James Allen is a relatively obscure author. His inspirational writings have influenced millions for good - after his death. His nineteen books give no clue to his life other than to mention his place of residence - Ilfracombe, England. Born in Leicester, England, into a working class family, Allen was the eldest of two brothers. His mother could neither read nor write while his father, William, was a factory knitter. In 1879, following a downturn in the textile trade of central England, Allen's father traveled alone to America to find work and establish a new home for the family. Within two days of arriving his father was pronounced dead at New York City Hospital, believed to be a case of robbery and murder. At age fifteen, with the family now facing economic disaster, Allen was forced to leave school and find work.