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Independent Study—Book Summaries

The Independent Study library includes fifteen books, each of which contain historical anecdotes from many periods of world history. Most were written to introduce students to a variety of cultures and do not attempt to offer a comprehensive overview. They cover too many diverse topics to fit easily into any of the Civilization Libraries but are available in both online and e-reader format to all registered students.

The green links refer to short descriptions of the fifteen books in the Independent Study library. The red links redirect to Book Summary pages of our ten civilization libraries. Independent Study students can add books from any library to their reading list by clicking on Title Links, but only those from the Independent Study library are available to download as e-books.

    Stories from Histories     Legends, Historical Fiction

    Ancient Greece     Ancient Rome     Biblical Kingdoms
    British Middle Ages     British Empire     Early America
    Christian Europe     Modern Europe     Spanish Empire     Eastern Empires

Stories from History

Fifty Famous Stories Retold   by James Baldwin   71 credits
This book includes fifty tales describing romantic episodes from history and legend. Most are in the form of brief anecdotes of the lives of well-known heroes or in the history of a people. This book was originally intended as a historical reader, and was widely used in public schools throughout the United States. The stories are selected to be appealing to young children and to lay the foundation for broader literary studies, since nearly all are alluded to frequently in poetry and prose.

Fifty Famous People   by James Baldwin   66 credits
The second of a three volume series of historical readers, this book emphasizes stories from the lives of famous individuals. Some of these persons were more famous than others, yet all have left enduring footprints in the "sands of time," and their names will be long remembered. Though not strictly biographical, each of the stories contains a basis of truth and an ethical lesson which cannot fail to have a wholesome influence. Each story is full of interest and will delight the children with whom it is shared.

Thirty More Famous Stories Retold   by James Baldwin   79 credits
This volume was written by the author in answer to the requests of hundreds of children for more stories like the ones they had enjoyed in Fifty Famous Stories Retold. This volume includes stories of historical events, scientific discoveries, and legendary heroes and was intended for slightly more sophisticated students than the previous two volumes in the series. The richer vocabulary and more complicated plot elements in these stories gradually accustom children to following a longer narrative.

Historic Boys   by E. S. Brooks   106 credits
These essays, which originally appeared in St. Nicholas magazine, are biographical sketches of famous boys from History, ranging from Ancient Rome to American Revolutionary times. The subjects are all characters who were later famous, but even in their youth showed signs of greatness. The subjects of these stories include Marcus Aurelius of Rome, Brian Boru of Ireland, Olaf of Norway, Baldwin of Jerusalem, Henry V of England, and many others.

Historic Girls   by E. S. Brooks   77 credits
These biographical sketches of famous girls from history originally appeared in St. Nicholas magazine. The subjects are all characters who even in their youth showed signs of great promise, and the stories focus more on the achievements of their youth than later feats. The subjects of these stories include Zenobia of Palmyra, Helena of Britain, Clotilda of Burgundy, Teresa of Avila, Christiana of Sweden, and many others.

Ten Boys from History   by K. D. Sweetser   88 credits
This collection of stories tells the story of boys from history who accomplished something of renown while still very young. Several of the heroes went on to achieve even greater fame as an adult, but these stories focus only on their boyhood exploits. Subjects include King David, Edward the Black Prince, Louis XVII of France, Samuel Morse, David Farragut, Wolfgang Mozart, and several others.

Brave Men and Brave Deeds   by M. B. Synge   107 credits
This books is a collection of particularly interesting vignettes from European history. Each of the seventeen stories is told in enough detail to be of great interests, and a variety of the most important incidents of European History or covered. Among them include the fall of Granada in Spain, the siege of Leyden during the Netherlands war of Independence, the relief of Vienna by Sobieski, the flight of the monarchs during the French revolution, the defense of Missolonghi during the Greek war of Independence, and Garibaldi's Sicilian Campaign.

Book of Discovery   by M. B. Synge   242 credits
This book provides the complete story of the discovery of the world, from ancient Mediterranean sea-faring civilizations to exploration of the polar ice caps in the twentieth century. Every major explorer and discovery is mentioned, from the Phoenician voyages, to Alexander's campaigns in India, to Polo's journey to China, to the exploration of the new world, Africa, and the polar regions.

Boy's Book of Battles   by Eric Wood   151 credits
This book focuses on the military exploits of dozens of the most important battles in world history. Although a brief overview of the political issues involved is usually given , the main focus is on the daring deeds, strategies, and exploits of the battles themselves. Many critical battles from world history are given, including Marathon, Tours, Agincourt, and the Armada, but the book also strongly emphasizes 19th century battles, including Waterloo, Trafalgar, Balaclava, Palermo, Gettysburg, and Koniggratz.

Red Book of Heroes   by Andrew Lang   162 credits
This book by Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lang tells twelve hero stories from various periods of history. The eclectic collection includes the contemporary Victorian heroes Florence Nightingale, Henry Havelock, and Charles Gordon, but also draws on heroes from other times and civilizations. The book is beautifully illustrated and provides a detailed life story of Father Damien, Hannibal, the Marquis of Montrose, Saint Thomas More, Theodosius, and many others.


Legends and Historical Fiction

Book of Legends   by Horace Scudder   31 credits
This book includes short renditions of eighteen of the most famous legends in Western civilization. Included are the stories of St. George and the Dragon, William Tell, King Cophetua, St. Christopher, The Wandering Jew, and the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, all retold in fine English prose. Stories from Greek and Roman times, Christian and Biblical stores, and tales from the middle ages are all included in this small volume, easily read by an older grammar school student.

Ten Boys Who Lived on the Road from Long Ago to Now   by Jane Andrews   74 credits
Relates the stories of ten boys who lived at vastly different times and places in history, giving the reader an excellent introduction to the important epochs in the world's history. Through these imaginary characters, the book gives vivid pictures of the conditions of life at different periods of the world's development and fosters an appreciation of all history stories which may afterward be read.

Legends Every Child Should Know   by H. W. Mabie   114 credits
The legends contained in this book include stories from every age and continent. Included are Hiawatha (American Indian), Beowulf (Saxon), Childe Horne (Celtic), Rustem (Persian), Chevy Chase (England), the Sleepers of Ephesus (Roman), the Wandering Jew (Armenia), and many others.

Heroes Every Child Should Know   by H. W. Mabie   147 credits
Inspiring stories of heroes from various times and places relating their daring deeds, prompted by their high ideals. Perseus and Hercules are included from Greek mythology and David and Daniel from the Bible. Among the legendary heroes of the middle ages are St. George, King Arthur, Sir Galahad, Siegfried, Roland, Robin Hood, The Cid, and William Tell. Historical persons such as Alfred the Great, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Robert the Bruce, and Robert E. Lee round out the collection.

Boys of the Ages   by Laura W. L. Scales   83 credits
There are nine stories in this book, each written from the point of view of a young boy who lives and works in a historical settler. Beginning with Meryt, the son of a canal builder in ancient Egypt, and continuing to Nathanial, an apprentice silver smith in the age of Paul Revere, the book also has stories about working boys from ancient Greek (sculpture), Ancient Rome (soldier), Molsem Arabia (scholar), Fanders(weaver), Renaissance Italy (painter), England (sailor), and France in the age of Louis the XIV.