Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book Review: Great Tales from English History

A couple of weeks ago I promised a review of Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey. Originally inspired to love history by the "storybook" style histories of H.E.Marshall, he sets out in this three volume series to tell the great stories of English history in similar fashion. If you want an easy to read introduction to the outline of English history, these books would do nicely. With short chapter and lots of anecdotes, they are easy to pick up and read in odd moments. Obviously they are limited by the format - there is very little historical analysis, though he does put the stories into context. They are written for adults and although Lacey is not overly graphic for that audience, there are sections that are not suitable for children (Edward II's relationship with Piers Gaveston and the assumed manner of his subsequent death for example). Despite this, they could be read aloud to older children with a bit of editing. The best description I can give of Lacey's books is to say that they are the adult, non-illustrated equivalent to Geraldine McCaughrean's Britannia - which admittedly is not helpful if you have not seen Britannia, but if you have then you will understand what I mean!

The author has his own website, where he helpfully includes some sample chapters.


Melanie B said...

Oops! You re-posted in the Brittania link again instead of the link to the author's website.

Sounds interesting.

The Bookworm said...

Thanks Melanie - I fixed the link.

Jan said...

I have these books and I'm incorporating them into your British History schedule which we've just started. Thanks for the warning about unsuitable bits - I'll watch out for those. :)

The Bookworm said...

There aren't many, and there isn't anything gratuitous ... but as well to be forewarned so you don't find yourself having to answer questions you would rather postpone!