Books On-Line

The Autodesk File

The history of Autodesk and AutoCAD told through contemporary documents, edited and annotated by Autodesk founder John Walker. You can read this 900 page book on-line on the World-Wide Web, or download a copy to read or print off-line in either PostScript or Adobe Acrobat PDF format. New: Fifth edition (2017) updates to modern Web standards, typography, and navigation.

The Hacker's Diet

The Hacker's Diet: How to Lose Weight and Hair through Stress and Poor Nutrition book plus associated computer tools. You can read the book on-line on the World-Wide Web, or download a copy to read or print off-line in either PostScript or Adobe Acrobat PDF format. The WWW and Adobe Acrobat versions have hot-links for all table of contents items, cross-references, and index entries. A set of Excel spreadsheets which accompany the book (but are not necessary to use it) is also available for downloading, and the weight logging and management tools described in the book are also available for the Palm Computing Platform. New: Fourth Edition (2005) improves appearance, accessibility, and ease of navigation; it strictly complies with the XHTML 1.0 and CSS 2.1 standards.

1930 Allied Radio Catalogue

The year is 1930. The stock market had crashed the previous October, but the impact of that event wasn't at all clear. Even as the golden age of radio was still building momentum toward creating the first continental scale shared popular culture, the preeminent vendors of the one-to-many connectivity technology of the epoch, AM radio, led their pitch with price. Direct from this distant epoch, here is the 1930 Allied Radio Catalogue. It starts slowly and somewhat tediously: the initial pages are obviously the same radio chassis sold in a variety of different cabinets, but it gets better when we get into the bits and pieces. There's even a half page devoted to components for bleeding-edge early adopters experimenting with mechanical scanning disc television!


King James Version of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Includes anchor labels for every chapter and verse, permitting easy citation from other documents in the conventional form. For example the parable of the Good Samaritan may be cited as:
<a href=">.

1903 Book Catalogue

The complete 1903 book catalogue of Frederick J. Drake & Company of Chicago is now available on-line. This catalogue appears in the back of one of their books that bears a copyright date of 1903 and some of the books listed in it are described as New or Latest editions for 1903 through 1905, so I presume it dates from around then.

Just reading the descriptions of the books immerses you in a world long gone and largely forgotten, when humour trod on topics forbidden today, home handymen consulted 560 page two-volume works on the use of the steel square, and the infatuated would turn to North's Book of Love Letters for help in winning the heart of their dearly beloved. Teddy Roosevelt was president of the 45 United States, the Wright brothers were fiddling around with a curious contraption on a sand dune in North Carolina, and the dollar was as good as gold: 50 cents would buy you a hardbound book of 200 pages, shipped postpaid to almost anywhere in the civilised world, which wasn't ashamed to so describe itself.

The pages are presented as JPEG images, scanned at 600 DPI and scaled to a uniform height of 768 pixels. The quality of the original printing isn't all that good—the ink blots and occasional missing letters were there from the start; there is almost no degradation due to age apart from yellowing of the paper (which isn't evident in these greyscale images).

De la Terre la Lune

Jules Verne's De la Terre la Lune, original French-language 1865 edition, fully illustrated. An English translation of this book is also available.

From the Earth to the Moon

A rather poor English translation of Jules Verne's De la Terre la Lune, illustrated with drawings from the original 1865 French edition.

Autour de la Lune

Jules Verne's Autour de la Lune, the original French-language 1870 edition, fully illustrated.

The Go-Getter

Peter B. Kyne's classic novelette about a young man whose “whatever it takes” attitude has inspired and motivated hundreds of thousands of readers, including this one, for almost a century. This Web edition, reproducing the 1921 first edition, is in the public domain.

Little Wars

In this 1913 classic, H. G. Wells essentially single-handedly invented the modern pastime of miniature wargaming, providing a (tin soldier) battle-tested set of rules which makes for exciting, well-balanced, and unpredictable games that can be played by two or more people in an afternoon and part of an evening. Interestingly, he avoids much of the baggage that burdens contemporary games such as icosahedral dice and indirect fire calculations, and strictly minimises the rôle of chance, using nothing fancier than a coin toss, and that only in rare circumstances. This Web edition includes all of the photographs and marginal drawings from the 1913 first edition.

