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Series Descriptions

There are over 50 books included in the Heritage History Modern Europe Classical Library. About half of these books are part of a series, produced either by a single author or by a group of authors under the direction of a specific publisher. Some of these series focus mainly on European history, while others cover a broad range of civilizations.

All the series in the Modern Europe library are included in the table below. A short description of each series is followed by a list of book titles. In some cases, most of the books in the series relate to European history, but in others cases, the series contains books from many different civilizations. Titles that pertain to Modern European History are highlighted, but all other titles are listed as well, along with the Library on which they can be found. We have provided this information because when a student finds a book he enjoys, he often desires to locate similar titles.

Although an overall description of each series is provided, the content of specific books is not indicated. To see a short synopsis of individual books included in the Modern Europe library, see the Book Summaries page.

Series Title Description Volumes Author
Twins of the World Historical fiction featuring boy and girl twins from countries around the globe. 2 of 13 Perkins
Told to the Children Illustrated juvenile versions of classical legends and literature. 1 of 30 various
Children’s Heroes Biographies of many of the most exciting characters of history, particularly British history. 1 of 13 various
Famous Men of the Ages An introduction to World History for students of any age 1 of 4 Haaren
Story of the World World history from biblical times through the 20th century, emphasizing British history. 2 of 5 Synge
Guerber's Historical Readers Introduction to classical history for middle school students 1 of 7 Guerber
Life Stories for Young People European Biographies for middle school students 10 of 21 Upton
Lives of the Saints Biographies of some of the well-known saints of Europe 1 of 9 Forbes
Church History Ecclesiastical History from a Catholic Viewpoint 3 of 5 various
Makers of History Biographies of many prominent men and women from history 5 of 32 Abbott
Historical Tales Historical tales from Western Civilization 2 of 12 Morris

Twins of the World

This series of books is based on the idea of introducing world geography and the customs of different civilizations, by way of a pair of twins growing up in various countries. The books are written for grammar school students, and each features a set of twins—always a boy and a girl—who are young and curious, but developed in enough detail to be of real interest. The books deal primarily with customs, geographic, and livelihood issues rather than historical or political issues, but several of the stories are conceived with a historical circumstance such as a war, a flood, or land-reform in the back-ground. In these cases, the day to day life of a typical family growing up in unusually difficult circumstances is portrayed. Most of the books, however, are focused on presenting the life-style and customs of the children in a given country, and their daily activities and education.

While all of the books in the series are intended for elementary school students, and all are well within our range for introductory readers, there is some progression in difficulty within the series, and the ages of the subject twins correspond roughly to the increased reading difficulty. The nationality, and range of difficulty is given roughly as follows: Early elementary: Dutch Twins, Eskimo Twins, Filipino Twins, Japanese Twins, Swiss Twins, Irish Twins, Italian Twins, Puritan Twins; Later elementary: Scotch Twins, Mexican Twins, Belgian Twins, French Twins, Spartan Twins, Colonial Twins.

Twins of the World by L.F. Perkins
Title Compact Library size
Belgian Twins Modern Europe, Young Readers 49
French Twins Modern Europe, Young Readers 51
Dutch Twins Young Readers 50
Eskimo Twins Young Readers 49
Japanese Twins Young Readers 47
Swiss Twins Young Readers 32
Puritan Twins Early America, Young Readers 45
Scotch Twins British Middle Ages, Young Readers 57
Mexican Twins Spanish Empire, Young Readers 52
Spartan Twins Ancient Greece, Young Readers 43
Irish Twins unavailable  
Italian Twins unavailable  
Cave Twins unavailable  

Told to the Children Series

The object of the Told to the Children series, published by E.C. and T.C. Jack in Great Britain in the early 1900’s, was to take well-known classics from both the western canon and 19th century English literature and retell the stories in a simple manner for children age 9-12. The books themselves are short, well written, and beautifully illustrated. An upper elementary age child can sometimes complete an entire book in only a few hours, and even younger children can read them independently. A great deal of the complexity of the original is left out, but in most cases the author focuses on telling a few stories well rather than trying to cover every aspect of the original at a superficial level.

The series involves over 30 books by a number of authors, but we have not attempted to republish the whole series. The books we have published represent the best of the series and focus mainly on legendary classics rather than those adapted from Victorian era originals. Only the books in the series which we have published are listed here. There are several more pending.

