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Historical Fiction

The best way to learn history is not always in a textbook. (That's probably the worst way, really, but more on that elsewhere.) While learning history through novels can be taken too far (it is fiction after all), there's much to be said for getting a feel for the Civil War through books like The Red Badge of Courage or Across Five Aprils, or learning about the deep rifts between Saxons and Normans in Medieval England through Scott's Ivanhoe.

A well-researched historical novel imparts something no list of names and dates can—a picture of life among a particular people at a particular time, the way they thought, the way they ate, who they admired, how they traveled. Sometimes readers are introduced to real historical figures and events from an intimate perspective, not the stale cardboard presentations common in schools.

There's plenty of nonsense available, of course, and just because the cover says a book takes place in Renaissance Italy or ancient Egypt doesn't mean it's a good book, or even that it's historical fiction in the true sense. A writer who simply transposes stories on different time periods isn't really saying anything about that time period, they're just trying to inflate sales with an appeal to the exotic and unfamiliar.

Such bogus historical fiction is really just fantasy. The good stuff is real and bright and dusty and loud, just like an old Roman city or a battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers. It reflects the religious sentiments of the characters as they would have been, such as in Lilli Thal's brilliant Medieval epic Mimus. It shows how one small action can lead to many much larger events, as happens frequently in C.S. Forester's Hornblower series.

Whether you're into the technical descriptions of battles found in Henty's boy-versus-the-world stories, or prefer the romance of The Scarlet Pimpernel, or like to break your heart over and over with books like Amos Fortune, Free Man, historical fiction is above all fiction of the present—not to be kept in the annals of the past, it shows us that the people of long ago (or not so long ago) are not so different than the people of today.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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1,362 Items found Print
101 G.A. Henty Novels
by G. A. Henty
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A06-02A)
$25.00
21
Aubrey/Maturin #21
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
290
by Scott O'Dell
from Houghton Mifflin
for 4th-9th grade
Hans Christian Andersen Award
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Abandoned on the Wild Frontier
Trailblazer Books
by Dave and Neta Jackson
from Bethany House
for 3rd-7th grade
in Trailblazer Books (Location: A11-01C)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Across America on an Emigrant Train
by Jim Murphy
from Scholastic Inc.
for 2nd-5th grade
in Immigration & Emigration (Location: B01-22B)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Across Five Aprils
by Irene Hunt
from Berkley Books
Historical Fiction for 6th-9th grade
1965 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$6.99 $3.00 (2 in stock)
Across Five Aprils
by Irene Hunt
from Berkley Books
Historical Fiction for 6th-9th grade
1965 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$6.99 $3.00 (2 in stock)
Across Five Aprils
by Irene Hunt
from Follett
for 5th-9th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Adam and His Kin
by Ruth Beechick
from Mott Media
Historical Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in Ancient History (Location: B02-02A)
$9.00 $6.00 (3 in stock)
Adam of the Road
Puffin Newbery Library
by Elizabeth Gray
from Puffin Books
Historical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1943 Newbery Medal winner
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$7.99 $4.50 (1 in stock)
Adam of the Road
Puffin Modern Classics
by Elizabeth Gray
from Puffin Books
Historical Fiction for 3rd-8th grade
1943 Newbery Medal winner
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$6.99
Adara
by Beatrice Gormley
from Eerdmans
for 4th-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$8.50
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
Hornblower Series #11
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$12.00
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
Hornblower Series #11
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
for 9th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Robin Hood
Everyman's Library Children's Classics
by Roger Green
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$13.50
Adventures of Robin Hood
Puffin Classics
by Roger Green
from Puffin Books
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$5.99
Adventures of the American Revolution
by Susan Olasky
from P&R Publishing
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
Adventures of Young Buffalo Bill: To the Frontier
by E. Cody Kimmel
1St Edition from HarperCollins
for 3rd-5th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
After the Dancing Days
by Margaret I. Rostkowski
from HarperTrophy
for 7th-9th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$5.99 $4.00 (2 in stock)
After the Train
by Gloria Whelan
from HarperCollins
for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
After the War
by Carol Matas
from Simon Pulse
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$6.99 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Against the World
by Henry Coray
from Inheritance Publications
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$9.95
Alexandre Dumas Three Musketeers Collection
Oxford World's Classics
by Alexandre Dumas
from Oxford University
Historical Fiction/Adventure for 9th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$63.55
Ali and the Golden Eagle
by Wayne Grover
from Sonlight Curriculum, Ltd.
for 5th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$7.00 (2 in stock)
Ali and the Golden Eagle
by Wayne Grover
1st edition from Greenwillow Books
for 5th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Alia's Mission
by Mark Alan Stamaty
from Dragonfly Books
for 3rd-5th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
All But Lost - Volume I
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A06-02A)
All But Lost - Volume II
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A06-02A)
All But Lost - Volume III
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A06-02A)
All Sail Set
by Armstrong Sperry
from David R. Godine
Nautical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1936 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$14.95 $10.00 (2 in stock)
All This and Heaven Too
by Rachel Field
from Macmillan
for 9th-Adult
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad
by Marlene Targ Brill
from First Avenue Editions
for 3rd-5th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
Almost Home
Daughters of the Faith
by Wendy G. Lawton
from Moody Press
Historical Fiction for 3rd-6th grade
in Daughters of the Faith (Location: A11-01C)
$7.99
Alone Yet Not Alone
by Tracy M. Leininger
from His Seasons
Historical Fiction for 6th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Alone Yet Not Alone
by Tracy M. Leininger
Mti from Zonderkidz
Historical Fiction for 6th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$9.99 $7.00 (1 in stock)
Ambushed in Jaguar Swamp
Trailblazer Books
by Dave and Neta Jackson
from Bethany House
for 3rd-7th grade
in Trailblazer Books (Location: A11-01C)
Amelia's War
by Ann Rinaldi
from Scholastic Inc.
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
American Army of Two
by Janet Greeson
Reprint from First Avenue Editions
for 1st-3rd grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
American Twins of the Revolution
by Lucy Fitch Perkins
from Salem Ridge Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$12.95
Amon's Adventure
by Arnold Ytreeide
from Kregel Publications
Historical Fiction for 2nd-6th grade
in Easter & Lent (Location: APO-02A)
$14.50
Among the Camps
by Thomas Nelson Page
from Thomas Nelson Publishers
for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$7.00 (2 in stock)
Amos Fortune, Free Man
by Elizabeth Yates
from Puffin Books
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1951 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$6.99 $4.50 (3 in stock)
Amos Fortune, Free Man
by Elizabeth Yates
1st edition from Dutton Children's Books
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Angel on the Square
by Gloria Whelan
from HarperCollins
for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$9.99 $5.50 (1 in stock)
Angel on the Square
by Gloria Whelan
from Scholastic Inc.
for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Anna and the King (adapted)
by Margaret Landon
from HarperCollins
Historical Fiction for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Anna and the King of Siam
by Margaret Landon
from HarperCollins
Historical fiction for 9th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$14.95
Anna of Byzantium
by Tracy Barrett
from Random House
Historical Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$6.99
Anna's Fight for Hope
Sisters in Time
by JoAnn A. Grote
from Barbour Publishing
for 4th-6th grade
in Sisters in Time (Location: A10-04B)
Annie Henry and the Secret Mission
Adventures in the American Revolution Book 1
by Susan Olasky
from P&R Publishing
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$7.99
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