Each of these men were eye-witnesses to the major events of Wellington's Peninsula Campaign, and write about both what they saw, and what they thought about what they saw. They are the “...actual human documents, with the salt of truth, of sincerity, and of reality in every syllable.”

Each of these books are presented and discussed by one of the finest historians of his day: William Henry Fitchett.
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Washington’s Wolfpack: The Navy Before There Was A Navy


Historians tell us that the United States Navy was founded on October 13, 1775. But was it?

In the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the government employed a total 70 warships, carrying 1,800 guns and swivels. In those same two wars there were 1,300 privateers operating with almost 16,000 guns and swivels So, which was the real U.S. Navy?

In both wars the British didn't strategically fear our warships; they feared our privateers—a swarming collection of privately-owned armed ships who were, in effect, legalized pirates.

Yet everyone knows about the USS Constitution, the Constellation and the United States. But how many have heard of the Argo, the Chasseur and the True Blooded Yankee?

We honor the courage and daring of naval officers such as Truxtun, Decatur, Barney, Preble, and so on. But how many know that each of them were also once privateers?

Do you know about the audacious American privateer who posted a notice in Lloyd's Coffee House in London stating that, because he was now in their waters, all of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland should consider themselves under blockade?

Based on Maclay's 1899 edition of A History of American Privateers, Washington's Wolfpack is an exhaustive yet entertaining treatment of this little known chapter in American History.
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Victoria: Portrait of a Queen

The woman who ruled a nation and framed an Era. Alexandrina Victoria was conceived in a race between two disreputable, aging princes to beget an heir to the throne of England. She was only eighteen when she inherited the crown, twenty when she married her German cousin, Prince Albert, and eighty-one when she died in 1901. Her reign lasted sixty-three years and seven months-longer than any other British monarch. Strachey describes, with his characteristic flair, the politicians and courtiers who swarmed around this queen, exerting influence and shaping history. These included Melbourne, Palmerston, Gladstone, and Disraeli. Center stage, however, is the queen herself-stubborn, energetic, unthinkingly fierce in her loyalties, and with a determination to do good that was constantly at war with her pride of place. Queen Victoria, the Widow of Windsor, Empress of India. Meet the woman whose name became synonymous with an Age. Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Britain's Oldest Literary Award
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Under the Rising Sun: A Story of the Russo-Japanese War

Paul Swinburne, a young naval officer, is court martialed; but he refuses to testify on his own behalf. No one knows why. As a result, he is dismissed from the Royal Navy; and his hopes and dreams are shattered-or are they? The Japanese and the Russians are edging toward war, and the Japanese are sorely in need of trained naval officers. Swinburne is recruited and travels half-way around the world to fight for a country about which he knows little, and in a war about which he knows nothing. That, however, does not keep him from engaging in a series of breathtaking adventures and ultimately achieving great distinction. Making this book even more interesting is that it is one of the very few novels that is set during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War. Yet it was this war that established Japan as a serious military power in Asia; and, in effect, sewed the seeds for WW-II. William Joseph Cosens Lancaster was the son of a Royal Navy captain and educated at the Naval College, Greenwhich. Even though he had been at sea since the age of 15, he had to abandon a career in the Royal Navy because of severe myopia which kept him from clearly seeing anything more than a few hundred yards away. If he couldn't serve aboard ships, he could certainly write about them-producing 23 nautically-related novels over a 27 year career under the pseudonym: Harry Collingwood.
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Under the Meteor Flag: Log of a Midshipman During the Napoleonic Wars

William Joseph Cosens Lancaster was the son of a Royal Navy captain and educated at the Naval College, Greenwhich. Even though he had been at sea since the age of 15, he had to abandon a career in the Royal Navy because of severe myopia which kept him from clearly seeing anything more than a few hundred yards away. Undaunted, he became a marine engineer specializing in harbor design. He also became one of the most prolific writers of nautical fiction of his day. Between 1886 and 1913 he wrote 23 nautically-related novels under the pseudonym of "Harry Collingwood"-a name he derived from his hero Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, Nelson's second in command at Trafalgar. His most commercially successful book was The Pirate Island written in 1884; but Under the Meteor Flag, written the previous year, might be his most action-packed. It is the story of a young midshipman who, like many of Marryat's characters, is trying to make his way in the new and often incomprehensible world of the 18th Century Royal Navy. It is the story of the midshipman that Lancaster never was, but it is written by a man who literally spent his whole life dealing with the sea.
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Under Fire: The Story of a Squad

Under Fire: The Story of a Squad The most powerful, brutal, and vivid novel to come out of WW-I To the men of the French Sixth Battalion, war is not about bands playing and flags waving. It is about mud, lice, and death. It is about survival under the worst possible conditions, where a wound that put you in the hospital made you a lucky man. Under Fire was one of the first novels to come out of WW-I, being published even before the war was over. It's realism and intensity set the standard for the war novels to come, including Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, and Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. It's realism, however, is not manufactured. It was born out of the experiences of the author who began work on the novel literally while he was still in the trenches. The book has no plot in the traditional sense. It is a series of incidents woven together to present the reality of the war. It's power lies in the incredibly vivid pictures it presents. In 1916 it won the prestigious Goncourt Prize, given by the Académie Goncourt to the author of "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year" and is, even today, considered one of the great war novels of all time.
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