If I buy the the entire collection of Heritage History’s Classical Curriculum and Library CDs, will I be getting all of the books in the Heritage Library? If not, which books are left out? I would love to see a place on your site with a list of these books, so that I could find, without a lot of searching, if we already have a book or not and if there was something that we might be interested in.
Q: Are all of the books on your website included in at least one curriculum CD? If not, why aren’t they? and are you planning to add them to your CD collection at a later time?
Some variation of this question has been asked by at least a half dozen Heritage History readers, and we apologize for taking so long to answer. There are in fact, several dozen books in the Heritage Library that are not included in any of our Curriculum or Library collections. Our most recent inventory found about 55 books out of a total of over 500 in our online library were not included on any CD. Of these, about 15 were created in the last few months and will probably be included in a later release of an existing library. About forty, however, were not included in any library collection because they relate to historical topics that we have not yet developed a complete collection for. Most of these books are histories of non-western civilizations such as Chinese, African, or Islam.
More information about Heritage History books that are not currently included in one of our collections is provided as follows. All are currently available for individual purchase:
Asian and African Histories
The British Empire collection is intended to focus on colonial history, and it includes many of our favorite books covering Asian and African history. The ten books listed below might also have been included in that volume, but they tend to cover more ancient and isolated periods of history that have little to do with the colonial period. Also, the books we have included in the collection provide a good basic overview of many foreign regions, especially those that were directly colonized by Britain, such as India, South Africa, and Australia.
Our favorite middle-school level Asian histories were written by Robert Van Bergen. They are included on in the British Empire collection and are reviewed here. The books listed below are all excellent, however, and we regret not making space for them on an existing collection. We especially enjoy Charles Morris’s Historical Tales series, and Jacob Abbott’s biography of Genghis Khan is simply fascinating.
In terms of African history, we can’t speak too highly of the Stories of the Gorilla Country series, written by the explorer Paul du Chaillu. It is one of our all time favorites, but it is so utterly unique in style and content that it is hard to categorize. We feature the first book in his series on the British Empire CD, but did not find room for all four, although they are an exceptionally good collection. You can read more about the Gorilla Country series here.
We have long had an interest in Moslem history, and have been trying to track down suitable children’s histories that cover Islamic countries for almost ten years. However, there is a dearth of Moslem histories and folklore written for young people, and it has been more difficult to track down children’s histories of Moslem countries than it has been find similar Chinese, Indian, and African volumes.
The scarcity of Moslem histories is a curious challenge, especially considering that Islamic countries bordered Europe for over 1000 years, and had much interactions with Europe countries. Furthermore, much of the Mediterranean territory conquered by Moslems in the seventh century was highly civilized and prosperous. The Moslem civilizations centered in Spain, Baghdad and Turkey were also highly cultivated. One would think that such thriving societies would be a terrific source of narrative history, but such is not the case.
Nevertheless, we have assembled a diverse collection of Moslem histories. Other than Horne’s short synopsis of the Ottoman Turks, however, it there are few comprehensive Moslem histories to work from. We would love to increase our collection, but may have to rely on adult, rather than children’s histories, in order to provide a complete picture of Moslem history.
Nordic Histories and Mythology
Heritage History has a large collection of Norse Histories and Mythology. During the late 19th and early 20th century, Nordic mythology enjoyed a terrific revival and dozens of children’s stories were written to popularize old Nordic heroes such as Odin, Thor and Siegfried. Read simply as myths, many of these stories are very moving, and have common elements, such as Dragon slayers, magic swords, and invincible heroes, with better known stories from Christian and Greek mythology.
When one reads a little more German history, however, one learns that the promotion of Nordic mythology in the late 19th century originated as part of a pan-Germanic ideology that was prominent in Northern Europe during that period. And this idealization of the Nordic race, which involved a campaign to actively “de-Christianize” German youth, led directly to the Prussian racism that fueled the Great European Wars of the twentieth century.
For this reason, we originally intended to include Norse mythology with “Modern Europe”, because the Nordic revival was wholly a product of the 19th century. Nordic legends were considered pagan during the middle ages so it would not be accurate to include them as part of the Christian Europe collection. However, we thought it better to leave them out altogether than to associate them with this unfortunate period of pro-German idolatry.
The stories of Nordic heroes themselves are quite charming and devoid of offensive pro-German propaganda, and we’re sure to find a good home for them in later editions. The fact that they were used for propaganda purposes does not diminish the stories themselves, but it should serve to warn parents that even harmless children’s stories, in the hands of a nefarious government, can be used with evil intent.
All of the following books are collections of historical stories taken from many different periods of World History. For this reason, they did not fit well into any one particular historical category, and so were not included in any of the Heritage collections.
Most of the following books are written for middle school or early high school reading levels. It may make sense for Heritage History is to group such books together in a “World History” collection, intended for students who want to read history stories from a wide variety of periods. We are likely to do something like this in the future, but have nothing available for 2013.
Recently Released Books
One of the main areas we are actively working on is on a collection of Bible histories, and histories pertaining to Egypt, Assyria and other Biblical era periods. For this reason, about half of our most recent entries, are collections of children’s Bible stories. We have reviewed most of our Children’s Bibles here.
The other half of our newly released books are entirely miscellaneous. Most, however, could very well have been included in one of our existing collections if they had been completed earlier. We will probably include them in our planned 2014 update to our library and curriculum CD collection.
If you fail to see a pattern in our selection of recently released books (other than an obvious bias in favor of Children’s Bibles), don’t worry, we don’t see one either. If they appear to be fairly random, that is just because we’re interested in history from all periods, so almost anything can strike us as a worthy subject. The pile of books awaiting processing currently on our desk looks about the same. . .