Told to the Children Edited by Louey Chisholm
Title Compact Library size
Stories of Wagner   by C. E. Smith Modern Europe 37
Stories of Siegfried   by Macgregor Christian Europe, Young Readers 37
Stories of Roland   by Marshall Christian Europe, Young Readers 33
Stories of William Tell   by Marshall Christian Europe, Young Readers 31
Stories from Dante   by Macgregor Christian Europe, Young Readers 41
Stories from King Arthur   by Macgregor British Middle Ages, Young Readers 36
Stories from Pilgrim's Progress   by Macgregor British Middle Ages, Young Readers 37
Stories of Beowulf   by Marshall British Middle Ages, Young Readers 29
Stories of Robin Hood   by Marshall British Middle Ages, Young Readers 38
Stories of Guy of Warwick   by Marshall British Middle Ages, Young Readers 31
Stories from Ballads   by Macgregor British Middle Ages 36
Stories from the Old Testament   by Chisholm Young Readers 36
Stories from the Life of Christ   by Kelman Young Readers 44
Stories from the Arabian Nights an Nights   by Steedman Young Readers 42
Stories from the Iliad   by Lang Ancient Greece, Young Readers 36
Stories from the Odyssey   by Lang Ancient Greece, Young Readers 37
Celtic Tales   by Chisholm British Empire 42
Stories from Gulliver's Travels   by Lang British Empire, Young Readers 33
Stories from Uncle Tom's Cabin   by Marshall Early America, Young Readers 48

Children’s Heroes Series

The Children's Heroes series was published in the early 1900’s by T.C. and E.C. Jack, and has many of the same positive attributes as their well-known Told to the Children Series. Instead of focusing on literature however, it is a series of biographies, primarily about historical English men-of-action. Several of the "heroes" dealt with in this series were not unambiguously good men, but all lived important and action filled lives that are of great interest to young people.

A few of the heroes introduced in these tales, such as Lincoln, Columbus, and Joan of Arc, were not figures related to British history, but most of the others were. This series, therefore, is not only a wonderful collection of fascinating biographies, but also gives terrific insights into British history. We recommended many of these books as a supplement to older students who are undertaking a comprehensive study of England and the British Empire.

Children's Heroes by Various Authors
Title Compact Library size
Story of Napoleon   by Marshall Modern Europe 35
Story of Joan of Arc   by Lang Christian Europe, Young Readers 35
Story of Robert Bruce   by Lang British Middle Ages, Young Readers 44
Story of Columbus   by Imlach Spanish Empire, Young Readers 34
Story of Francis Drake   by Elton British Middle Ages, Young Readers 37
Story of Raleigh   by Duncan British Middle Ages, Young Readers 36
Story of Lord Clive   by Lang British Empire, Young Readers 32
Story of Captain Cook   by Lang British Empire, Young Readers 34
Story of Nelson   by Sellar British Empire, Young Readers 40
Story of Abraham Lincoln   by Hamilton Early America, Young Readers 37
Story of Livingstone   by Golding British Empire 32
Story of H. M. Stanley   by Golding British Empire 32
Story of Lord Roberts   by Sellar British Empire 39
Story of General Gordon   by Lang British Empire 38
Story of Chalmers of New Guinea   by Kelman Unavailable  
Story of Cromwell   by Marshall Unavailable  
Story of Bishop Patterson   by Paget Unavailable  

Famous Men of the Ages

As an introduction to World History for students of any age, one can hardly do better than the well-known Famous Men Series, by John H. Haaren and A. B. Poland. These are exceptionally well written and beautifully illustrated works which very simply introduce the main characters of Western Civilization, beginning in Ancient Greece and ending in the 19th century. The first two volumes in the series are Famous Men of Greece and Famous Men of Rome. Although these books are organized as a collection of biographies, they can be read as an introductory history because the characters are part of a single civilization, and their lives are woven together in a fairly seamless manner. The latter two books, Famous Men of the Middle Ages and Famous Men of Modern Times, provide excellent portraits of many of the most important characters in British and European history. They are just as well written and interesting as the former two, but are unable to weave the lives of the characters into a coherent narrative simply because they occur over such disparate times and societies.

Famous Men of History by John Haaren and A. B. Poland
Title Compact Library size
Famous Men of Modern Times Modern Europe, British Empire 119
Famous Men of Greece Ancient Greece 93
Famous Men of Rome Ancient Rome 96
Famous Men of the Middle Ages British Middle Ages and Christian Europe 98

Story of the World

The Story of the World series comprises a set of five volumes, written at an introductory reading level, that cover all major events in the history of Western Civilization, from our earliest recorded history to the close of the nineteenth century. With fifty or so short chapters in each volume, the series links the great eras in time and place together by a chain of stories of individuals who played principal parts in the events related. While statesmen and military commanders figure heavily in the narrative, stories of explorers, scientists, artists, authors, and religious figures are also presented.

