[Free eBook] The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times by Barbara Taylor [Award-Nominated 20th C Mental Health Treatment History & Memoir]

The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times by Canadian expat UK-resident author Barbara Taylor, an historian and professor of humanities at Queen Mary University of London, is a retrospective memoir cum history of mental health asylum treatment, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for April, and was a finalist for the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize for best Canadian work of literary non-fiction.

The memoir recounts the author’s decades-long struggle with anxiety, which eventually became severe enough to lead to a stay at the historic Friern Mental Hospital in North London in the 1980s, and the perception and treatment of mental illness in England during a turning point era which led to the closing of many asylums and the changes as their former patients were funneled into underfunded community care to mostly fend for themselves, with limited support available from knowledgeable professionals and loyal friends coping with their own mental health issues.

Offered worldwide through April, available directly from the university’s website.

Continue reading “[Free eBook] The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times by Barbara Taylor [Award-Nominated 20th C Mental Health Treatment History & Memoir]”

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[Free eBook] Edwardian England, 1901-1915: Society and Politics by Donald Read [Early 20th C History]

Edwardian England, 1901-1915: Society and Politics by the late British author Donald Read, an emeritus Professor of Modern English History at the University of Kent, is an early 20th century British sociopolitical history, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1972 by The History Book Club.

The book provides an accessibly-written introductory overview with a bit of deeper analysis, aiming to clear up some common misconceptions (circa the 1970s) about the roots and effects of the pivotal changes at the turn of the 20th century as Victorian England rapidly modernized into the Edwardian Era within the shifting national and world political climate and its accompanying societal changes, with chapters devoted to urban/rural labour and class divisions, the scope of the British Empire and its international relations, the increasing rights of women, ongoing issues with Ireland, and the overall state of England leading into World War I.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

Continue reading “[Free eBook] Edwardian England, 1901-1915: Society and Politics by Donald Read [Early 20th C History]”

[Free eBook] Military Heritage of America: From Colonization to Korea by R. Ernest Dupuy & Trevor N. Dupuy [Vintage Military History & Philosophy]

Military Heritage of America: From Colonization to Korea by the late Ernest R. Dupuy, a veteran of both World Wars whose voice announced the Normandy landings as part of the PR division, and his son, the equally late Trevor N. Dupuy, a retired US Army colonel turned military historian and former professor at Harvard University, is the standalone history in a of the US’ military roots, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1956 by McGraw-Hill.

The book gives an accessibly-written overview of the roots and legacy of the US’ military history, with a brief look at inspirations from the classical world before focusing on conflicts from the Colonial era onwards to the then-present 1950s, with musings on lessons to be learned in terms of technique and strategic philosophy, and features an introduction by WWII General Douglas MacArthur.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Vanishing Primitive Man by Tim Severin [Indigenous Anthropology & Migration History]

Vanishing Primitive Man by British author Tim Severin, an historian and explorer who has received the Royal Geographic Society’s Gold Medal, is the 9th volume in the Search series of histories of exploration and adventure travel, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1973 by American Heritage Publishing.

This volume is a bit of a departure from the usual famous explorer and trade route histories, instead focusing on the prehistorical migrations, early modern encounters with, and current societal situation (circa the 1970s) of ten surviving indigenous cultures with Stone Age roots, including the Aborigines of Australia, the Ainu of Japan, the Inuit of Canada and Greenland, the Sami of Lappland, the Xavante of Brazil, and several others, introduced with a foreword by noted anthropologist Colin M. Turnbull, known for his work among the pygmy tribes of Zaire and consultant for this book, and a list of further recommended reading.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael D. Gordin [Science History]

The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael D. Gordin, a professor of history at Princeton University, is a biographical history of the roots of pseudoscience and various fringe beliefs, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for January.

The book explores the career of the late Immanuel Velikovsky, a controversial Russian scholar who drew upon world mythological writings to argue in favour a shared history of ancient astronomical catastrophes and found brief popularity for his views among the general public during the mid-20th century, even as they were being debated and debunked by scientists, drawing upon previously unpublished material from Velikovsky’s personal archives to give a behind-the-scenes look at the man and also exploring the histories and effects of other pseudoscientific fringe beliefs along the way.