Art of Money Getting

Here is Wisdom. One of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 19th century, P.T. Barnum, presents his 20 “Golden Rules for Making Money” in this pithy, succinct, and witty document penned in 1880. A Web edition and plain ASCII electronic text are available, both in the public domain.

The Hebrew Bible

If your browser supports the Unicode character set and a font which includes Hebrew characters, here is a complete Hebrew Bible you can read in your browser. The text is the Koren Tanach and is presented without vowels or diacritical marks. An earlier edition, encoded in the ISO 8859-8 character set, remains available. The text of the two editions is identical.

Farming with Dynamite

No mule to feed.
No hands to pay.
You're farming now,
the modern way:
with dynamite!
This 1910 du Pont pamphlet (scanned from an original edition in the Fourmilab library) introduces farmers to the labour-saving wonders of that modern agricultural miracle, “Red Cross” Dynamite.

Herrmann's Book of Magic

When you were a kid, did your grandfather ever pull a coin from his pocket, clap his hands together and make it disappear, then “find” it behind your ear, sending you off to the Popsicle truck for a summer evening treat? If so, and you're now grandparent age yourself, this may be the book from which he learned that trick. Alexander Herrmann was a prominent stage magician in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In this 1903 book, he reveals many of the secrets of the conjuror, from the fundamental sleight of hand skills of palming objects and vanishing and producing them, to the operation of famous illusions such as the disembodied head which speaks. This on-line edition, available both in HTML and Plain ASCII formats, is a complete reproduction of the book, including (in the HTML edition) all the illustrations.


Lewis Carroll's classic poem from Through the Looking-Glass, 1871.

Kipling Poems on Empire

Written between 1899 and 1919, Rudyard Kipling's classic poems, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”, “The Old Issue”, and “The White Man's Burden” evoke thoughts of eternal verities, the temptations and risks of empire, and the endless struggle for individual freedom against encroaching tyranny which are as relevant today as when they first appeared in print. These on-line editions are strictly compliant XHTML 1.0 and in the public domain—you may use them in any way you wish.

Peter Kropotkin's Anarchist Communism and Anarchist Morality

Peter Kropotkin (1842–1921) was a revolutionary before leaving his native Russia, but it was in the Jura mountains of western Switzerland, present-day home to Fourmilab, that he developed his philosophy of anarchism. In his Memoirs, he wrote, “…when I came away from the mountains after a week's stay with the watchmakers, my views upon socialism were settled. I was an anarchist.” His 1887 pamphlet, Anarchist Communism, is one of the clearest expositions of Kropotkin's view that anarchism cannot seek solely to do away with government, but must also abolish property and privilege. In Anarchist Morality, published in 1897, he treats morality as a characteristic of all living beings and argues that anarchism, oft condemned as immoral, is in fact entirely consistent with this innate morality.

Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours

Jules Verne's Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours, the original French-language 1873 edition, fully illustrated.

No Treason

Lysander Spooner's No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. Written in 1870 and published by the author, No Treason remains one of the greatest flat-out anarcho-libertarian rants ever penned.

People of Africa

Published in 1921 to introduce African children to the variety of peoples and cultures of their continent, People of Africa by Edith A. How, a missionary in Central Africa, provides modern readers insight into how Europeans regarded the Dark Continent at the apogee of the colonial era. The book is available as an illustrated Web edition and in a variety of other forms suitable for reading off-line.

On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies

An English language translation of Albert Einstein's 1905 paper which introduced Special Relativity, as published in the 1923 book The Principle of Relativity. This document is is both a monument of twentieth century physics and a masterpiece of scientific communication. In addition to the Web edition, a ready-to-print PostScript file and LaTeX source code of this document may be downloaded. Stefano Taschini has produced a beautiful Adobe Acrobat PDF edition of this document--thank you!

Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy-Content?

An English language translation of Albert Einstein's 1905 paper which first derived the equivalence of mass and energy, as published in the 1923 book The Principle of Relativity. Starting solely from the principle of relativity for observers in uniform motion and the constancy of the speed of light, Einstein employs an elegant kinematical argument to deduce the most famous equation of twentieth century physics: the equivalence of mass and energy. In addition to the Web edition, ready-to-print PostScript and Adobe Acrobat PDF files as well as LaTeX source code of this document are available.

