Action and Adventure Favorites

High Octane History
for High Energy Students

These books are of particular interest to adventure-loving boys. They are excellent selections for young people who enjoy fast-paced, action-filled stories, and are the best candidates available for trying to lure adrenaline-addled young men away from their video games.

Military History     Exploration     Chivalry     Men of Action     Science and Invention     Legends     Adventure    

Military History

Boys' Book of Battles   by Chelsea Fraser
Eleven of the most important battles in American and European History are brought to life in this volume, which spends enough time giving interesting background and detailed information, to give each battle vital and lively interest. Particularly moving are three eye-witness accounts of the horrors of the Great War, at Verdun, Ypres, and Argonne. Other battles recounted include Saratoga, Yorktown, and Gettysburg in America, and Sedan, Austerlitz, and Waterloo in Europe. 140 credits

Boys' Book of Sea Fights   by Chelsea Fraser
Many of the greatest sea battles of all time are revisited in this book, with much detail and vigor, by an outstanding storyteller. The action packed stories of many of the great Naval heroes of all time are given, including Francis Drake, John Paul Jones, Stephen Decatur, Horatio Nelson, Commodore Perry, and many others. 108 credits

Boy's Book of Battles   by Eric Wood
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.151 credits

Thrilling Deeds of British Airmen   by Eric Wood
This book, written while the Great War was still in progress highlights some of the glorious achievements of early British aviators. In only two years time the airplane went from being a mere oddity to a crucial weapon, and the feats of many of the world's first flying aces are here recorded for posterity.86 credits

Boys' Book of Indian Warriors   by Edwin Sabin
This book, written from the point of view of the American Indians who tried to defend their land from the white men, highlights the lives and deeds of some of the most important Indian chiefs from the earliest Iroquois and Algonquins in 17th century New England, to the flight of the Nez Perces under Chief Joseph. Piskaret, King Philip, Pontiac, Logan and Cornstalk, Little Turtle, Tecumseh, Black-hawk, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull are some of the Chiefs whose stories are told here.147 credits

Boys' Book of Frontier Fighters   by Edwin Sabin
This second book in Sabin's Series of Frontier Fighters features the exploits of American frontiersmen, including Simon Kenton, Simon Girty, 'Betty' Zane, John Colter, Samuel Brady, Buffalo Bill, and many more. Many of the stories feature great exploits or escapes rather than military battle, and tell the stories of many of the frontier heroes of early American folklore.154 credits

Boys' Book of Border Battles   by Edwin Sabin
This is the final book in the Frontier Fighter series from Edwin Sabin that covers many of the battles in American history fought on the frontiers and borders of the expanding American nation. His other two books cover many of the wars with Eastern and Western Indian tribes. The final books contains a few pre-revolutionary wars with Indians, but is mostly dedicated to the Spanish-American War in the South and the Sioux War on the northern plains.141 credits

Helmet and Spear   by Alfred J. Church
This fascinating military history provides a review of some of the most important conflicts of Ancient times in an engaging manner, rich in detail. Six clashes between the Ancient civilizations and their barbarian neighbors are covered: the Persian invasion of Greece, the fight between Greece and Carthage for Sicily, the Macedonian invasion of Persia, the Punic Wars, Rome's early encounters with Barbarian Celts and Germans, and Rome's fall to the Barbarians. 112 credits

Heroes of the Great War   by G. A. Leask
This book tells the stories of several dozen men who won the Victoria Cross in the early years of the Great War. It was written while the war was still raging, and is very patriotic in tone, but the stories of the extreme acts of heroism done by these men are both harrowing and deeply moving. 82 credits


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. 34 credits

Story of David Livingstone   by Vautier Golding
This biography of Livingstone is a concise and easily read story of the remarkable life of the great African missionary and explorer, David Livingstone. He was born into a humble family in Scotland, but at an early age decided to work as a missionary. He spent his entire life in central Africa serving the natives, working against slavery and demonstrating the best aspects of civilization. 32 credits

Story of Columbus   by G. M. Imlach
The Story of Columbus does not end when he discovered the American continents in 1492. In his lifetime he made four voyages to the New World and instead of enjoying honor and rewards, he suffered much due to jealous colleagues and scheming courtiers. The promise of gold brought out the worst in everyone, as this book, which retraces the years both before and after Columbus's great discovery, makes clear. The life of the great explorer provides a fascinating character study in a thoughtful manner appropriate for intermediate readers.35 credits

