[Free eBook & Audiobook] Demokrati by Svend-Erik Skaaning [Danish Academic Political Science Essay]

Demokrati (Democracy) by Svend-Erik Skaaning, a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University, is the the 48th in the Tænkepauser (Thinking Breaks) series of Danish-language accessibly-written short essays meant to introduce academic topics to a general audience, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Aarhus University Press in Denmark.

This essay covers democracy in its good and bad points, apparently based on the premise of Winston Churchill’s observation about how democracy would be the worst form of government, if it were not for all the other even worse forms of government that have been tried.

Offered through April 10th, available DRM-free worldwide with an accompanying MP3 audiobook.

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[Free eBook] A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell [WWII London Blitz Historical Memoir]

A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell, a pseudonym for the late author and painter Olivia Faviell Lucas, is her WWII home front historical memoir, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Dean Street Press.

This was originally published in 1959 by Cassell. The reprint contains a new introduction by British author Virginia Nicholson (herself a great-niece of author Virginia Woolf), who remembered this fondly in a letter to The Telegraph. This memoir takes place during the early 1940s London Blitz in the Chelsea area, where the author was a Red Cross volunteer, and covers her experiences living with and giving aid to ordinary people amidst the bombings.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] The Renaissance Reader by Kenneth Atchity [14th-17th C Historical Source Texts Introduction]

The Renaissance Reader by author and film producer Kenneth Atchity, who also happens to hold a Ph.D. in comparative literature, is his introductory historical source text sampler, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Story Merchant Books.

This was originally published in 1996 by Collins Reference, a division of HarperCollins, as part of their Reader Series series, credited as Kenneth J. Atchity. This volume provides an introduction to the culture and mindset of the Renaissance via selected excerpts from authentic period writings—both fiction and non-fiction covering a diversity of subject matter—from well- and lesser-known figures from the 14th through 17th centuries, alongside some biographical and bibliographical commentary for each one, explaining the significance of the person or their work in the context of the times.

Offered DRM-free worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] dozens of freebies during Smashwords Read an Ebook Week sale [Fiction & Non-Fiction]

Today is the last day of the annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Sale, and dozens of previously-published free ebooks are being given away (alongside thousands more by indie authors). These are all DRM-free, available worldwide, and will require signing up for an account with them (no payment info needed), ending midnight tonight (March 11th), probably Eastern Time (possibly Pacific).

For free, Canadian backlist publisher BevEditions has an excellent selection of Canadian fiction and non-fiction in many genres, including history, biography, true crime, mysteries, historical and literary fiction, mostly previously published during the 1980s and 1990s by major publishers such as Doubleday and HarperCollins, including works by historian Marian Fowler, Arthur Ellis Award-winning mystery author Lyn Hamilton, Jewish-Canadian Order of Canada recipient Morley Torgov (whose works have been adapted into film), and many more. I’ve read several of these in the past, and highly recommend picking up the lot if you can get it.

I apologize for the very short notice on this. My internet has been down, and I’m posting this from the library. NB: Smashwords’ site is currently buggy, so to get the freebies (or purchase discounted books), you’ll have to add the book to your cart by choosing to ignore the expired coupon warning, then manually apply the coupon code (e.g. SFREE) from the book’s product page, to see the discount price appear before checking out. For the most efficient “shopping”, add a bunch of stuff to your cart first, and then copy-paste the coupon code into their respective boxes, and hit “Apply Coupon” at the bottom to have them all discount at once.

To browse the other freebies offered, start here at the Smashwords Read an EBook Week Sale dedicated promo page, then you can pick a genre category from the sidebar, and use the price/coupon categories to refine your results. I advise checking the SFREE 100% off category first, as the regular Free page will pull up things which are not necessarily part of the limited-time promo, but offered free as their usual price.

Also, if you are interested in reprints of 1980s/1990s science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery, the following imprints are offering 50% off previously-published works by authors such as Craig Shaw Gardner (humorous light fantasy formerly out from Ace Books), Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (Nebula-nominated, and one of my favourite fantasy authors), Bill Pronzini, Melissa Scott (John W. Campbell Best New Writer winner, and also a Lambda Literary Award-nominee), World Fantasy Award winner Robert Holdstock, and many more: Crossroad Press, Untreed Reads, Infinity Plus, Gypsy Shadow Publishing

If you happen to miss something, many of these publishers also participate in the Smashwords July sale, and will probably also do Read an Ebook Week next year as well.

[Free eBook] Lincoln’s Constitution by Daniel Farber [US Law & Political Issues History]

Lincoln’s Constitution by author and historian Daniel Farber, the Sho Sato Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, among other honours, is his history of constitutional law issues related to the US Civil War, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher the University of Chicago Press.

