I’ve spent some time at the Kindle Store perusing their books for deals on American Civil War Books. I’ll follow up with additional lists on Military History and History in general although they are numerous. One plus – many of the Army Field manuals are available for $0.99, You could, of course, download most of the latter from other sites and load to you Kindle as well.
Here’s my list so far of ACW books that are free or under $2.00 in the Kindle Store. Bear in mind that most of these are in the public domain so you can also load them to your Kindle 2 for free in the manners I described in previous posts.
So in my last post, I was saying you could get public domain books to your Kindle for 10 cents if you wanted to find them and upload them for conversion by Amazon and send to you wirelessly. I just found a terrific Kindle Blog that has the following post that indicates that in late January, Amazon loaded 4700 Public Domain Books to their Kindle Store. This saves the hassle of uploading. The post on February 7 indicates that there are 7000 Public Domain books available on the site now. Amazing!
So I just went out to the Kindle Store. Remember that Phil Sheridan’s Memoir that I uploaded and then crossloaded? It was already there on the Kindle store for free broken into parts.
There has been a lot of interest in my Kindle 2 since last night’s post here. Harry Smeltzer from Bull Runnings has asked some great questions that have led to a little experimentation on my part. You’re welcome to follow in the comments on the original post but here’s some information many of you will find helpful. Also, I made a correction to my original post. Amazon doesn’t convert files you upload for conversion to PDF but rather to Kindle (.AZW, .AZW1). This is what it sends to your Kindle wirelessly or that you can download from the site and move to your Kindle via USB. Read below for more details. I have the same interest Harry does in reading public domain books on the Kindle.
—Snip from comments—
It sounds like I should be able to download pdfs into the device myself, and would only need Amazon if I wanted something converted to pdf. Or would I need to go through Amazon anyway to get it into a format compatible with Kindle? The reason I’m so nagging about this is that I would love to be able to read these public domain books (thousands available for free from various sources, including Google) on something other than a computer.
Two new fiction works have made their way to my library. The March by E. L. Doctorow. This book was required reading for the Yale course by David W. Blight on the Civil War era which I mentioned here. I picked up a nice hardback used and am listening to it on my MP3 via download from the library.
I took the plunge and bought an Amazon Kindle 2. This was a tough decision because (here’s where my family roll their eyes) I’m a bit obsessive about my books. But there are times when I’d really like a book NOW. So I’m considering this an expensive experiment. Here are my impressions so far.
Packaging was very cool. Nicely done.
Instructions were very easy to follow. I was up and running in seconds.
The device came set up and registered so I didn’t have to register it. I could start browsing the Kindle store and downloading.
I bought the standard leather case (see below) and I’m glad I did. It lets me feel like I’m holding a real book which I like.
The Whispernet technology was amazing. Well done Sprint.
It came with The New Oxford American Dictionary loaded for free which is always handy.
I can preview books for free.
I’ve bought already The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, Richard Crawley ($0.99) which I ordered from the Kindle itself.
I then ordered – via my computer on Amazon’s site – David Liss’ book, The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel– and with one click, it was automatically sent to my Kindle 2. It was done in seconds. Sweet! And I paid $9.99.
I can also download and listen to audiobooks but these I must download to my Mac and then transfer to the Kindle. The unit has two speakers and a headset jack.
The Kindle comes with text-to-speech technology so i can have any text book read to me if I choose. The voice intonation is not at all bad. It’s not a performance but it’s quite functional.
I can archive content on Amazon’s site and reload anytime I want which is great. No need to hook up to the computer or store on an external harddrive.
I can bookmark, mark up, highlight, and add notes to what I’m reading.
I can store personal documents. I can send any document to my Kindle email and Amazon will convert it to pdf [CORRECTION – IT DOESN’T CONVERT TO PDF BUT A PROPRIETARY FORMAT but read the comments for more options] for free and ship it back to my computer. To send it to the Kindle, they will charge a small fee. This is one of their “experimental” features.
I can transfer MP3s to my Kindle to listen to music while I read. The transfer would be from my Mac.
The potential for violence after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and indeed episodes of violence, increased on the border between Missouri and Kansas as both Free Soiler and pro-slavery factions began actively arming themselves. An agent of the New England Emigrant Aid Society in Kansas, Charles L. Robinson, requested with some urgency a shipment of several hundred rifles and field guns.(i) Guns were sent to aid Free Soilers in Kansas often with the support of northeastern clergy and their congregations. Thus Sharps Rifles sent by Henry Ward Beecher’s congregation became know as “Beecher Bibles”. Likewise, according to Potter, armed militias from the South began forming to support the pro-slavery cause in Kansas. (i)
ABOUT THE POLITICAL CARTOON: Another Currier satire favoring American party candidate Millard Fillmore. A “buck” (James Buchanan) runs toward the White House, visible in the distance, as the two rival candidates take aim at him with their shotguns. Republican John C. Fremont’s gun explodes (left), as he struggles to free himself from a pool of “Black Mud.” On the far left his two abolitionist supporters Henry Ward Beecher and editor Horace Greeley are also mired in an “Abolition Bog.” Fremont: “Oh! Oh! Oh! I’ve got Jessie this time–” (a puzzling allusion to his wife Jessie Benton). Greeley: “Oh! Brother Beecher! our Kansas Gun has bursted and upset our gunner. I’m afraid we put in too big a load.” Reference is to the Kansas–NebraskaAct of 1854 and the ensuing violence in Kansas, an issue exploited by the Republicans. Beecher: “Confound the Gun! if I can only get out of this muss I’ll stick to preaching and let fire-arms alone.” The oblique reference to Beecher’s part in outfitting armed antislavery emigrants for Kansas is made in more obvious terms in “Col. Fremont’s Last Grand Exploring Expedition in 1856” (no. 1856-20). On “Union Rock” (right), which is square in the path toward the White House, stands Millard Fillmore. He aims his flintlock at Buchanan and says confidently, “Ah! Fremont, your sectional Gun has exploded just as I predicted; but my American rifle will bring down that Old Buck.” MEDIUM: print on wove paper : lithograph ; image 24 x 39 cm. CREATED/PUBLISHED:N.Y. : Published at No. 2 Spruce Street,  Source: Library of Congress
I have finally purchased my own copy of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, as translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Tocqueville’s works rank near the top of the the most frequently quoted in a great many of the books I’ve been reading this term and in previous terms for that matter. I decided on The Library of America version because, as was the case with my purchase of Frederick Douglass Autobiographies (see post here), I like the look and feel.