Story of Sir Walter Raleigh   by M. D. Kelly
Sir Walter Raleigh was one of the most famous courtiers of Queen Elizabeth. He is best known for his efforts to establish an English colonies in the New World, first in Newfoundland, then at Jamestown in Virginia. Raleigh was also a literary figure. He introduced Edmund Spenser (of Faerie Queen Fame), to Elizabeth's court, and wrote several books himself during his long imprisonment under King James I. 38 credits

Book of Discovery   by M. B. Synge
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. 242 credits

Stories of the Gorilla Country   by Paul du Chaillu
This is the first of a series of children's books by an early explorer of equatorial Africa. The author set off alone as a young man to explore the interior of Africa, hunt big game, and investigate some of the stories he had heard about the natives. This account of his travel is packed with hair-raising adventures and exciting stories about encounters with African wildlife and native villagers. 120 credits

Lost in the Jungle   by Paul du Chaillu
This is the third of a series of children's books by an early explorer of equatorial Africa. The first two books were full of exciting stories about close encounters with gorillas, snakes and crocodiles and various other incidents, but did not give a chronological account of the author's journeys. This book, together with book four, present a comprehensive review of his first major expedition into the eastern jungle of Gabon and the Congo region. 111 credits

Country of the Dwarfs   by Paul du Chaillu
This is the fifth and final book in du Chaillu's African exploration series. The author returns to Africa after spending three years in the white man's country preparing for a second major expedition, during which he intends to cross the entire continent. This ambitious endeavor is beset by difficulties, and he is finally forced to abandon the mission. This book, possibly the most exciting of the five and certainly the most frightening, recounts his entire ill-fated second expedition. 116 credits


Stories of Roland Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall
This attractively illustrated book tells ten stories from the Song of Roland, one of the most illustrious knights of Romance. The famous hero was a nephew of Charlemagne and the most valorous Peer of France. Stories are told relating how Roland and Oliver fought and died at the battle of Roncesvalles, of Charlemagne's vengeance on Marsil the Saracen and of the punishment of the traitor Ganelon.36 credits

Stories of Don Quixote   by James Baldwin
This adapted version of Cervantes' classic Don Quixote was rewritten to make it accessible to grammar school children. The tone and humor of the original is well preserved. Cervantes' original is famous for its portrayal of quirky characters, and Baldwin's book does an excellent job of faithfully representing these fascinating townsfellows.98 credits

King Arthur and His Knights   by Maude R. Warren
Twenty-one stories from the Arthurian legends specially selected and adapted for children and told in simple well-written prose. The stirring tales of these chivalrous knights awaken the reader's admiration for courage and gentleness and high sense of honor essential in all ages.78 credits

Story of the Cid for Young People   by C. D. Wilson
The Legend of the Cid was based on a real character in medieval Spain, who has been honored by all Spaniards as a model of chivalry. This delightful rendition is tells the complete tale of the Cid, a noble Christian knight who served a faithless king. Driven into exile by jealous courtiers, he conquered much of Moslem Spain, including the great city of Valencia, and won admiration from both his Christian and Moslem subjects by his bravery and fair dealing.90 credits

Men of Iron   by Howard Pyle
This classic tells the story of the coming of age of a young squire, living in England at the turn of the 15th century. The action starts just a few months after the treacherous Richard II was deposed, and replaced on the throne by his cousin, Henry IV. Myles Falworth was the son of one of the counselors of Richard II, and his youth and coming of age is much influenced by the accompanying palace politics.119 credits

Story of Roland   by James Baldwin
These are the daring feats and exploits of Roland, worthiest of the barons of France in the time of Charlemagne, and those of Oliver and Reynauld and Ogier the Dane, all heroes who were his companions in arms and who rivaled him in the number and greatness of their exploits. The story is culled from the works of song-writers and poets of five centuries.153 credits

Historical Tales: 13—King Arthur   by Charles Morris
This is the first of two volumes of classical Arthurian legends, retold from the original works by a master story teller. This volume includes they stories of Arthur, the Sword and the Round table, the Deeds of Balin, the Treason of Morgan Le Fay, the story of Lancelot, the Adventures of Beaumains, and Tristram and Isolde159 credits

Stories of Charlemagne and the Twelve Peers of France   by Alfred J. Church
In these stories taken from the Charlemagne Romances, the swashbuckling bravado of the great age of chivalry is well preserved. Stories of Reynaud, Fierabras, Roland, Oliver, and Huon are all told with much gusto. Modern renditions of these stories sometimes tone down the comical bluster of these stories and thereby miss the humor in them. This is not so of Church's version.113 credits

Men of Action

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.32 credits

Story of Nelson   by Edmund F. 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.40 credits