M. B Synge writes in an engaging fashion, using dialog frequently to bring scenes to life. She juxtaposes events happening at the same time in different parts of the world in a style reminiscent of the books of Genevieve Foster. This series is an excellent introduction to world history for older readers as well as for children.

The first volume of the Story of the World series, On the Shores of the Great Sea, focuses on the civilizations surrounding the Mediterranean from the time of Abraham to the birth of Christ. Discovery of New Worlds covers the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the middle ages in Europe, the rise of Islam and the Crusades, and finally the age of exploration, and the establishment of trade with the Far East, concluding with the discovery of the New World by Columbus. The third volume, Awakening of Europe, covers the Reformation in various countries in Europe, and the settlement of colonies in America. The rise of the great nations of Europe, including England, the Netherlands, Russia, France and Austria, are also covered. Struggle for Sea Power focuses on the age of empire and world colonization. The histories of European colonies in America, Australia, South Africa, and India are related. Also covered are the Revolution in America, the French Revolution, and campaigns of Napoleon. The fifth volume, Growth of the British Empire focuses on the nineteenth century, which was dominated by the British Empire, and corresponding ideas of progress and modernism. It also treats the revolutions in South America and Mexico, the Boer War in South Africa, and the exploration of Central Africa, the Greek and Italian wars for Independence, the Crimean War, the American Civil War, the opening of trade with Japan and China, and the rebellion in India. The final volume in the Series, The World at War, was completed sometime after the earlier five and considers the dramatic changes wrought by the First World War.

Story of the World by M.B. Synge
Title Compact Library size
Struggle for Sea Power Modern Europe, British Empire 93
Growth of the British Empire Modern Europe, British Empire 94
On the Shores of the Great Sea Ancient Greece 78
Awakening of Europe Christian Europe 90
Discovery of New Worlds Christian Europe 85
World at War Modern Europe  

Guerber's Historical Readers

Helene Guerber was an American author whose series of historical readers provides an excellent introduction to the major societies of Western Civilization. She writes specifically for an early middle school audience and every book is divided into short chapters, each of which deals with a specific character or event. Guerber is an excellent writer who tells her stories with great interest. She understands her students' mindset well, and states in one of her introductions:

This elementary history of Greece . . .is made up principally of stories about persons; for, while history proper is largely beyond the comprehension of children, they are able at an early age to understand and enjoy anecdotes of people, especially of those in the childhood of civilization. At the same time, these stories will give a clear idea of the most important events that have taken place in the ancient world, and, it is hoped, will arouse a desire to read further.

Guerber wrote around the turn of the century, primarily for the American Book Company, which at the time supplied a great many textbooks for use in American public schools. Her histories were very popular with American students in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Classical Histories for Young People by Helene Guerber
Title Compact Library size
Story of Modern France Modern Europe 142
Story of the Greeks Ancient Greece 116
Story of the Romans Ancient Rome 114
Story of the English British Middle Ages 145
Story of Old France Christian Europe 165
Story of the Thirteen Colonies Early America 141
Story of the Great Republic Early America 151

Life Stories for Young People

The Life Stories Series is a collection of short biographies written for intermediate students that were originally published in Germany. At the time, the German national school system was widely admired by educational reformers in the United States, and many of its features were incorporated into the American public school system.

The subjects of these books are mostly European, but they cover a wide variety of personalities and interests. There are a number of famous national heroes, of course, such as William the Silent, Frederick the Great, and Eugene of Savoy. But there are also explorers, musicians, and legendary heroes. At least five of the books in the collection are written primarily from the point of view the queen or Empress of a prominent European monarch, rather than principle ruler himself. A number focus on the childhood of famous personages, rather than their political career. In all cases, an effort has been made to maximize the interest for younger students in the lives of the subjects, rather than to emphasize political lessons.

The original German for many of these books were published in the 1880's and 1890's but the American translations, done by the Chicago music critic, George P. Upton, were not completed until 1907 through 1914. The collection was very well received, and was gaining popularity in children's libraries when the Great War broke out. Because of anti-German sentiment, however, publication was stopped during the war and never resumed.

