Book cover with photograph of Emile Roux

Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif

From Goodreads

The book discusses the giants of germ theory and does so in a way that makes these scientists approachable as real men with real emotions. It must have been a groundbreaking book when it first came out in the 1920s. It is amazing how many researchers and physicians from my generation read and were impacted by this book.

*****

An international bestseller, translated into eighteen languages, Paul de Kruif’s classic account of the first scientists to see and learn about the microscopic world continues to fascinate new readers. This is a timeless dramatization of the scientists, bacteriologists, doctors, and medical technicians who discovered the microbes and invented the vaccines to counter them. De Kruif writes about how seemingly simple but really fundamental discovers of science—for instance, how a microbe was first viewed in a clear drop of rain water, and when, for the first time, Louis Pasteur discovered that a simple vaccine could save a man from the ravages of rabies by attacking the microbes that cause it.

This book was not only a bestseller for a lengthy period after publication, it has remained high on lists of recommended reading for science and has been an inspiration for many aspiring physicians and scientists.

*****

I’ll put it simple. I love microbiology. It is fascinating how much you can learn from something so little. This book came to me thanks to my fist Microbiology class “General Microbiology” which was my favorite. It is a simple book with all the mayor microbiology discovers, told in a very light and interesting way.

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Cover of Before the Mayflower

Before the Mayflower-A History of the Negro in America, 1619-1962 by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

Reviews from Goodreads.com

* * * * *

This a great introduction, if not then the best introduction, to African American History. If you are wanting to know more about the story of African Americans this book is very readable and accurate. When I taught our school African American History class this was my text. My students liked it so much most of them went out and bought their own copies.

* * * * *

Mr. Bennett gives voice to Black Americans, and to the cultures they brought with them. Through impeccable research, he has uncovered history and culture that was not readily available those many years ago. This book was published and available at almost the same time I finished my degree. I found it later when I had the luxury of being able to read what I wanted, rather than that which was assigned, and have used it to some degree in home schooling my son (though it is too difficult for most high school students). Highly readable and enormously enlightening.

* * * * *

This was an amazing piece of work. I knew that people of color in this country had it rough but this truly shows just how bad. Even with all of the hardships people of color tried again and again to be the best that society would not let them. I was inspired by this book to continue to strive for progress and thus success. The stories of my ancestors have shown me that I come from a strong stock that can survived the worst of times so that I may have the best of times.

* * * * *

From the inside flap of the print edition of 1962:

This is a history of the American Negro, whose ancestors arrived at Jamestown a year before the arrival of the “Mayflower.”

The book begins in Africa with the great empires of the Nile Valley and the western Sudan and ends with the Second Reconstruction, which Martin Luther King Jr. and the Sit-in Genera­tion are fashioning in the North and South. Written in a dramatic, readable style, Before The Mayflower throws a great deal of light on today’s headlines. As such, it will be a valuable addition to the library of every discerning American.

Grounded on the work of scholars and specialists, the book is designed for the non-specialist. Based on the trials and triumphs of Negro Americans, the book tells a story which is relevant to all men.

Here are the Negro Minute Men of Lexington and Concord and the black soldiers who stood with Andrew Jackson at New Orleans and Ulysses S. Grant at Petersburg.

Here also are the forgotten figures of American history: Phillis Wheatley, the slave poet who became the second American woman to write a book; Nat Turner, the mystic who led a bloody slave revolt; P. B. S. Pinchback, the Negro who sat in the Louisiana governor’s mansion and dreamed of the vice presidency.

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Book Cover with Soldiers in Desert

Patrol–North Africa-1943 A Story of the Desert War by Fred Majdalany

Set in 1943, Patrol is a short, intimate novel following a small group of men on a night-time patrol in the North African desert. Major Tim Sheldon, close to battle exhaustion, is unexpectedly asked to carry out the mission and this atmospheric, tense novel puts this so-called minor action center stage, as over the course of the day and during the patrol itself, Sheldon reminisces about his time as a soldier, his own future, and what it means to confront fear.

Patrol was a bestseller when it was first published in 1953. Clearly autobiographical, it is based on Fred Madjalany’s own experiences in Tunisia as part of the North African campaign, in particular his command of a night patrol and his time in hospital when wounded. The fictional battalion in the novel is based on 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers into which Majdalany was commissioned in 1940. Infantry battalions such as this were constantly in action with little respite, and the officers were very young by peace time standards. The stress of battle aged them considerably. Madjalany’s wife Sheila Howarth wrote, ‘I believe in Patrol he was writing his epitaph’. He suffered a stroke in 1957 and died ten years later when the specialist commented ‘the war killed him.’