Offered worldwide through January (usually also available until early morning on Feb 1st), available directly from the university’s website.

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Free for a limited time through January directly @ the university’s special promo page (ADE-DRM ePub available worldwide in return for newsletter signup with your valid email address), and you can also read more about the book on its regular catalogue page.

Description
Properly analyzed, the collective mythological and religious writings of humanity reveal that around 1500 BC, a comet swept perilously close to Earth, triggering widespread natural disasters and threatening the destruction of all life before settling into solar orbit as Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor.

Sound implausible? Well, from 1950 until the late 1970s, a huge number of people begged to differ, as they devoured Immanuel Velikovsky’s major best-seller, Worlds in Collision, insisting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history. Scientists, on the other hand, assaulted Velikovsky’s book, his followers, and his press mercilessly from the get-go. In The Pseudoscience Wars, Michael D. Gordin resurrects the largely forgotten figure of Velikovsky and uses his strange career and surprisingly influential writings to explore the changing definitions of the line that separates legitimate scientific inquiry from what is deemed bunk, and to show how vital this question remains to us today. Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material from Velikovsky’s personal archives, Gordin presents a behind-the-scenes history of the writer’s career, from his initial burst of success through his growing influence on the counterculture, heated public battles with such luminaries as Carl Sagan, and eventual eclipse. Along the way, he offers fascinating glimpses into the histories and effects of other fringe doctrines, including creationism, Lysenkoism, parapsychology, and more—all of which have surprising connections to Velikovsky’s theories.

Science today is hardly universally secure, and scientists seem themselves beset by critics, denialists, and those they label “pseudoscientists”—as seen all too clearly in battles over evolution and climate change. The Pseudoscience Wars simultaneously reveals the surprising Cold War roots of our contemporary dilemma and points readers to a different approach to drawing the line between knowledge and nonsense.

[Free eBook] One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery by Karyn L. Freedman [Award-Winning Philosophical Memoir]

One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery by Canadian author Karyn L. Freedman, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph, is an exploratory trauma recovery and treatment memoir, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for November and was a recipient of the 2015 British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, shortlisted for the 2015 Alberta Book of the Year, and was also featured in the Globe and Mail‘s Top 100 Books of 2014 as well as the CBC Reads 2017 Longlist.

The memoir is a globe-trotting philosophical meditation about the immediate and long-term effects of the author’s own experience with the trauma and recovery from being raped in 1990 and her travels in search of justice and treatment over the decades since then, as well as the broader effects of sexual violence and gender inequality in society throughout history, drawing upon insights from recent neuroscientific and psychological research to examine how recovery becomes possible for survivors.

Offered worldwide through November, available directly from the university’s website.

Continue reading “[Free eBook] One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery by Karyn L. Freedman [Award-Winning Philosophical Memoir]”

[Free eBook] Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Food by Jennifer A. Jordan [Botanical & Agricultural Sociocultural History]

Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Food by Jennifer A. Jordan, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, is a botanical and agricultural-focused social history, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for October.

The book is an accessibly-written combined social, scientific, and food industry history which spotlights selected fruits and vegetables both common and uncommon, as they go from global luxuries to local staples or vice versa over the centuries—gaining or losing popularity with changing tastes, becoming hybridized for convenient selling qualities for the mass market or preserved in “heirloom” forms for upscale consumption and otherwise evolving in physical form and cultural meaning—interwoven with the author’s observations of the associations the foods evoke in people from the hobby gardeners and professional farmers who grow them, to the end consumer who eats them, to the national identities they may be tied to (as in the case of the US and apple pie).

Offered worldwide through October, available directly from the university’s website.