The original series was written by a variety of authors in German, but the translator of the entire series was George P. Upton, a well-known music critic and self-taught expert on European culture.

Life Stories for Young People Translated by George P. Upton
Title Compact Library size
The Little Dauphin Modern Europe 46
Elizabeth - Empress of Austria Modern Europe 48
Eugenie - Empress of France Modern Europe 50
Frederick the Great Modern Europe 50
Joseph Haydn
Modern Europe 57
Louise - Queen of Prussia Modern Europe 39
Maximilian in Mexico Modern Europe, Spanish Empire 42
Mozart's Youth Modern Europe 36
Maria Theresa of Austria Modern Europe 43
Emperor William First Modern Europe 40
Undine Modern Europe 46
Gudrun Christian Europe 46
Nibelungs Christian Europe 64
Herman and Thusnelda Christian Europe, Ancient Rome 41
Barbarossa Christian Europe 55
Great Elector Christian Europe 53
Prince Eugene Christian Europe 50
Swiss Heroes Christian Europe 43
William Tell Christian Europe 36
William of Orange Christian Europe 41
Charlemagne Christian Europe 30
Swiss Heroes Christian Europe 43
Eric the Red Early America 40

Lives of the Saints

This collection of saint biographies focuses on subjects that were not only personally holy, but also lived lives of great significance and influence. In each case their courage, piety, and faithfulness led them to choose a vocation that greatly impacted not only those around them, but also the whole course of Christianity. A number of these saints founded, or reformed orders that continued to serve Christ's mission on earth long after they, themselves passed on. Several others played a decisive role in restoring Christian unity after a destructive schism. All are exemplary models of Christian piety.

The biographies in this collection are all written in a story based style that brings the characters to live. They are long enough to give a meaningful description of the major events in the lives of the saints, but still very accessible for intermediate readers. Each book is about 120 to 140 pages, and includes numerous illustrations.

Lives of the Saints by F.A. Forbes
Title Compact Library size
Life of Pius X Modern Europe 75
Life of Benedict Christian Europe 36
Life of Vincent de Paul - Forbes Christian Europe 36
Life of St. Athanasius Ancient Rome  
Life of St. Monica Ancient Rome  
Life of St. Teresa Spanish Empire 38
Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola Spanish Empire 36
Life of St. Columba    
Life of St. Catherine of Siena    

Church History

This five book series, written for secondary schools, tells the story of the Catholic Church from its founding by the Apostles to the opening years of the 20th century. It provides a fascinating insight into the institutional church and provides a Catholic perspective on many historical incidents that are typically presented to school children from a Protestant perspective.

The books assumes a pre-existing knowledge of the major events of European history, and focuses mainly on issues specifically related to the church, and the lives of the great saints and martyrs. Important topics discussed in detail are the founding of the church and the early church fathers, persecutions under the Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity throughout Europe, early heresies, the rise of monasticism, the ongoing conflict between the papacy and the empire, the Crusades, military and religious orders, the Renaissance and the Western Schism, the Reformation and the counter-Reformation, the Moslem threat, the rise of foreign missions, the Jesuits, later heresies, and the Church during the revolutionary period.

The five volumes are divided as follows: I: Christian Antiquity (to 500 A.D.), II: Early Middle Ages (500 to 1000), III: Later Middle Ages (1000 to 1500), IV: Early Modern Times (1500 to 1750), V: Later Modern Times (1750 to 1900).

It is especially interesting to see the Catholic perspective on such controversial topics as the suppression of heresies, the inquisition, indulgences, the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, the Renaissance Popes, the Netherlands Revolt, the unification of Italy, and Papal infallibility, since these topics are often presented from a strictly Protestant viewpoint in most juvenile history books.

Church History by The Sisters of Notre Dame
Title Compact Library size
Church History: Later Modern Times Modern Europe 62
Church History: Early Middle Ages Christian Europe 51
Church History: Later Middle Ages Christian Europe 76
Church History: Early Modern Times Christian Europe 96
Church History: Christian Antiquity Ancient Rome 62

Makers of History

"I want to thank you and your brother for Abbott’s series of Histories. I have not education enough to appreciate the profound works of voluminous historians, and if I had, I have no time to read them. But your series of Histories gives me, in brief compass, just that knowledge of past men and events which I need. I have read them with the greatest interest. To them I am indebted for about all the historical knowledge I have."
—Abraham Lincoln

As the quote from above shows, even Abraham Lincoln was a fan of the Abbott Histories. Their famous series was so well-known and widely read that they were staples of virtually every American library from the time they were published in the mid-nineteenth century until after the first world war. Both informative and terrifically entertaining, the Abbott brothers had an enormous talent for writing biographies, and selecting those stories and anecdotal episodes from histories that are of most interest to the general reader.

