Vintage Books, Vol.4

Hello everyone,

today I have some more book gems from the past to remind you about. Let’s get started:

In Russian And French Prisons by Peter Kropotkin
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian anarcho-communist who spent years in Russian and French prisons for political crimes. In his book, he shares his experiences (but without mentioning his crimes) in these prisons, discussing how they were conducted, how the convicts lived and any other aspect of daily life. The conditions in Russian prisons in particular were horrific and appalling, and prisoners were treated worse than beasts. It’s really heartbreaking to read. Kropotkin also offers suggestions on how to improve the conditions and rules of prisons so as to make the life of prisoners easier and give them a better chance of getting an honest job once out of it. If you’re interested in the history of prisons, this is definitely worth a read.
Available at:

Soap-Making Manual: A Practical Handbook on the Raw Materials, Their Manipulation, Analysis and Control in the Modern Soap Plant by Edgar G Thomssen 
Wow, what a mouthful! Well, the title says it all really so I will just add that this is a very detailed and technical read so you’d have to be very interested in how soap was made in the past (the book was published in 1922) to enjoy it. Otherwise, it’ll just bore you to death.
Available at:

My Cave Life in Vicksburg by Mary Ann Loughborough
During the American Civil War, the civilian inhabitants of Vicksburg had to abandon their homes and move into makeshift caves. Mary Ann Loughborough was the wife of a Confederate officer at Vicksburg and, together with their two year old daughter, had to move into one of these caves, where they lived in constant fear of being bombarded and came very close to death more than once. She wrote down her harrowing and trying experience in this book, which gives us a very interesting insight into how the life of civilians was affected during the civil war. If you’re interested in this sort of things, you must read this moving book.
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Etiquette by Agnes H Morton
A book on etiquette written in 1892, covering all kinds of topics such as how to write and use visiting cards, luncheons, breakfasts, dinners, gift giving, behaviour in private and public occasions, greetings, dress style, chaperones and much more. It strongly emphasizes the benefits of etiquette, good manners and chivalry while also pointing out that people shouldn’t be judged solely on the punctilious observance of these conventional rules.
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The Mother’s Manual Of Children Diseases by Charles West
Published in 1885, the manual explains what causes children diseases, what their symptoms are and how to treat them. All kinds of diseases are discussed: diseases of the chest, of the organs of digestion, of the brain and nervous system and many more. Of course we now know that not all the information written in here is accurate, but it is still interesting to discover how diseases were treated in the past. If medical history is your thing, make sure you check out this book.
Available at:

Have you read these books or are you planning to?

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