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Series Descriptions

Many of the books in Heritage History's Spanish Empire library are part of a series, either by a single author, or by a group of authors under the direction of a specific publisher. Most of these series cover a broad range of civilizations, rather than focusing primarily on Spain and Latin America.

Whether a series contains only one book regarding the Spanish Empire or several, it has been included in the table below. A short description of each series is followed by a complete list of book titles. Titles that are included in the Spanish Empire library are highlighted, but all other titles are listed as well, along with the name of the Compact Libraries on which they can be found. We have provided this information because when a student does find an author or a series he enjoys, he often desires to locate similar books. These series descriptions are intended to help interested students identify books and authors of interest to them on other historical topics.

Although an overall description of each series is provided, the content of individual books is not specified in detail. To see a short synopsis of individual books included in the Spanish Empire library, see the Summaries page.

At least eight series or groups of related books can be identified among our Spanish Empire Collection.

Series Title Description Volumes Author
Children's Heroes Live stories of English men-of-action, written for children 1 of 17 various
Twins of the World Historical fiction featuring boy and girl twins from countries around the globe 1 of 13 Perkins
Peeps at Many Lands Cultural and geographical studies of world societies 4 of 30 various
Life Stories for Young People European Biographies for middle school students 1 of 21 Upton
Young Folks' Heroes of History Exciting life stories of Great Explorers 3 of 6 Towle
Lives of the Saints Biographies of some of the well-known saints of Europe 2 of 9 Forbes
Sabin Trail Blazers Historical Fiction following American Explorers and Generals 1 of 9 Sabin
Historical Tales Historical tales from Western Civilization 2 of 12 Morris
Heroes of American Exploration Outstanding Biographies of early Spanish and British explorers of the Americas 8 of 10 Ober

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
The Story of Columbus   by Imlach Spanish Empire, Young Readers 34
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 Napoleon   by H.E. Marshall Modern Europe 35
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 Not available  
Story of Cromwell   by Marshall Not available  
Story of Bishop Patterson   by Paget Not available  

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
Mexican Twins Spanish Empire, Young Readers 52
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
Spartan Twins Ancient Greece, Young Readers 43
Irish Twins Not available  
Italian Twins Not available  
Cave Twins Not available  

Peeps at Many Lands

This series is published by A. and C. Black, and is related to its companion series, Peeps at History. Both series feature a collection of short, nicely illustrated books suitable for middle school students. The Peeps at Many Lands series however, focuses more on geography, culture, and social history than it does on political history. The Peeps at History series, on the other hand, provides brief but chronological histories.

Another important difference is that the Peeps of History series includes only ten volumes, most of which are currently included in the Heritage History library. The Peeps at Many Lands series, on the other hand, includes over thirty volumes, most of which are not yet included in our library. The books are especially notable for their discussion of the notable geographical and cultural features of each society, and for the fact that they feature many Asian and American societies as well as European ones. The entire collection is an excellent addition to the study of world geography as well as history.

Only the volumes that pertain to Hispanic history are listed below. Some of the other volumes are organized as follows:

Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome
British Empire: England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia
Western Europe: Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland
Eastern Europe: Norway, Sweden, Russia, Hungary, Poland
Asian: Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Java, Kashmir
Spanish Empire: Spain, Portugal, Panama, Cuba, South America
Mideast: Egypt

Peeps at Many Lands Edited by Edith A. Brownee
Title Compact Library size
Portugal Spanish Empire 37
Spain Spanish Empire 45
Panama Spanish Empire 48
South America Spanish Empire 41

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 First World 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
Maximilian in MexicoModern Europe, Spanish Empire 42
Mozart Modern Europe 36
Maria Theresa of Austria Modern Europe 43
Emperor William First Modern Europe 40
Undine Modern Europe 46
Little Dauphin Modern Europe 46
Elizabeth of Austria Modern Europe 48
Eugenie-Empress of France Modern Europe 50
Frederick the Great Modern Europe 50
Joseph Haydn Modern Europe 57
Louise of Prussia Modern Europe 39
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

Young Folks' Heroes of History

The Young Folks' Heroes of History series by George Makepeace Towle bears some similarities to Frederick Ober's Heroes of American Exploration Series. Both focus on the adventure stories of explorers and are rich in adventure and interest. Of the two series, Towle's is slightly more accessible to middle school age children because it uses more dialogue to recreate historical scenes, but both series are excellent.

Another difference between the series is that Towle does not limit himself to heroes of American Exploration. His books on Marco Polo, Magellan, and Vasco da Gama introduce the less celebrated, but just as important early European explorers of Asia.