The Einstein-Szilard Refrigerator

Albert Einstein is often thought of as an archetype of the unworldly theoretical physicist, but in fact he was interested in and knowledgeable on a broad variety of topics far removed from his speciality. In 1930, along with fellow physicist Leo Szilard, he was granted U.S. Patent 1,781,541 for a refrigerator with no moving parts other than the refrigerant. At the time the patent was issued, Einstein and Szilard were residents of Berlin; both were soon to flee Germany when Hitler came to power. This document is a facsimile of the U.S. patent on the Einstein-Szilard refrigerator, filed on December 16, 1927, granted November 11, 1930, and licensed to the Electrolux Corporation.

Atomic Test Effects in the Nevada Test Site Region

In 1955 the giant mushrooms sprouted in abundance at the Nevada Test Site north of Las Vegas. A total of fourteen fission devices were detonated, with yields as high as 43 kilotons. The “Desert Rock VI” exercise exposed 8000 troops to nuclear blasts to train them for combat operations on the nuclear battlefield. This document was distributed in January 1955 to those living near the Nevada Test Site to prepare them for the 1955 test series. Illustrated with delightful 1950s line art, it includes such sage advice as, “Your best action is not to be worried about fall-out.” and “We can expect many reports that ‘Geiger counters were going crazy here today.’ Reports like this may worry people unnecessarily. Don't let them bother you.”

The Effects of Nuclear Weapons

The 1977 third (and most recent) edition of this book, compiled by Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan and published by the United States Department of Defense and Energy Research and Development Administration (now Department of Energy) is the definitive work on nuclear weapons effects. It is presented in a hybrid form, with an XHTML table of contents which links to PDF file containing scans of the pages of the book. An interactive Web edition of the nuclear bomb effects computer circular slide rule which accompanied the 1962 edition of the book is also available.

Tom Swift and His Pocket Library

There's nothing better to fill those odd moments of downtime…standing in line at the post office or supermarket check-out, waiting in the dentist's office for your name to be (gulp) called, whiling away that seemingly endless interval between blinding flash and deafening report…than whipping out your PDA (PalmPilot, PocketPC, etc.) for a little light reading. Aleatory occasions for literary indulgence of unpredictable temporal extent demand works which don't require a great deal of concentration nor a long attention span; early 20th century juvenile pulp fiction fills the bill superbly. I've been reading through the original Tom Swift novels written by Victor Appleton between 1910 and 1941 on my PDA; here's a library so you can do likewise, should you wish. These books are based upon the Project Gutenberg Etext editions, but reformatted for reading on a handheld computer with eReader or any of its predecessors. HTML, PDF, and plain ASCII editions suitable for reading online or printing are also available. The modest collection of titles will grow slowly and sporadically as I work my way through the series.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Saint Jerome's A.D. 405 Latin translation of the Bible. Includes anchor labels for every chapter and verse, permitting easy citation from other documents in the conventional form. For example the parable of the Good Samaritan may be cited as:
<a href=">.

The Time Machine

H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, available online as an HTML document tree, or to download in various formats, allowing you to read the book when not connected to the Internet or when trapped in a closed timelike loop in which the Internet has not been invented.

The War of the Worlds

H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds.


C++ program which automatically translates electronic texts prepared in the format used at this site into LaTeX for typeset output, HTML for Web publication, Palm Markup Language for handhelds, or 7-bit ASCII for readers unable to display 8-bit ISO characters. Includes tools for editors to produce and validate electronic books.

ISBNquest: Web-based ISBN Utility

ISBNquest processes International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) with a Web-based interface and validates, interconverts formats, inserts proper punctuation, analyses the components of an ISBN, generates a bar code, and looks up the publication on Amazon, showing title, author, publisher, publication date, and other information. A link is composed which credits purchases made through it to an Amazon Associates account.

The Stratified Bible

Inspired by Donald E. Knuth's 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated, The Stratified Bible generates custom “stratified samples“ of books of the Bible, for either user-specified or randomly selected chapter and verse numbers. Verse text is displayed in English, Latin, and Hebrew (the latter only for Old Testament books), with text linked to the verse in context in the complete book. Custom queries can select which languages are displayed and from what portions of the Bible (for example, the Torah or Gospels) verses are sampled.