[Free eBook] American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream by Julia L. Mickenberg [20th C Cross-Cultural Biographical Expat Travel History]

American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream by Julia L. Mickenberg, a professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Texas, is a 20th century cross-cultural biographical history, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

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

This accessibly-written biographical and cultural history provides a look at the motivations and deeds of American women who for a variety of reasons were drawn to travel to and experience life in Soviet Russia—some performing charity works in an early form of voluntourism, others seeking perceived greater social and gender equality in the wake of the Russian Revolution and the egalitarian promise of early communism—with in-depth sketches of several featured women including dance pioneer Isadora Duncan, Hollywood screenwriter and Broadway playwright Lillian Hellman, international relief workers trying to alleviate the effects of a disastrous famine, idealistic joiners of a colony settlement in Siberia, and various others who flirted with and embraced or became disillusioned with how the reality lived up to images and expectations.

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

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[Free eBook] The Mahabharata: Peter Brook’s Epic in the Making by Garry O’Connor [Indian Myth-Based Theatre & Film Creative Process Memoir]

The Mahabharata: Peter Brook’s Epic in the Making by British author Garry O’Connor, a former director of the Royal Shakespeare Company turned novelist, biographer, and theatre critic, is a semi-biographical behind the scenes theatrical creative process memoir, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1989 by Hodder & Stoughton.

The book provides an insider’s behind the scenes look at the creative and practical processes behind the making of award-winning British playwright and film director Peter Brook‘s The Mahabharata, originally a play based upon the ancient Sanskrit Hindu mythological epic which was then turned into television and film, following from start to finish its conception and writing and initial media reception, to the global theatrical tour and subsequent decisions made adapting from stage to film and shooting on location during the 1980s, etc.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Michael Coren [19th C Sherlock Holmes Creator Biography]

The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by British-Canadian author Michael Coren, a columnist and radio and TV show host, is an author biography, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1995 by Bloomsbury.

This biography covers the many varied facets of 19th century British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, not only in terms of the personal and literary influences behind his best known creation, the seminal Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes, but also Conan Doyle’s own real life experiences as a doctor, attempts at solving crimes and enacting political reforms, interest in spiritualism, and various other aspects of his adventurous life.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] J. R. R. Tolkien: The Man Who Created The Lord of the Rings by Michael Coren [20th C Fantasy Author Literary Biography]

J. R. R. Tolkien: The Man Who Created The Lord of the Rings by British-Canadian author Michael Coren, a columnist and radio and TV show host, is a literary biography, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 2001 by Stoddart Publishing.

This accessibly-written literary biography, meant for a popular audience, covers the life and times and influences of 20th century author J. R. R. Tolkien, from his early childhood to his friendships with the “Inklings” literary circle at Oxford and other formative experiences which would lead to the creation of his best-known works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy set in the classic fantasy realm of Middle-Earth.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] C. S. Lewis: The Man Who Created Narnia by Michael Coren [20th C Fantasy Author Literary Biography]

C. S. Lewis: The Man Who Created Narnia by British-Canadian author Michael Coren, a columnist and radio and TV show host, is a literary biography, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 2004 by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

The biography covers the life and literary influences of 20th century British author C. S. Lewis from his childhood through to his formative years at Oxford and beyond as he forged enduring friendships with other prominent authors, with especial attention to the creation of his classic “Narnia” series of children’s fantasy novels.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton by Michael Coren [20th Classic Author Literary Biography]

Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton by British-Canadian author Michael Coren, a columnist and radio and TV show host, is a literary biography, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1989 by Jonathan Cape.

The biography looks into the life and times and literary influences of early 20th century British author G. K. Chesterton, perhaps best known for the “Father Brown” amateur sleuth mysteries, among other now-classic novels and nonfiction works.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free Audiobooks] Vincent and Theo: The The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman & Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar [Young Adult Painter & Basketball Player Biography]

AudioFile’s SYNC Summer of Listening 2019 promotion for young adults offers 2 free audiobooks per week—1 classic or non-fiction, 1 modern—as free MP3 downloads, usually available worldwide (some titles are subject to geo-restrictions, and you can see the planned release schedule here).

This week’s two selected titles, which have a theme of the private lives of famous people, available until 7am Eastern Time on July 18th, are as follows:

  • Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman, a recounting of the deep friendship between iconic 19th century Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh and his younger brother Theo who supported his artistic dreams, drawing upon their extensive letters to each other; read by Phillip Fox, from Dreamscape Media, available worldwide
  • Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld, the first memoir of star basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, covering his childhood days to his early sports career and the various inspirations and influences and his experiences growing up during the Civil Rights era; read by the author himself, from Hachette Audio, available worldwide

Offered as DRM-free MP3s through 7am Eastern Time on July 18th, available in selected countries worldwide (requires installing Overdrive Media console software on your PC, Mac, Android, or iDevice, and you need to finish downloading before the time limit).

[Free eBook] Daughter of Earth and Water: A Biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by Noel Gerson [19th C Classic Author Biography]

Daughter of Earth and Water: A Biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by the late Noel Gerson, a prolific historical novelist and biographer under several pseudonyms, is a vintage 19th century literary figure biography, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1972 by William Morrow.

The biography was originally written for a popular audience (with vintage further reading bibliography included) giving a look at the person behind the iconic free-spirited 19th century author Mary Shelley, who wrote science fiction horror classic Frankenstein when she was only 19, from her unconventional upbringing with her philosopher father and pioneering feminist mother, to her complicated affair and marriage with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the scandals, tragedies, accomplishments, and relationships that shaped her adventurous life.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Favored Strangers: Gertrude Stein and her Family by Linda Wagner-Martin [20th C Modern Classic Paris Expat LGBT Author Biography]

Favored Strangers: Gertrude Stein and her Family by Linda Wagner-Martin, a literature professor at the University of North Carolina and recipient of the Jay B. Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies, is an early 20th century LGBT literary author biography, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1995 by Rutgers University Press, and you can also read the author’s entry for Stein in The Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States online.

The biography covers the life and surrounding milieu and influences of early 20th century Paris-resident American expat literary author Gertrude Stein, from her formative relationships with her German-Jewish family, her feminist undergraduate and medical student years, her lesbian love affairs, her friendships with assorted luminaries on the European cultural scene, and her survival with life partner Alice B. Toklas in the precarious Nazi-dominated WWII years in France, focusing on the person behind the icon.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Darlings of the Gods: One Year in the Lives of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh by Garry O’Connor [1940s Hollywood Celebrity Oceania Theatre Tour Biography]

Darlings of the Gods: One Year in the Lives of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh by British author Garry O’Connor, a playwright, biographer, and novelist, is a celebrity actor travelogue biography, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1984 by Hodder & Stoughton and was the basis of a 1989 film.

The biography is a partial travelogue, following the year 1948 in the lives of classic British Hollywood actors Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind) and Laurence Olivier (most noted for his Shakespearean work) as they leave England and take the Old Vic Company on a 6-month tour of Australia and New Zealand, experiencing stresses that would contribute to the breakdown of their marriage even as they made theatrical performances and were fêted as celebrities amongst the locals.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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