first-hand accounts

Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom: The Institution of Slavery As Seen on the Plantation and in the Home of the Planter

By Louis Hughes

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"Louis Hughes was born a slave in Virginia and at age 12 was sold away from his mother, whom he never saw again. After a few interim owners, he was sold to a wealthy slaveowner who had a home near Memphis and plantation nearby in Mississippi. Hughes lived there as a house servant until near the end of the Civil War, when he escaped to the Union lines and then, in a daring adventure with the paid help of two Union soldiers, returned to the plantation for his wife. The couple made their way to Canada and after the war to Chicago and Detroit, eventually settling in Milwaukee. There Hughes became relatively comfortable as a hotel attendant and as an entrepreneur laundry operator. Self-educated and eloquent, Hughes wrote and privately published his memoir in 1897."

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Scotland, the Autobiography: 2,000 Years of Scottish History by Those Who Saw It Happen

By Rosemary Goring

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"Contributors range from Tacitus, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Oliver Cromwell to Adam Smith, David Livingstone, and Billy Connolly. These include not only historic moments--from Bannockburn to the opening of the new parliament in 1999--but also testimonies like that of the eight-year- old factory worker who was dangled by his ear out of a third-floor window for making a mistake; the survivors of the 1746 Battle of Culloden, who wished perhaps that they had died on the field; the breakthrough moment for John Logie Baird, inventor of television; and, the genesis of great works of literature recorded by Conan Doyle, Stevenson, and the editor of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

"From the battlefield to the sports field, this is living, accessible history told by crofters, criminals, servants, housewives, poets, journalists, nurses, politicians, prisoners, comedians, sportsmen, and many more."

(From the publisher's description)

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102 Minutes That Changed America

By A & E Television

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A documentary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City's World Trade Center assembled from amateur video recordings.
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Semper Fi: Stories of the United States Marine Corps from Boot Camp to Battle

By Clint Willis

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The United States Marine Corps has not only played a deciding role in many of the moments which have determined our history, but has set a standard for honor, self-sacrifice and courage. Marines leave boot camp knowing that the marine next to them is more important than they are, creating a bond with one another other and with the Corps which changes them, which is unique and which survives the most horrific combat. This collection echoes with the voices from our most renowned fighting force and their stories of combat, bravery and loyalty to one another.

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No Shining Armor: The Marines at War in Vietnam: An Oral History

By Otto Lehrack

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"It's a grunt's-eye view of the Vietnam War that emerges in No Shining Armor--the war as seen by the PFC's, sergeants, and platoon leaders in the rivers and jungles and trenches. It's the story of teenagers leading squads of men into the jungle on night missions, the story of boredom, confusion, and equipment shortages, of friends suddenly blown away, of disappointing homecomings. It's also the story of young men placed under unbearable strain and asked to do the impossible, who somehow stretched to meet the demands placed upon them, and the story of the friendships they forged in combat--friendships deeper than any these men would be able to form later in civilian life." (From the publisher's description)

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Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

By Max Hastings

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Details problems that the Allied troops encountered, particularly the inexperienced American units, and the key role played by British commanders. Describes battles that played out immediately following D-Day. The author also interviewed German soldiers to get their perspective on the fighting.

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Fighting the Invasion: The German Army at D-Day

By Gunther Blumentritt

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These accounts by German commanders were written shortly after the end of the war for American intelligence. Includes the planning stages, reactions to reports of troops landing, and a blow-by-blow account of the fighting.

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Fighting in Normandy: The German Army from D-Day to Villers-Bocage

By Heinz Guderian

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This compilation of in-depth accounts by German commanders gives a fuller understanding of the battle for Normandy.

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Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne: From Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

By Stephen E. Ambrose

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Through soldiers' journals and letters, describes Easy Company's contributions to the campaigns in western Europe and recounts their stories of survival.

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In Hospital and Camp: The Civil War through the Eyes of Its Doctors and Nurses

By Harold Elk Straubing

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Nurses' and doctors' own words add an additional poignancy to a history which often relies on statistics and formal reports. Includes selections from Louisa May Alcott and Walt Whitman, both of whom served as nurses.

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