Jacob Abbott (1803-1879) was possibly the most prolific American writer of juvenile literature of the nineteenth century. He was born in Maine, the second of seven children. He and each of his four brothers graduated from Bowdoin College, studied theology, and became teachers or ministers. Three of the five boys became authors and with his brother John Steven Charles, Jacob authored the famous and widely read Makers of History series of biographies.

It was not until about 1848 that he and his brother embarked on the idea of doing a series of biography aimed at young people. His target audience was age "15 to 25", and the Abbott brothers eventually produced a set of biographies that were critically acclaimed, and widely read. Within a few years of their publication, the Abbott biographies became standard reference works of juvenile history, and were available in libraries throughout America. They were originally published as the Illustrated History series, but were republished many times during the next sixty years in various collections, entitled Famous Characters of History, Famous Queens of History, and others. They were most recently republished in the early 1900’s as the Makers of History series.

The Abbotts had a terrific gift for narrative, and their books all read as if they were high suspense novels. Although the vocabulary level is relatively high, more appropriate for high school or college than elementary schools, the writing style is not difficult, and the stories move along at a fast pace. The Abbott biographies have a delightful combination of action and adventure, along with truly interesting personality portraits, intriguing subplots, and fascinating secondary characters which should be appealing to both young men and women.

Makers of History by Jacob and John S. C. Abbott
Title Compact Library sheets
Madame Roland Modern Europe 86
Hortense Modern Europe 114
Josephine Modern Europe 94
Louis Philippe Modern Europe 113
Peter the Great Modern Europe 106
Cyrus the Great Ancient Greece 77
Darius Ancient Greece 78
Xerxes Ancient Greece 82
Alexander the Great Ancient Greece 75
Pyrrhus Ancient Greece 83
Romulus Ancient Rome 80
Hannibal Ancient Rome 78
Julius Caesar Ancient Rome 72
Cleopatra Ancient Rome 84
Nero Ancient Rome 82
Alfred the Great British Middle Ages 72
William the Conqueror British Middle Ages 80
Margaret of Anjou British Middle Ages 91
Richard I British Middle Ages 95
Richard II British Middle Ages 100
Richard III British Middle Ages 94
Mary Queen of Scots British Middle Ages 77
Charles I British Middle Ages 78
Charles II British Middle Ages 83
Queen Elizabeth British Middle Ages 74
Genghis Khan unavailable 99
Joseph Bonaparte Spanish Empire 115
Louis XIV Christian Europe 114
Henry IV Christian Europe 97

Historical Tales

Charles Morris was a prolific American writer of the late 19th century. After a brief career in academics, he began publishing a great number of books and articles under various pseudonyms, but his piece de resistance was his Historical Tales, a collection of romantic and entertaining stories from history, in fourteen volumes.

Although these tales are organized by civilization, and the stories occur in roughly chronological order, these books cannot be read as comprehensive histories, as he makes no particular attempt to tie them together, contenting himself to jump from one fascinating episode in history to another. For this reason, they are best read after one is already familiar with the basic outline of the history of a particular civilization.

On the other hand, Morris is an outstanding writing, and he picks fascinating subjects for his stories. The stories are selected largely for their entertainment value, rather than purely for historical significance so Morris treats his readers to a fascinating introduction to some compelling 'secondary' characters and events. He tells all of his stories in enough depth to make them truly entertaining, even when he is dealing with already well-known events. The Historical Tales are an entertaining treat, and though they are not recommended for introductory reading, they are a terrifically rewarding for intermediate or advanced readers of history.

Historical Tales by Charles Morris
Title Compact Library size
Historical Tales: German Christian, Modern Europe 134
Historical Tales: French Christian, Modern Europe 136
Historical Tales: Russian Modern Europe 136
Historical Tales: Greek Ancient Greece 141
Historical Tales: Roman Ancient Rome 131
Historical Tales: American I Early America 139
Historical Tales: American II Early America 138
Historical Tales: Latin American Spanish Empire 129
Historical Tales: Spanish Spanish Empire 130
Historical Tales: English British Middle Ages 142
Historical Tales: Scandinavian unavailable 149
Historical Tales: Japanese and Chinese unavailable 143

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