Editorial Reviews:

“Civilians—and many men in the services—never know what war really is. Perhaps in reading ‘Patrol’ by Fred Majdalany they can learn…. To the very short list of those who have been able to convey in fiction the boredom, pain, fear and that acrid stink of war that an old campaigner can recognize—names like Crane and Bierce—Fred Majdalany must be added for ‘Patrol.'” — The New York Herald Tribune

….The author comes up with a striking analogy to define courage under fire. He compares it to a man’s bank account: you start out with a fixed sum, large or small, and as the days on the line and on patrol in­crease, your account begins to dwindle. The time finally comes when there isn’t much left to draw upon except fear. Anyone who saw the British desert rats in Tunisia in ’43 knows that their account never ran out, and “Patrol” is a stirring tribute to their courage. —The New York Times

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Cover shows Bethune leading children up a hill

Mary McLeod Bethune

To read this ebook using Google Play Books on your tablet, or computer, or iBooks on an iPad, download this epub format.

To read on a device from Amazon, or on the Kindle app on your computer, here is the ebook in mobi format.

Directions on how to email this file to your device are here.
To add this mobi file to your Kindle for PC software to read the chapters on your computer, see instructions at http://tinyurl.com/y8gsazq.

The Kindle Personal Document Service allows teachers, or librarians to send a mobi file to up to 15 student Kindle email addresses at a time.

This is the challenging and inspired true story of a little girl who was determined to learn to read, and who went on to be a teacher, the founder of a college, an adviser to statesmen, and a great humanitarian. Mary McLeod Bethune was the fifteenth child of hardworking and god fearing parents. She was the first of their children to be born free. Her ancestry was wholly of African origin, a point of pride throughout her life.

Mrs. Bethune worked untiringly to restore—through education—her people’s faith in the magnificent heritage that is rightfully theirs. During the many years of and tribulation, she refused to give up her fondest dream—her own school for Negro children. And, as a shining monument to her hard work and faith, she has given to black youth the thriving institution of Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida.

He Wouldn’t Be King: The Story of Simon Bolivar by Nina Brown Baker

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Reviews:
“A finely proportioned narrative.” The New York Times

“Worth its weight in gold. A warm dramatic story of a man whose career was one of the most astonishing and colorful the world has known.” Parents Magazine

SIMÓN BOLÍVAR, hailed as Liberator by the people of South America, occupies the same place in their affections that George Washington does in ours. An aristocrat and a wealthy man like Washington, he risked position, wealth, and life itself to free South America from the unhappy rule of Spain. Like Lincoln in his love for the common man, he brought about the abolition of slavery a generation before that institution was ended here.

HE WOULDN’T BE KING is the first modern biography of Bolívar in English for young people, yet history provides few more exciting tales than the march across the Andes of Bolívar’s small but dauntless army; it can offer few stories to compare in color and surprise with Bolivar’s courageous career.

Nina Brown Baker tells Bolívar’s story fully and vividly. She has not only so portrayed the ideals of the man that we are the better for knowing him, but she has also given us the background that enables us to understand both Bolívar and the South America of today.

More from the New York Times, New Books for Younger Readers, March 15, 1942.

By Ellen Lewis Buell. HE WOULDN’T BE KING. The Story Of Simon Bolivar. By Nina Brown Baker. Illustrated by Camilo Egas. 306 pages. New York: The Vanguard Press.

SIMÓN BOLÍVAR was a hero not merely through force of circumstances and period. He was truly cast in a heroic mold and should be known wherever greatness of spirit as well as deed is revered. His life is of special significance to us of the United States, not only be­cause of our growing sympathy with South America, but because it was from our own Revolution and our first leader, Washing­ton, that he drew much of the in­spiration to win freedom for his own part of the Americas.

It was a life so full and so dra­matic that there is plenty of room for both the fine biogra­phies for young people which this year has brought forth. It would indeed be difficult, and is unnec­essary. to make a final choice be­tween Elizabeth Waugh’s “Simón Bolivar: A Story of Courage,” previously reviewed in this department and Nina Brown Baker’s “He Wouldn’t Be King,” which has won the 1941 Intra-American Award annually pre­sented by the Society for the Americas. Mrs. Baker’s is per­haps more dramatic in its pres­entation of an essentially dra­matic life, and certainly there is a twinkling humor to throw into perspective some of the lighter aspects of a career and a strug­gle which inevitably took on at times a certain comic opera fla­vor, which really emphasizes the size of the task performed.

