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Old 07-27-2007, 09:08 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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The complete MobileRead edition of the Harvard Classics is now available!

One of the most extraordinary collections of timeless literature is now available to the MobileRead community at no charge. The Harvard Classics collection was assembled originally in 1909 by Charles Eliot, president of Harvard University. According to Wikipedia, Dr. Eliot "had stated in speeches that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending fifteen minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf. (Originally he had said a three-foot shelf). The publisher P. F. Collier and Son saw an opportunity, and challenged him to make good on this statement by selecting an appropriate collection of works; the Harvard Classics was the result."

The MobileRead edition was completed in an amazing and monumental three-month effort by RWood, who painstakingly hand produced a very nice electronic version of the set for Sony Reader and MobiPocket (with the MobiPocket version to be complete within the next week). You will immediately see and appreciate the work that he has put into producing these volumes, in that they are quite pleasing for reading. Multiple versions of the source texts were used to produce these two (non-DRM'd) formats. The two formats cover a large range of e-book reading devices, including smartphones, and allow this collection to be accessible to large numbers of readers.

If you think this is all just an academic set of boring books, think again. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is considered by many to be the best ever written, and it seems to have a profound influence on just about everyone that reads it. While some books might not be for everyone, it's amazing to see how relevant they are, and to get such a nice glimpse into these critical people and times of history. They may just turn out to be more fun to read and skim than you would ever imagine. Wikipedia also points out that the set has become popular for home schooling, even today.

A paper version is available in various used book sources, and from Eaton Press in a subscription program for a whopping $3200! Incidentally, Eaton Press summarizes the content as "bring[ing] together more than 1,850 works by over 300 masters of thought and letters".

RWood describes the making of this e-book set in a bit more detail, and I'm sure he would appreciate comments and a "thank you" from everyone that has an interest in the set, and your thoughts as you read the volumes.

This unique e-book set is currently available at no charge as separate volumes at MobileRead's e-book upload section, and should be a welcome addition to any reader's electronic library. You can also do a MobileRead site search for "harvard classics volume" to find the threads with the volume downloads. Enjoy!
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