China and the Chinese by Herbert Allen Giles (1902)

When I initially saw the title of this book, I almost passed it by. Every book from a hundred years ago in which a European scholar explains some foreign culture is likely to be offensive. It is easy to see a group of people acting differently from yourself and assume that they are inferior. This is an ignorant habit but a common one especially when this was written. Inside this book, which is really a collection of speeches, the author does an amazing job of bucking that trend. He spends a large portion of the book defending the Chinese people and batting down the irresponsible slander spread about them. I specifically enjoyed the section on the Chinese language.

In this book you will find a collection of six lectures on China given by Herbert Allen Giles at Columbia University, New York in 1902. Herbert Allen Giles touches on the language, government, religion, and literature of the Chinese. The book is compact and dense with factual information. It may be dry for the uninterested but will be enjoyable to the inquiring mind. If you already have an interest in history and Chinese culture, I suggest you check out China and the Chinese.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/china-and-the-chinese-by-herbert-allen-giles/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18021

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Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases by Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1892)

This leaflet is a chilling reminder of America’s past when lynchings were commonplace. The author cited multiple newspaper articles that apologized for and encouraged the lynchings without trial. The unethical press distorted the facts to reinforce the 19th century beliefs of black inferiority and barbarism. To make matters worse black newspapers were pushed out of business for publishing articles condemning the unfair lynchings. The darkest point comes at the end when the author suggested that every black man should own a Winchester rifle to protect himself from the police and the lynching mobs. She cited multiple cases where the only reason an accused black man had a fair trial was by some desperate act of self defense. Learn from history by reading Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/southern-horrors-by-ida-b-wells/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14975

The Great Taxicab Robbery by James H. Collins (1912)

Here is a glimpse into the daily routine of New York Police Department and the lives of a band of criminals over a hundred years ago. Two things caught my eye throughout the story, sensational journalism and dubious lie detection. Multiple times the author criticizes the New York press for overreacting to the absence of immediate arrests and visible police investigation. A smart reminder that newspapers and periodicals were just as likely to print half true, provocative headlines in the past as they do today. At the end of the story watch for some unscientific lie detection. The commissioner seems aware that these devices and ruses are bogus. Instead, these “lie detectors” are used as psychological leverage during interrogation.

A sensation swept through New York City on February 15, 1912. In the middle of the day, a taxi carrying $25,000 from bank to bank was stopped and robbed. Five men were seen escaping with the money in an unidentified black motorcar. Slowly and methodically the case is solved and all the criminals involved are arrested. See the world through the eyes of the police force by reading this account of The Great Taxicab Robbery.

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-great-taxicab-robbery-by-james-h-collins/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/53145

Mob Rule in New Orleans by Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1900)

This is a disturbing read. With incredible directness and absence of colorful language this little pamphlet describes the horrible events committed by mobs in and around New Orleans. The utter disregard for the lives of black people and the complete disdain for the rule of law is shocking when looked at in a modern context. Common law concepts such as innocence until proven guilty and freedom of speech were continually ignored. At the same time, the atrocities attributed to the mob didn’t result in any arrests whatsoever.

Robert Charles and his friend are sitting out in front of house when they are accosted by three officers. His friend submits to the unwarranted arrest while Robert fights back and flees the scene. What follows is a citywide manhunt that results in the death of Robert Charles and a dozen police officers and citizens. As a result of this bloodshed mobs form around New Orleans killing innocent black people indiscriminately. Ida B. Wells-Barnett crafts a patchwork of local news articles and interviews to paint the terrible scene. Learn from the past by picking up Mob Rule in New Orleans.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/mob-rule-in-new-orleans-by-ida-b-wells-barnett/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14976

Ten Days in a Mad-house by Nellie Bly (1887)

This expose is at times absolutely heartbreaking. We follow Nelly Bly as she goes undercover in an insane asylum. Getting in is troublingly easy. Once she is inside it becomes all the more curious. “But here let me say one thing: From the moment I entered the insane ward on the Island, I made no attempt to keep up the assumed role of insanity.” To think that this asylum gave its patients no real opportunity to prove or improve there sanity. Each patient has a unique story to tell. Step inside an asylum by reading Ten Days in a Mad-house.

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download free audiobook: https://librivox.org/ten-days-in-a-madhouse-by-nellie-bly/