This is an accessibly-written history cum analysis of how the titular president dealt with constitutional issues arising from the US Civil War, placing them into their historical context with the assorted events and political pressures surrounding Lincoln’s decisions, and extrapolating the lessons to be learned in their applicability to current interpretations of the law today (as of circa 2003, when this was originally published).

Offered worldwide throughout the month of March, available directly from the publisher.

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[Free eBook] Fallen Order: Intrigue, Heresy, and Scandal in the Rome of Galileo and Caravaggio by Karen Liebreich [History]

Fallen Order: Intrigue, Heresy, and Scandal in the Rome of Galileo and Caravaggio by Karen Liebreich, an historian and former producer at the BBC and The History Channel, is is her history book about a 17th century scandal in the Catholic Church, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 2004 by Grove Press. This accessibly-written history examines a scandal in 17th century Rome, having to do with accusations of child abuse in schools which the Catholic Church ran and the ensuing investigations, with a lack of punishment and cover-ups for the persons responsible, akin to similar Catholic institutional scandals which have been revealed in recent decades.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Libraries and Enlightenment: Eighteenth-Century Norway and the Outer World by Gina Dahl [Travel Literature History]

Libraries and Enlightenment: Eighteenth-Century Norway and the Outer World by Gina Dahl is her history of the rise in popularity and availability of books about travel and discovery and their impact on society, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Aarhus University Press in Denmark.

This is an accessibly-written academic book about books, specifically the impact that the greater availability of books about things outside of early modern Norway had on the people of Norway, who were able to do “virtual travel” to other worlds by means of armchair-discovering the foreign places and cultures described in said books. While this does concentrate mainly on the availability of and impact of such books in Norway specifically, some of it also appears to cover the greater trend for such travelogue and discovery-type books in the wider world of the Enlightenment, also examining the attitudes expressed by the authors of particular well-known titles and their apparent reception by the popular audience.

Offered DRM-free worldwide through the month of February, directly from the publisher.

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[Free eBook] Stoleleg: Jørgen Leths verdener by Dan Ringgaard [Danish Filmmaker Career Retrospective]

Stoleleg: Jørgen Leths verdener (Chair Games: The Worlds of Jørgen Leth) by Dan Ringgaard, a Professor in the Communication and Culture department at Aarhus University and a recipient of the Georg Brandes Prize for literary criticism, is his Danish-language creative career retrospective about the noted filmmaker, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Aarhus University Press in Denmark.

This was published to coincide with Jørgen Leth‘s 75th birthday, according to the official announcement on Leth’s blog, and is a Danish-language retrospective appreciation cum critical examination of his life and times and works. While Leth is best known to international audiences as a filmmaker, he is apparently also a poet and has dabbled in journalism, sports, and other fields which author Ringgaard covers in a series of essays, apparently from a somewhat personal perspective, drawing from his own encounters with Leth and his resulting views of the man’s work over the decades.

Offered DRM-free worldwide through the month of February, directly from the publisher.

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[Free eBook] The Fear of Barbarians: Beyond the Clash of Civilizations by Tzvetan Todorov [Political Philosophy]

The Fear of Barbarians: Beyond the Clash of Civilizations by Tzvetan Todorov, an award-winning Bulgarian-French historian, critic, and essayist, is his political philosophy book tying together historical attitudes leading into current events, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher University of Chicago Press.

This is an English-language translation of the original French La peur des barbares : au-delà du choc des civilisations, published in 2008 by Robert Laffont, translated by Andrew Brown. Apparently, this book gives a slightly different take on the roots of the current tensions between Middle East and West, drawn from the author’s own personal experience growing up in communist Bulgaria and immigrating to France, evaluating and arguing for a shift in the balance between fear of imported ideology and ideals of freedom and tolerance, as used by western locals and applied to foreign immigrants.

Offered worldwide, available through the month of February, directly from the publisher.

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[Free eBook] Elephants Are Not Picked From Trees by Liv Emma Thorsen [Nature Museum Exhibit History]

Elephants Are Not Picked From Trees: Animal Biographies in the Gothenburg Natural History Museum by Liv Emma Thorsen, a professor emerita at the University of Oslo in Norway, is her natural museum exhibit micro-history book, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Aarhus University Press in Denmark.

This is an accessibly-written academic history showcasing the origins of four of the subtitular Swedish natural history museum’s preserved animal exhibits. This is really very nifty, not only lavishly illustrated with period and modern photographs, but also with plenty of info explaining the historical cultural background surrounding the fad for taxidermied animal acquisition in past centuries, as well as quotes from original documents about the acquisition process and subsequent treatment and setup of the exhibits and their ensuing reception by the public. (Sadly, the notorious Gripsholm Lion, made memetically infamous as perhaps the worst ever historically taxidermied lion put on display, does not appear to be mentioned anywhere in its pages.)

Offered through the month of January, available worldwide DRM-free.

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