Story of Napoleon   by H. E. Marshall
This book tells the story of Napoleon, one of the most outstanding characters in European history, in a manner appropriate for grammar and middle school students. Napoleon was a young Corsican officer at the time of the French Revolution. He distinguished himself first in the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1798) and by 1804 had established himself as the undisputed head of France and crowned himself emperor. During the following decade he brought all of Europe under his power before losing everything after his disastrous march on Russia. He remains one of the most controversial characters of history. 35 credits

Story of Robert Bruce   by Jeanie Lang
This story of Robert Bruce, hero of Scotland, is an action packed tale of one of the greatest patriotic heroes of Scotland. Deprived of his crown by Edward I. of England, who had completely subjugated Scotland by the time he came of age, he won back Scotland's independence against terrific odds. With lots of hand-to-hand combat, treachery, and larger-than-life action, the story of Robert the Bruce is one of the greatest adventure-dramas in English history. 47 credits

Story of Sir Francis Drake   by Mrs. O. Elton
Sir Francis Drake was one of the most colorful characters in Elizabethan England. He was a sworn enemy of the Spanish and spent many years plundering their ships and towns in the new world, both to enrich himself and to strike a blow at England's most threatening enemy. He was only the second European, after Magellan, to pass Cape Horn in South America and sail around the world, but it is his daring feats and audacious exploits against Spain for which he is best known.38 credits

In the Days of William the Conqueror   by E. M. Tappan
This story of the life of William the Conqueror, telling of his boyhood in Normandy, beset by dangers, is written with great flourish in a manner that is especially appealing to young boys. From his earliest years, his life was one of adventure and conquest. As a youth he was knitted by the King of France, who eventually became his worst enemy. Afterward he proved himself the greatest warrior in all of Europe and completed his victorious career with his daring conquest of England.96 credits

In the Days of Alfred the Great   by E. M. Tappan
The story of the life of Alfred the Great, is presented in a manner that is of great interest to younger students. The book places great emphasis on the childhood of Alfred, and tells how at twenty-two he inherited a land overrun by savage pirates,—a restless ignorant, defenseless land. After spending most of his youth in conflict with the invaders, the final chapters tell how he fought the Danes and restored the country to a condition of peace and safety.94 credits

Historic Boys   by E. S. Brooks
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. 106 credits

Brave Men and Brave Deeds   by M. B. Synge
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.107 credits

Alexander the Great   by Jacob Abbott
Although Alexander ruled only thirteen years, his conquests are among the most significant in world history. Abbott's history covers his childhood influences, his early conquests in Greece, and his major battles in Persia, including Granicus River, Issus, the Siege of Tyre, and Gaugamela. The story concludes with the decline and corruption of Alexander's character, resulting in his early death at age thirty-three.75 credits

Hannibal   by Jacob Abbott
This account of the life of the famous Carthaginian general who acquired distinction as a warrior by his desperate contests with the Romans was written for mature high school students and young adults. Its lively treatment of the Punic Wars depicts Hannibal's crossing of the Alps with his elephants, the battles he waged in Italy, and his eventual defeat. Although Hannibal is the central character, the book begins with a brief overview of the first Punic War, and ends with the destruction of Carthage following the third Punic war. 84 credits

Julius Caesar   by Jacob Abbott
This book recounts the life of Caesar, who remains one of the most controversial and fascinating characters in world history. He was a man of action with many battles to his credit, including the Gallic Wars, Pharsalia, and the Alexandrine War. But even more, he was a mastermind. He laid the groundwork for the empire with his brilliant reorganization of the legions and his plan for consolidation of power. He was a master statesman as well as a general and won over as many rivals with diplomacy as he did on the battlefield. All aspects of his life are considered in this biography, written for high schoolers and young adults. 79 credits

Cyrus the Great   by Jacob Abbott
Cyrus the Great was the founder of the Persian Empire, and the story of his life gives great insights into the politics of the empires of central Asia in the sixth century B.C. Highlights of Cyrus's history include his romantic childhood, his conquest of Media with the aid of traitors from his grandfather's court, the story of Croesus--wealthy king of Lydia, the sieges of Tyre and Babylon, the restoration of the Jews, and the ill-fated campaign in Scythia. 77 credits

Richard I   by Jacob Abbott
This story of Richard I begins with his fascinating parents, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry the II, founders of the Plantagenet line of English kings. Once Richard ascends to the throne the story moves to the Holy Land, scene of the second Crusade. When Richard arrived in Acre, he found that vastly more energy was spent in posturing and infighting among the crusaders than in actually fighting the Mohammedans, but through it all, he managed to maintain a glamorous appearance of chivalry and apparent victory. 95 credits