Continue reading “[Free eBook] Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Food by Jennifer A. Jordan [Botanical & Agricultural Sociocultural History]”

[Free Audiobook] The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke [Historical True Crime Horror Podcast Tie-In]

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by [Aaron Mahnke] is a standalone tie-in companion in the Lore series of supernatural-themed true crime and horror podcasts, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Penguin Random House Audio.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month offer for October and is narrated by the author himself. The Lore (now adapted to a TV series) features scary non-fiction, presenting true crime in a dramatic horror story fashion, themed around historical cases which often have links to superstitious and supernatural elements, as well as investigating spooky local folklore beliefs in their own right.

This tie-in companion spotlights the dark side of human nature and beliefs, exploring incidents such as the 19th century Mercy Brown case of alleged vampirism rooted in panic over tuberculosis in Rhode Island, a supposedly enchanted doll which was the inspiration behind the Child’s Play franchise of horror films, accounts of both real-life and folkloric cannibalism, séances, and other intersections of crime and superstition featured in the podcast, adding bonus materials.

Offered worldwide until noon Eastern Time on October 31st, available as a DRM-free MP4 download directly from the publisher and in their app.

Continue reading “[Free Audiobook] The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke [Historical True Crime Horror Podcast Tie-In]”

[Free eBook] The English Bible and the Seventeenth Century Revolution by Christopher Hill [17th C British Sociocultural History]

The English Bible and the Seventeenth Century Revolution by the late British author Christopher Hill, an historian specializing in 17th century England and a former Master of Oxford University’s Balliol College, is a 1sociocultural and political history, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1993 by Penguin Books.

The book provides an in-depth historical overview of the social, cultural, and political impact of the ready availability of English-language translations of the Bible to the commoner masses in the 17th century in Britain (a then-radical change from the Latin and Greek versions only readable by the educated upper classes and clergy), in the form of topical chapters covering the differing versions printed, and then addressing its revolutionary influence on everyday society, literature, conflicts with assorted religious movements and the ensuing English Civil War, philosophical arguments and approaches towards poverty and liberty, and other aspects of post-Reformation British life.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBooks] 15 titles from Verso Books [Academic, Culture, History, Philosophy, Politics, Etc.]

As a special treat to mark the end of back-to-school month, publisher Verso Books are offering a repeat of the 15 titles from their September flash giveaways accompanying their still-ongoing 50% off Student Reading sale, in case anyone missed them earlier.

The titles include a mix of quasi-academic history (ancient and recent), political and economic philosophy, arts & culture, social and gender studies, and other related topics written by authors worldwide, selected from their promotional recommendation lists during the Student Reading sale.

This is the list, and you can pick them all up from their dedicated promo blogpost here (wait for everything to load, then click to switch to “Ebook” for each title before adding to cart; requires account signup with billing address but no payment info) through this weekend:

  • Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology by André Gorz, from the Environment & Ecology recommended reading list
  • Bad New Days by Hal Foster, from Art & Aesthetics
  • Darkwater by W.E.B. Du Bois, from Race & Ethnicity
  • Building the Commune by George Ciccariello-Maher, from Sociology
  • Fictitious Capital by Cédric Durand, from Economics
  • Invisibility Blues by Michele Wallace, from Feminism and Gender
  • Democracy Against Capitalism by Ellen Meiksins Wood from Political Theory
  • Read My Desire by Joan Copjec, from Psychoanalysis
  • Good Neighbors by Sylvie Tissot, from Architecture & Cities
  • Peasant-Citizen and Slave by Ellen Meiksins Wood, from History (is about ancient Greece)
  • Politics and Letters by Raymond Williams, from Cultural & Literary Theory
  • Cultural Capital by Robert Hewison, from Film & Media
  • The Left Hemisphere by Razmig Keucheyan, from Critical Theory
  • The Philosophy of Marx by Etienne Balibar, from Philosophy
  • Homo Juridicus by Alain Supiot, from Anthropology

Offered worldwide through 11:59 PM Eastern Time on September 30th, available DRM-free (ePub & Mobi, watermarked with your email address but otherwise freely transferrable to all your devices) directly from the publisher.