This would be good reading if only for the sketches of the col­orful figures which surrounded Bolívar: the picturesque, incredi­ble Páez: the dashing and equally incredible Manuela Sáenz, his eccentric tutor, Rodriguez; the loyal and charming Irishmen who fought under him. A host of such friends, and enemies too. come to life, but all these are properly dominated by the Liber­ator himself, and as the pattern of his life is unfolded in a finely proportioned narrative so is the greatness of his vision and of his achievement.

From a reviewer on Amazon:

“He Wouldn’t be King: The Story of Simon Bolivar,” by Nina Brown Baker is a delightful, very easy to read book that should be required reading in every American High School. Certainly, every High School student across the United States is well aware of the importance of George Washington but what about Simon Bolivar? Or Jose de San Martin for that matter? These men are great Western Hemisphere military generals responsible for freeing most of South America from strict colonial rule?

Bolivar, often affectionately called the Liberator, freed Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from Spanish oppression. San Martin freed Argentina and Chile. To this end, Bolivar had a boyish hero worship of Washington and regularly drew inspiration from the North American revolution. An added bonus of this book is that the author does an excellent job describing Bolivar’s critical relationships with other dynamic Generals, particularly Antonio Jose de Sucre, Francisco de Paula Santander and Jose Antonio Paez. The narrative also documents the enormous importance of British and Irish volunteers who joined Bolivar and the struggle against Spanish rule.

The narrative starts with Bolivar’s privileged childhood, his intellectual growth and finally his decision to lead his people to liberty. Bolivar is a great man, who frees the black man from slavery 46 years before Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Emancipation Proclamation. He also refused to be King and chose instead to be his nation’s first President…like he beloved George Washington.

Baker downplays his many romances and the tuberculosis that eventually killed him. Nevertheless, the text is meticulously researched, well-written and objective. Although this book was published in 1941, it is still very relevant today and would be an excellent choice for a High School history book report or detailed term paper. The text is also complete with many beautiful black and white illustrations. Highly recommended.
Bert Ruiz

Thurgood Marshall facing right

Thurgood Marshall: From His Early Years to Brown by Michael D. Davis and Hunter R. Clark

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Editorial reviews:

“Michael Davis and Hunter Clark have crafted a thoughtful, carefully researched and focused biography.” —USA Today

“Well-written, informative and lively.” —People

“Michael D. Davis and Hunter R. Clark offer a masterfully written tale of an American legend.” — Gannett News Service

“Filled with the same fire, passion and humor that drove Marshall’s life, Thurgood Marshall is a revealing portrait of a pioneering lawyer.” —National Black Review

This ebook edition is the first half of the 1992 print edition of “Thurgood Marshall: Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench.” This new edition covers Thurgood Marshall’s youth, education, and the legal strategies he used, and the cases he argued leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The reviews above are from the print edition.

Publisher’s Note:
Chapter 1 describes Thurgood Marshall’s place in history.
Chapter 2 explains the challenges Marshall and the attorneys of the N.A.A.C.P were to face as they built the precedents that led to the Brown decision.
Chapter 3 is about Marshall’s childhood in Jim Crow Baltimore, and is probably the best starting point for high school students who want to begin with a straight-forward story of the life of a courageous leader. This chapter lends itself to writing assignments such as “Compare your public school years to what Thurgood Marshall experienced in Baltimore.” Not only will students have to read the chapter to complete the writing assignment, but there will be space for their own voices in the assignment. They may find this comparison more interesting than a book report.
Chapter 4 describes his years in Howard University Law School, and the work of his mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston, who saw how the law school and its graduates could fight racial injustice.
Subsequent chapters describe the work Marshall did on the cases leading up to the Brown decision, his civil rights work in the South, and his push for fair treatment of Black G.I.s during the Korean War.

Cover showing Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall: His Triumph in Brown, His Years on the Supreme Court

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Editorial Reviews:

“Michael Davis and Hunter Clark have crafted a thoughtful, carefully researched and focused biography.” —USA Today

“I highly recommend Thurgood Marshall by Mike Davis and Hunter Clark. This impressive book captures the sweeping drama and courageous struggles that have filled Thurgood Marshall’s life and career. The story of Justice Marshall is that of one of the greatest Americans in the twentieth century. Davis and Clark provide a compelling portrait of Marshall’s immense humanity and integrity in this fine biography.” —Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta.

