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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92 Items found Print
Active Filters: 18th Century America
Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys
by Patricia Lee Gauch
from Betterway Books
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Adventures of the American Revolution
by Susan Olasky
from P&R Publishing
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Amos Fortune, Free Man
by Elizabeth Yates
from Puffin Books
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1951 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.79
Annie Henry and the Secret Mission
Adventures of the American Revolution
by Susan Olasky
from Crossway Books
for 3rd-5th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$2.13 (1 in stock)
Arrow Over the Door
by Joseph Bruchac
from Puffin Books
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$5.94
At Seneca Castle
by William W. Canfield
from Salem Ridge Press
for 7th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$10.50
Ben and Me
by Robert Lawson
from Little, Brown & Company
Humor/historical fiction for 2nd-5th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin
by Marguerite Henry & Wesley Dennis
Reprint from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 3rd-6th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$6.79
Blackthorn Winter
Monroe Family Chronicles #1
by Doug Wilson
from Veritas Press
Nautical fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.00
Blue Birds
by Caroline Starr Rose
Dgs from Puffin Books
Narrative Poetry / Novel-In-Verse for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Boy Who Loved to Draw
by Barbara Brenner
from Houghton Mifflin
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Boys of '76
by Charles Coffin
from Maranatha Publications
Historical Reference for 10th-Adult
in America's Christian Heritage (Location: HISA-CH)
$19.97 $12.00 (1 in stock)
Buffalo Trace
by Virginia S. Eifert
from Dodd, Mead
for 6th-10th grade
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$6.80 (1 in stock)
Bunker Hill
Drums of War Book 2
by Peter Reese Doyle
from Providence Foundation
for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Cabin Faced West
by Jean Fritz
from Puffin Books
Historical fiction for 4th-6th grade
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Calico Captive
by Elizabeth George Speare
from Houghton Mifflin
Historical Fiction for 6th-9th grade
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$6.79
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
by Jean Lee Latham
from Houghton Mifflin
Biography for 5th-9th grade
1956 Newbery Medal winner
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Clearing Weather
by Cornelia Meigs
Repint from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
1929 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$7.64
Courage of Sarah Noble
by Alice Dalgliesh
from Atheneum
for 3rd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$16.99
Daughter of Liberty
by Edna Boutwell
from Collins
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage & Collectible (Location: VIN-COL)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
Drums
Scribner Illustrated Classics
by James Boyd
1st edition from Atheneum
for 5th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Drums
by James Boyd
from Atheneum
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$4.25 (1 in stock)
Eagle of Niagara
by John Brick
from Doubleday & Company
for 6th-9th grade
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$3.40 (1 in stock)
Early Thunder
by Jean Fritz
from Puffin Books
for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$5.94 $2.98 (1 in stock)
Faith and Freedom Trilogy
Faith and Freedom
by Douglas Bond
from P&R Publishing
for 5th-9th grade
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Fiddler's Green
from Rabbit Room Press
for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$14.44
Fiddler's Gun
by A. S. Peterson
1st edition from Rabbit Room Press
for 7th-10th grade
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Fighting Ground
by Avi
from HarperCollins
for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$2.13 (1 in stock)
Finding Providence
An I Can Read Chapter Book
by Avi
from HarperCollins
for 3rd-5th grade
in I Can Read Books (Location: EAR-ICR)
$3.99
George the Drummer Boy
An I Can Read Book Level 3
by Nathaniel Benchley
from HarperCollins
Historical fiction for 2nd-4th grade
in I Can Read Books (Location: EAR-ICR)
$3.19 $2.13 (1 in stock)
Give Me Liberty
by L. M. Elliott
from HarperCollins
for 3rd-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Guns for General Washington
by Seymour Reit
from Harcourt
Historical fiction for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Guns of Thunder
Faith and Freedom Trilogy #1
by Doug Bond
from P&R Publishing
Historical Fiction for 5th-9th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$10.19
High Towers
by Thomas B. Costain
from Doubleday & Company
for 8th-12th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$7.00 (2 in stock)
Independence
Drums of War Book 1
by Peter Reese Doyle
from Providence Foundation
for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$2.00 (3 in stock)
Indian Captive
by Lois Lenski
from HarperCollins
Historical Fiction for 4th-9th grade
1942 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$6.79 $3.83 (3 in stock)
John Treegate's Musket
Treegate Series Book 1
by Leonard Wibberly
from Bethlehem Books
Historical fiction for 7th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Johnny Tremain
by Esther Forbes
Reprint from Sandpiper Books
Historical Fiction/Adventure for 5th-9th grade
1944 Newbery Medal winner
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$7.64
Journeyman
by Elizabeth Yates
from Bob Jones University Press
Realistic Fiction for 6th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $4.25 (3 in stock)
Kings Mountain
by G. Clifton Wisler
1st edition from HarperCollins
for 4th-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Lafayette!
Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #8
by Nathan Hale
from Amulet Books
for 4th-8th grade
in Comic Books & Graphic Novels (Location: FIC-COMIC)
$11.89
List
by C. D. Baker
from Preston Speed
Historical Fiction for 8th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Lydia the Patriot
Sisters in Time
by Susan Martins Miller
from Barbour Publishing
for 4th-6th grade
Madeleine Takes Command
Bethlehem Books Living History Library
by Ethel Brill
from Bethlehem Books
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$12.71
Madeleine Takes Command
Bethlehem Books Living History Library
by Ethel Brill
from Bethlehem Books
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
in Audio Books & Dramas (Location: CD-AUDIO)
$11.90 (1 in stock)
Matchlock Gun
by Walter Edmonds
from PaperStar Books
Historical Fiction for 2nd-4th grade
1942 Newbery Medal winner
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$6.79
Matchlock Gun
by Walter Edmonds
First Edition from Dodd, Mead
for 2nd-4th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$8.50 (2 in stock)
Meet Felicity
American Girl
by Valerie Tripp
First Edition from American Girl
for 2nd-5th grade
in American Girl (Location: SER-AMGIRL)
$2.98 (1 in stock)
Midshipman Bolitho
by Alexander Kent
from McBooks Press
for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$3.40 (1 in stock)
Minute Boys of Lexington
by Edward Stratemeyer
from Lost Classics Book Co.
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
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