The actual number of free-state settlers that made it to Kansas was far more modest than the expectations set in the press but the perception was in the public psyche.
When the Kansas Territory’s first governor, Andrew Reeder, called for elections of the Kansas Territorial Legislature on March 30, 1855, pro-slavery Missourians crossed the border in droves and took advantage of a poorly conceived suffrage law that required little to no proof of residency to vote. The government they elected was widely recognized as bogus but Reeder let the election stand and President Franklin Pierce endorsed it. The new government created exceptionally pro-slavery laws, some verging on the absurd. Free-state men revolted by setting up their own shadow government in Topeka claiming that its laws and elected officials would become legitimate once statehood was achieved. This exacerbated further the rift between the two factions and opened the door for the Lecompton government to take legal action against the free-soil men, indeed eventually accusing some of treason.
“If one government was valid, the other was spurious, either morally or legally, as the case might be. If the acts of one were binding upon the citizens, then submission to the authority of the other by, for instance, paying its taxes or serving in its militia would constitute sedition, or even treason.” (i)
In addition to the course, presented in an extremely user friendly format, Academic Earth provides a syllabus, reading list (yes I’ve already ordered them all), and full text transcripts of all lectures. GOLD MINE.
I’ve made it through 13 of 27 lectures and they are both outstanding and mesmerizing. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Eli Thayer of Massachusetts, who had been “aroused very early in the course of the battle in Congress,” incorporated the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company with the intent of assisting emigrants who were willing to move west.(i) Details of his “Plan of Operation” found their way into “Horace Greeley’sNew York Tribune where, despite the fact that they presented more dreams than facts, managed to be published and to alarm men in western Missouri.(i)
“…It conjured up in their minds the picture of a vast, wealthy, and overpowering abolitionist organization ready to hurl 20,000 hirelings upon their borders.”(i)
On July 29th, Missourians met in Weston, Missouri and formed the “Platte County Self-Defensive Association” “asserting their readiness to go to Kansas ‘to assist in removing any and all emigrants who go there under the auspices of Northern Emigrant Aid Societies.'”(i) Organization of secret societies followed “including the ‘Blue Lodges,’ and ‘Platte County Regulators.’”(i)
The events leading up to 1856 raid on Lawrence began with the opening of the Kansas Territory to settlement with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. David Potter in his book The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 posits that William H. Seward, in a speech to the Senate on May 25, 1854, issued a challenge to pro-slavery supporters effectively sparking a competition to see which side, pro-slavery or free-state, could populate Kansas the fastest and thus gain its control.
“’Come on then, Gentlemen of the Slave States,’ he said, ‘since there is no escaping your challenge, I accept it on behalf of the cause of freedom. We will engage in competition for the virgin soil of Kansas, and God give the victory to the side which is stronger in numbers as it is in right.’ This act transplanted the controversy from the halls of Congress to the plains of Kansas.”
One of the most surprising things I learned from reading Michael F. Holt’s exceptional book, The Political Crisis of the 1850’s, was that the “Sacking of Lawrence” was not the murderous affair I had always thought it was. It led to further research on my part and the realization that I was guilty of combining the stories surrounding the raid on Lawrence with other violent events occurring in the region, an area in which I am a resident. As is often the case with history, I had developed a mythical sense of the day, one that went well beyond the simple destruction of property. This new post series summarizes the findings of my search for the truth about the events of May 21, 1856. Its writing helped to crystallize my understanding of why the Kansas and Missouri borderland became such a focal point for politics in the 1850s. It also revealed that there has been much liberty with the facts and that even today, historians do not agree on all of the specifics.
If you hadn’t noticed, I am a hopeless book acquirer. But, like most folks, I am watching my book budget these days. That said, I found a sale going on this month over at Indiana University Press that has some awesome deals. To commemorate the Lincoln Bicentennial, they’ve put books on sale about both Lincoln and the Civil War.
There are some serious deals over there. Example: One of my favorite books, The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare by Edward Hagerman – FIVE BUCKs. And FREE SHIPPING – if you buy $25 or more (I discovered). I couldn’t help myself and didn’t have any trouble making the $25 threshold.
Among my favorite features in the historical section is a collection of “Animated Battles” that combine audio, film of enactors, and battle maps with action depicted by moving units, fires that blaze, and the sounds of hoof beats and rifle fire. Very cool. This is a great site for students.
I’m a fan of university presses so I’m sharing some information forwarded to me by the good folks at Oxford University Press about books and stories they are featuring on their Oxford University Press USA Blog as part of the Lincoln Bicentennial celebration. Check it out.