Crowdsourced History Reading — TA’s List No. 3: First Person Accounts

Memoirs / autobiographies, diaries, correspondence, and journalism.

Again, cross-references to my other topical lists are marked with the addition “cf.”

* Plato: The Last Days of Socrates
* Pliny the Younger: Letters
* Pierre Abélard: Historia calamitatum (Histoire de mes malheurs / History of My Misfortunes), and Abélard & Heloise: Correspondence
* Samuel Pepys: Diary
* Samuel Johnson: Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, and James Boswell:The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson LL.D.
* Dieudonné Thiébault: Mes souvenirs de vingt ans de séjour à Berlin: Ou, Frédéric le Grand (translated as Original Anecdotes of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, and in German, Friedrich der Grosse und sein Hof: Erinnerungen an einen 20jährigen Aufenthalt in Berlin)
* Voltaire:Über den König von Preußen: Memoiren
(Voltaire’s memoirs of Frederic the Great’s court — I think German is the only language in which they’ve specifically been excerpted from the entirety of his memoirs  (The title translates as “On / About the King of Prussia: Memors.”).  Together with Thiébault’s account, above, probably the quintessential eyewitness account of life at Frederic’s court.)
* George Sand: Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life)
— cf. list no. 2, “Women’s History”
* Teffi: Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea
— cf. list no. 2, “Women’s History”
* Ernest Hemingway: A Moveable Feast
* Alexandra David-Neel: Voyage d’une Parisienne à Lhassa (My Journey to Lhasa)
— cf. list no. 2, “Women’s History”
* Beryl Markham: West With the Night
— cf. list no. 2, “Women’s History”
* John Steinbeck: The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to The Grapes of Wrath
* Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Time of Gifts
* Anne Frank: Diary
— cf. list no. 2, “Women’s History”
* Solomon Perel: Ich war Hitlerjunge Salomon (Europa Europa)
* Astrid Lindgren: A World Gone Mad: Diaries, 1939-45
* Hans Jürgen Massaquoi: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany
* Library of America (anthology), Various Authors: Reporting World War II
* Jennifer Worth: Call the Midwife
— cf. list no. 2, “Women’s History”
* Nicolas Bouvier: The Way of the World
* Thomas Mann: Über mich selbst: Autobiographische Schriften
(Contains the text translated as A Sketch of My Life and several other bits and pieces of autobiography.  I don’t think there is an  exact English equivalent.)
* Mahatma Gandhi: The Story of My Experiments With Truth
* Carl Zuckmayr: A Part of Myself, Portrait of an Epoch(Als wäre’s ein Stück von mir: Horen der Freundschaft)
* Library of America (anthology), Various Authors: Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1959-1975
* Willy Brandt: Erinnerungen (My Life in Politics)
* Marcel Reich-Ranicki: Mein Leben (The Author of Himself: The Life of Marcel Reich-Ranicki)
* Rosemary Goring (ed.): Scotland: the Autobiography: 2,000 Years of Scottish History by Those Who Saw it Happen
* Irene & Alan Taylor (eds.), Various Authors: The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists

 

 

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