“History: gossip well-told.”
– Elbert Hubbard
In case you forgot, I love history. I find it fascinating. I joyfully memorized dates in school and wrote fantastic papers. Not that I had a hope or prayer of doing otherwise – my family’s library is a massive thing divided into Theology, my father’s collection of Modern Library first editions, classics, children/young adult literature, and history with an emphasis in the development of Western Culture. Our family vacations are not to theme parks as much as hiking Hadrian’s Wall, Normandy, Colonial Williamsburg, museums, castles, palaces, and ruins (true story about how all four kids, aged 20, 14, 12, and 10 climbed all over a Roman fort that was partially submerged in a stream looking for the carved symbols hidden at the base meant to protect it – which may or may not have been relief carvings of genitalia – because it was something we had never seen before in our many adventures in various Roman piles of rocks) . We are DORKS.
And everyone knows the best way to grow a dork is to start young! Ergo I bring you, Horrible Histories: a humorous, outrageous, and engrossing (emphasis on the “gross”) medium for bringing history to the masses. “It’s history, with all the horrible bits left in.” Timelines, explanations, and facts interspersed with tidbits of the unusual, gory, or just plain bizarre. And Britishly funny!
Titles such as The Savage Stone Age (Horrible Histories), Villainous Victorians (Horrible Histories), and The Vicious Vikings and the Measly Middle Ages (Horrible Histories) virtually speak for themselves. Illustrated by the delightful Martin Brown and others, there are puns, jokes, incredible stories, side-splitting captions, and all manner of fun. I’d recommend them to anyone who wants to stuff their kids’ heads with something without the child catching on to the parent’s nefarious scheme to make them enjoy getting smarter. You can buy them on the cheap, often starting as low as $.01 on Amazon, I already own a sizable (and growing) collection that still makes me laugh.
It’s history, almost as if told by Monty Python. Oh, I own that too.
Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives