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Recommended Reading

    Young Readers     Intermediate Readers     Advanced Readers     Supplemental Reading

The Heritage Classical Curriculum recommends reading at least three age appropriate "core" selections, as well as four or more books from our "supplemental reading" list. More information about the methodology associated with the Heritage program can be found in the Curriculum User Guide.

Young Readers' Core Selections

The British Empire Classical Curriculum has a limited selection of grammar school histories, and most are simple biographies. The colonial period in British history is complicated and it is best to introduce young students to some of the most notable characters rather than emphasizing comprehensive history. We recommend reading the final chapters of Our Island Story to provide an overview of the major events of the period, and then focusing on enjoyable biographies. The stories of British men-of-action from the Children's Heroes series will interest young readers and provide a good foundation for revisiting the era in later years.

      Our Island Story (Hanoverians)     by H. E. Marshall

The final twenty chapters of Our Island Story covers the period from the Hanoverian kings to the death of Victoria. Most of the major events of the era, including the industrial revolution and the rise of British colonies in North America, India, and Australia are covered lightly.

      The Story of Nelson     by Edmund Sellar

Nelson was one of the most popular and romantic naval heroes of all history. He went to sea at an early age, but first made a name for himself at the Battle of St. Vincent, in 1797. From that time until his death at Trafalgar in 1805, he led the British navy in several daring and audacious sea-fights, including the Nile and Copenhagen. His victories gave Britain undisputed control of the seas at a time she was at great threat from an invasion by Napoleon.

      The Story of Lord Clive     by John Lang

Robert Clive was a controversial, but extremely effective soldier, who is credited with gaining India for the British Empire. Though he started his career as a mere clerk for the East India Company, he was thrust into a series of adventures during which he showed extraordinary daring, and military genius. He made a great name for himself, and through a series of astounding victories, secured a foothold in several of the most important provinces of India.

      The Story of Captain Cook     by John Lang

Captain James Cook is famous for his discoveries of New Zealand and Australia, but his contributions to British naval supremacy were many. He was the most outstanding captain of his age, and the care he took to keep his crews healthy eliminated the threat of scurvy, the great scourge of sailors. His meticulous charts, and attention to detail set a new standard in sea-faring and navigation.

      The Story of General Gordon     by Jeanie Lang

General Charles Gordon was an extraordinarily principled officer during the height of the British Empire, who accepted several very challenging assignments, both in China, during the Tae-Ping Rebellion, and in Africa where he opposed the slavers, and tried to bring order and civilization to the Sudan. He was tragically killed during a siege of Khartoum, when the British forces failed to send a relief party to his aid.

Intermediate Readers' Core Selections

Intermediate readers have a large selection of books that pertain to the British Empire and colonial history. Volumes 4 and 5 of M. B. Synge's Story of the World cover 18th and 19th century world history, and are an excellent introduction to the period. Our Empire Story recounts the history of each of Britain's major colonies: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. The other books that round out our suggested readings cover important topics not discussed in the Synge or Marshall books: the history of Ireland, inventions related to the industrial revolution, and the First World War.

      Struggle for Sea Power,   Growth of the British Empire     by M. B. Synge

The Struggle for Sea Power focuses on the age of world colonization during the 18th century. The histories of European colonies in America, Australia, South Africa, and India are related, along with the story of Britain's ongoing ware with France for domination in Asia and North America. Also covered are the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the campaigns of Napoleon. Growth of the British Empire focuses on the 19th century and focuses mainly on British colonialism. It also covers other world events in that era, including revolutions in South America and Mexico, the Boer War in South Africa, the exploration of Central Africa, the Greek and Italian wars for independence, the Crimean War, the opening of trade with Japan and China, and the rebellion in British India.

      Our Empire Story     by H. E. Marshall

This book provides a vivid and picturesque account of the principal events in the building of the British Empire. It traces the development of the British colonies from the days of discovery and exploration through settlement and establishment of government. Included are stories of the five chief portions of the British Empire: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India.

      Reign of Queen Victoria     by M. B. Synge

This book traces the history of the British Empire during the reign of Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901. Important domestic reforms of the Victorian era include restrictions on child labor, manhood suffrage, independence for Ireland, and free trade. Short histories of many of the diverse colonies of Britain are given, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India. The most important wars of the British Empire, including the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, The Zulu and Boer Wars in South Africa, and the wars in Egypt and Sudan are also covered.

      Peeps at History: Ireland     by Beatrice Home

This history of Ireland is wonderfully short and clear, and yet it covers all the major events in Irish history from the Celtic era and the arrival of St. Patrick, to the rebellion during the Napoleonic Wars, and the period immediately preceding Irish Independence. The book is concise and well-illustrated, and an excellent introduction to Irish History.

      Great Inventors and Their Inventions     by Frank Bachman

Twelve stories of great inventions, grouped under inventions of steam and electric power, inventions of manufacture and production, and inventions of printing and communication. The final chapter introduces the famous inventors of the early twentieth century. The story of each invention is interwoven with that of the life of its inventor. Through these stories the reader learns how big things are brought about and the traits of mind and heart which make for success.

      Heroic Deeds of the Great War     by Donald A. Mackenzie

This book does not provide a complete overview of the Great War, but instead focuses on individual heroes and heroic events that occurred during the war. It provide brief bios of only a few military leaders, including Kitchener, Joffre, and Jellico, but for the most part, tells soldiers' stories, and anecdotes of personal interest. It was published in the year that the Great War came to a close so it tells the stories of the war with an immediate, rather than a reflective passion.

Advanced Readers' Core Selections

Advanced Readers are likely to already be familiar with the basic outline of colonial history. If they are not, then several of the intermediate selections, such as Our Empire Story or The Reign of Queen Victoria provide good overall introductions. For those students who are ready for a more detailed perspective, The Hanoverians discusses the important issues of British government during the colonial period and gives useful character sketches of several important statesmen. Other recommended core reading books provide more in depth studies of Colonial Britain and the Great War.

      The Hanoverians     by Gaskoin

This book presents an excellent intermediate history of the rise of the British Empire, from the first Hanoverian king to the Great War. The first five sections give the chronological history under the most important Prime Ministers, including Walpole, William Pitt), the Younger Pitt, Robert Peel, Gladstone and Disraeli. The later sections provide more detail about such developments as the industrial revolution, the movement for greater democracy, and government of the British Empire.

      Romance of Empire: India     by Victor Surridge

This book is part of the Romance of Empire series, written at the height of the British empire. It recounts many of the most exciting events in the history of India, from around the time Britain first established a trading post on the continent, in the 1600's, until the decades following the Indian Mutiny, in 1857. The treatment of Britain's involvement is in India is somewhat sympathetic, although many of the greatest blunders and questionable policies of the British Raj are owned up to squarely.

      Romance of Empire: South Africa     by Ian D. Colvin

This book is a comprehensive history of South Africa from the first exploration of Africa by the Portuguese to the Boer Wars. Twentieth century history not included, but the long struggle between Dutch and English settlers is covered in depth. As part of the Romance of Empire series, the book is helpful in understanding the pro-imperial point of view and the complexities of colonization.

      English Literature for Boys and Girls     by H. E. Marshall

A terrific and accessible introduction to English literature by one of Britain's greatest authors of Juvenile History. All of the major authors and literature of England are covered, from the Celtic ballads to the nineteenth century greats such as Dickens and Thackeray. Short examples of most of the literature is included, also with fascinating biographies.

      The Story of the Great War     by Roland Usher

This book is written for the General reader and gives a very complete overview of the Great War It briefly explains the causes and sentiments of the war, along with a comprehensive overview of the battle strategies. The author notes, that the vast scale of the war, and the fact that simultaneous battles occurred on various fronts makes a full comprehension of the war difficult, but then proceeds to provide an engaging, but thorough review.

Supplemental Reading Selections

We recommend that students who are studying the British Empire read four or more selections from our supplemental reading list in addition to their core material. All selections should be age and interest appropriate, but student can select their supplemental reading from any difficulty level.

The British Empire library provides a broad selection for supplemental reading. Our selection of British biographies are especially rich. Students should have no trouble finding additional reading suitable to every interest and ability.

Our Little Celtic Cousin of Long Ago   by Evaleen Stein Historical Fiction Ireland
Celtic Tales   by Louey Chisholm Legend Ireland
Story of H. M. Stanley   by Vautier Golding Biography Africa
Story of Livingstone   by Vautier Golding Biography Africa
Story of Lord Roberts   by Edmund F. Sellar Biography India
Stories from Gulliver's Travels   by John Lang Adapted Literature Britain
Stories from English History: III   by Alfred J. Church Comprehensive Britain
Great Englishmen   by M. B. Synge Biography Britain
Great Englishwomen   by M. B. Synge Biography Britain
In the Days of Queen Victoria   by Eva March Tappan Biography Britain
The Life of Gladstone   by M. B. Synge Biography Britain
Florence Nightingale   by Laura E. Richards Biography Britain
King of Ireland's Son   by Padraic Colum Legend Ireland
The Boys' Cuchulain   by Eleanor Hull Legend Ireland
Tales from Irish History   by Alice Birkhead Regional History Ireland
Peeps at History: Canada   by Beatrice Home Regional History Canada
Story of the Gorilla Country   by Paul du Chaillu Social History Africa
Oom Paul's People   by Howard C. Hillegas Social History Africa
Peeps at History: India   by Beatrice Home Regional History India
Adventures of Akbar   by Flora Annie Steel Biography India
Story of Japan   by Robert Van Bergen Regional History Asia
Boy of Old Japan   by Robert Van Bergen Regional History Asia
Story of China   by Robert Van Bergen Regional History Asia
Peeps at History: Japan   by John Finnemore Regional History Asia
Heroes of the Great War   by G. A. Leask Military History Great War
Thrilling Deeds of British Airmen   by Eric Wood Military History Great War
War Inventions and How they Were Invented   by C. Gibson Military History Great War
The Boy's Book of Battles   by Eric Wood Military History Great War
Boys' Book of Battles   by Chelsea Fraser Military History all
Ten Boys from Dickens   by K. D. Sweetser Adapted Literature Britain
Boys and Girls from Thackeray   by K. D. Sweetser Adapted Literature Britain
Stories of the Great Scientists   by C. Gibson Biography Britain
With the Boer Forces   by Howard C. Hillegas Military History Africa
Cecil Rhodes   by Ian D. Colvin Biography Africa
Heroes of the Indian Mutiny   by Edward Gilliat Military History India
Story of the Guides   by Younghusband Military History India
Gallipoli   by John Masefield Military History Great War

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