Young Folks' Heroes of History by George Towle
Title Compact Library size
Travels and Adventures of Marco Polo Christian Europe 79
Voyages and Adventures of Vasco da Gamma Spanish Empire92
Voyages and Adventures of Magellan Spanish Empire 85
Adventures and Conquests of Pizarro Spanish Empire 102
Drake: The Sea King of Devon not available  
Voyages and Adventures of Raleigh not available  

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 life. 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 St. Teresa Spanish Empire 38
Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola Spanish Empire 36
Life of St. Athanasius Ancient Rome  
Life of St. Monica Ancient Rome  
Life of Benedict Christian Europe 36
Life of Vincent de Paul Christian Europe 36
Life of St. Columba British Middle Ages  
Life of St. Catherine of Siena Christian Europe  

Sabin Trail Balzers

Whether Sabin was contributing to the "Trail Blazer" series, published by J. B. Lippincott, or to the "Great West" and the "Range and Trail" series, issued by Crowell, his plots were ingenious and his research as meticulous as he could make it. He soon learned that historical investigation was much like stepping into quicksand—the more one struggled to find truth, the more one sank by the pull of endless problems and queries. He did the best he could, scouring the country for primary sources and hard evidence. Perhaps no author of juveniles of the day labored harder to base his work on facts, or what were believed to be facts.

The previous quote, from a short biography of Edwin L. Sabin's life, illustrates what an outstanding historian he was. His historical fiction, as well as his regular history stories, are rich in detail. The dialogue, of course, is sometimes made up, but even then, it abounds with authentic character and accents. Almost all of Sabin's most notable works refer to the conquest and settlement of the American frontier, from the earliest colonial settlers in the East to the Cowboys and Indians of the West.

His Trail Blazer's Series exemplifies the best kind of historical fiction. The plot lines often feature a young lad who accompanies a famous historical character on his feats of daring. In the process, a very engaging, as well as historically valuable story is told, and a great deal of information is absorbed effortlessly on the part of the reader. The subjects of the Trail Blazers feature many of the most famous heroes of the West, including Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket, General Custer, Zebulon Pike, Sam Houston, Kit Carson, and many others.

Trail Blazers by Edwin L. Sabin
Title Compact Library size
Into Mexico with General Scott Spanish Empire 141
Opening the West with Lewis and Clark Early America 114
With Lieutenant Pike Early America 114
Gold Seekers of '49 Early America 134
With Sam Houston in Texas Not available  
Adventures with Carson and Fremont Not available  
On the Plains with Custer Not available  
David Crockett: Scout Not available  
Buffalo Bill and the Overland Trail Not available  

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: Spanish AmericanSpanish Empire 129
Historical Tales: Spanish Spanish Empire 130
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: German Christian Europe 134
Historical Tales: French Christian Europe 136
Historical Tales: English British Middle Ages 142
Historical Tales: Russian Intermediate Readers 136
Historical Tales: Scandinavian Intermediate Readers 149
Historical Tales: Japanese and Chinese Intermediate Readers 143

Heroes of American Exploration

Mr. Ober's story of Cortes belongs to the older rather than to the newer school of biography—that is, it seeks rather to interest the reader than to dissect the man. . .
NYT Saturday Review of Books

The so called 'Heroes' of this series, include many of the most controversial explorers and conquistadors of early America. Cortez, Pizarro, Balboa and De Soto are some of the more notorious names of the early Spanish conquistadors whose lives and exploits are fully told in this fascinating series. One need not admire the more sanguinary deeds of these men in order to recognize the importance of their discoveries, or to be held spellbound by their reckless courage, tenacity and grit.

The stories of the lives of the explorers are intertwined with those of the first native inhabitants of the new world to encounter European civilization. In reading the biographies of these discoverers, therefore, one encounters the stories of such well-known chieftains as Cotubanama, Montezuma, Atahualpa, Tuscaloosa, and many others. What is more, the stories of the natives are told in detail rather than in general, so the complicated nature of their alliances with, and conspiracies against the invaders is fully developed. The native peoples are not all portrayed as hapless victims, but rather as a broad variety of characters who sometimes trusted, sometimes resisted, sometimes allied themselves with, and occasionally won victories against the irrepressible Spaniards.

Likewise, the life stories of even the most wicked and murderous of the conquistadors are told with enough empathy that they appear recognizably human, and this three-dimensional characterization actually lends an even more chilling aspect to some of their atrocities than do modern versions in which they are merely vilified. Broad generalizations only serve to mask the depth of character of both perpetrators and victims, and erase the features which lend interest and relevance to their life stories. These excellent biographies are both exceedingly informative, and far more interesting than shorter and more simplistic versions.

The author of this series was an ornithologist who lived for over twenty years in the West Indies and Caribbean, and his intimate knowledge of the region, which factored so importantly in the early history of the Americas, is apparent on every page. His histories are based almost entirely on original sources and are accurate and reliable accounts of the some of the most fascinating and important turning points yin human history.

Heroes of American Exploration by Frederick Ober
Title Author sheets
Vasco Nunez de Balboa Spanish Empire 83
Columbus the Discoverer Spanish Empire 87
Hernando Cortes Spanish Empire 86
Ponce de Leon Spanish Empire 83
Ferdinand De Soto Spanish Empire 85
Ferdinand Magellan Spanish Empire 88
Francisco Pizarro Spanish Empire 88
Amerigo Vespucci Spanish Empire 88
John and Sebastian Cabot British Middle Ages 92
Sir Walter Raleigh British Middle Ages 94

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