“Thurgood Marshall is a giant of a man at a time when giants are scarce and desperately needed. This wonderful biography takes his measure.” —(Rev.) Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

“Davis and Clark have given us an engagingly written and conscientiously researched biography of a twentieth-century icon. It should be widely read and much discussed by all who care about the large, principled issues Justice Marshall’s life embodies.” —David Levering Lewis, author of W. E. B. Dubois: Biography of a Race

“Michael B. Davis and Hunter R. Clark have written an interesting and informative biography of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall directed toward a general audience. The current work, with its fluid, readable style, reflects the authors’ backgrounds in the popular press, where both have published extensively.”—Mississippi Quarterly

This ebook edition is the second half of the 1992 print edition. This new edition covers Thurgood Marshall’s victory in Brown, the resistance to the Brown decision, and his years on the Supreme Court. The reviews above are from the print edition of 1992 titled, Thurgood Marshall:Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench.

 

Cover with a sketch of Carson

Sea and Earth: The Life of Rachel Carson

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This is the story of the most important science writer of the 20th century. With “Silent Spring” Rachel Carson shocked Americans into reevaluating the man-made chemicals that have polluted our whole environment. Carson “jolted the entire country into awareness of the problem” of pesticides.” Her book “launched the environmental movement; provoked the passage of the Clean Air Act…the Clean Water Act…and led to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

By drawing much of his story from the recollections of Rachel Carson’s friends and colleagues, the author presents a well-rounded portrait of a woman who was a dedicated scientist and gifted writer, a devoted daughter and friend, and above all, a determined defender of the natural world she understood so well.

This biography won the Christopher Award in 1971 which is presented to the producers, directors, and writers of books, motion pictures and television specials that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit”. It is given by The Christophers, a Christian organization founded in 1945 by the Maryknoll priest James Keller.

cover with photo of Diego Rivera

My Art, My Life, An Autobiography by Diego Rivera

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Diego Rivera stands among the titans of our century. A man of phenomenal energy, he not only transformed the art of his country, but helped to transform its social structure as well. In the course of his tempestuous career, he defied presidents, dictators, millionaires, and the arbiters of artistic fashion. Often forced into hiding or exile during his lifetime, he is now enshrined in the pantheon of his country. His activities brought him into personal relationships not only with the artistic and political leaders of Mexico but with the famous and powerful abroad.
Rivera revolutionized modern mural painting and was the principal figure in launching the “Mexican Renaissance,” which is now regarded as one of the great periods in the history of world art.
This was an artist who could not separate his work — always his chief devotion — from his life. Like the man himself, his autobiography is full of conflict and color: the battles which surrounded his murals in the Detroit Art Institute, Rockefeller Center, and the Hotel del Prado are recounted in detail and with fervor.
The absorbing story of this epochal man, drawn from his own words as dictated over a period of ten years to the American journalist, Gladys March, makes a book that is certain to become one of the classics of art literature. With a quality all its own, it contains something of the frankness of Benvenuto Cellini, the impassioned suffering of Van Gogh, and the social vision of Kathe Kollwitz. Illustrated with personal photographs as well as some of Diego Rivera’s greatest works, My Art, My Life will rank among the most important books of recent years.
GLADYS MARCH studied art at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Museum in New York, the Pitti Palace in Florence. the Louvre in Paris, and the Prado in Madrid. She has written columns and features on kings, movie stars, and celebrities from all walks of life. But until she met Diego Rivera in 1945, on a newspaper assignment to interview him, she had never felt the desire to write a hook about any one person. The initial interview led to a ten-year project, during which years the artist dictated his life story to her. Mrs. March’s work was checked by Diego Rivera from time to time up to a few months before his death in 1957. The finished manuscript was read and approved by Emma Hurtado Rivera, the artist’s widow.

Addams and Activists on Deck of Ship on the Way to Europe

Peace and Bread in Time of War by Jane Addams

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First published in 1922 during the “Red Scare,” by which time Jane Addams’s pacifist efforts had adversely affected her popularity as an author and social reformer, Peace and Bread in Time of War is Addams’s eighth book and the third to deal with her thoughts on pacifism.

Addams’s unyielding pacifism during the Great War drew criticism from politicians and patriots who deemed her the “most dangerous woman in America.” Even those who had embraced her ideals of social reform condemned her outspoken opposition to U.S. entry into World War I or were ambivalent about her peace platforms. Turning away from the details of the war itself, Addams relies on memory and introspection in this autobiographical portrayal of efforts to secure peace during the Great War. “I found myself so increasingly reluctant to interpret the motives of other people that at length I confined all analysis of motives to my own,” she writes. Using the narrative technique she described in The Long Road of Women’s Memory, an extended musing on the roles of memory and myth in women’s lives, Addams also recalls attacks by the press and defends her political ideals.
Source: Goodreads.