Genghis Khan   by Jacob Abbott
The story of Genghis Khan provides a fascinating picture of the nomadic tribes of Asia. At its height, Khan's empire extended all the way from China to Turkistan and was composed of hundreds of tribes of nomadic warriors. No town, no matter how well fortified, was safe from his seemingly endless horde of followers. No enemy that resisted him escaped his grasp. 99 credits

Science and Invention

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 great things are brought about and how perseverance and hard work make for success.117 credits

War Inventions and How they were Invented   by Charles Gibson
The author of this book is a talented science writer for children who is able to explain important scientific phenomena in easy to understand language. In this book he explains the evolution of guns, and explosives; the technology associated with battle ships, submarines, torpedoes and mines; various surveying instruments, and finally fighter aircraft. Although students of all ages are spellbound by these fascinating technical histories, the book is a favorite of middle school age boys in particular. 62 credits

Stories of Great Scientists   by Charles Gibson
This book provides a thoughtful account of the lives of more than a dozen of the most important scientists of the ancient world, and the modern era, up to the end of the 19th century. The author has 'taken all possible care to state only facts that are reliable, and, whenever possible, to dispel popular errors that have arisen' in the retelling of the lives of these scientists who include Roger Bacon, Galileo, Newton, Franklin, Copernicus, Priestly, Dalton, Herschel and many others. Especially interesting is his account of many of the ancient scientists from Pythagoras to Ptolemy. 135 credits

Boys' Life of Edison   by W. H. Meadowcroft
This biography of Thomas Edison was written by a close associate and contains many autobiographical anecdotes. Much attention is given to Edison's early life and the author paints a picture of a young man whose resourcefulness and entrepreneurial tendencies were apparent from a young age. The range of Edison's contributions to American industry is simply astounding, and his entire life is rich in relevance, but is also rich in anecdote and humor since Edison's ceaseless activities led to innumerable conflicts and adventures.98 credits


Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall
This volume retells the famous Anglo-Saxon saga in the manner of a folktale, with the heroic qualities emphasized. It relates how Beowulf, the hero of the Saxons, came to Daneland and how he overcame the ogre Grendel and the water witch. It closes with the story of how the fire dragon warred with the Goth folk and how Beowulf fought his last fight.32 credits

Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall
This lively retelling of the Stories of Robin Hood chronicles the events of the time in which Robin Hood lived, while the heroic Richard the Lion-hearted was absent from England and the kingdom was under the rule of his devious brother. The story recounts how and why he came to live in the Greenwood, and the adventures he had there with Little John, Maid Marian, and the Sheriff of Nottingham in a manner attractive to youngsters.40 credits

Stories of Siegfried Told to the Children   by Mary Macgregor
Siegfried is the central character in this legend, skillfully adapted from the Nibelung, an old German poem, full of strange adventures of tiny dwarves and stalwart mortals. In this retelling of the ancient legend, Siegfried wins the accursed Rhineland treasure, takes Kriemhild as bride, and comes to an untimely end, passing the curse of the Rheingold on to his enemies.41 credits

Iliad for Boys and Girls   by Alfred J. Church
Vigorous retelling of Homer's Iliad, relating the incidents of the great siege of Troy, from the quarrel of the chiefs to the ransoming of Hector's body. This versions provides a more complicated retelling of Homer's famous than some other adaptations, but is still directed at intermediate students rather than young adults. Alfred Church was a British high school instructor whose career was dedicated to popularizing the classics for young people and this is one of his most well-known books. 63 credits

Odyssey for Boys and Girls   by Alfred J. Church
This lively version of Homer's Odyssey tells of the wanderings of Ulysses and his adventures with the giant Cyclops and the enchantress Circe as he makes his way home to his beloved Ithaca. There, after slaying the suitors who have been wooing his wife Penelope, he is reunited with his family after twenty long years. This version is especially appropriate for middle school students because it highlights many details that are usually omitted in children's version, and yet is still very accessible to younger teens. 62 credits

Aeneid for Boys and Girls   by Alfred J. Church
This story recounts the fascinating tale of Aeneas, the legendary ancestor of Romulus, who escaped from the burning city of Troy and wandered the Mediterranean for years before settling in Italy. His adventures once arriving in Latium are no less interesting since he must fight the jealous suitor Turnus for the hand of the princess Lavinia. Patterned after the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Aeneid was described in an epic poem by Virgil to glorify the imperial city of Rome. 59 credits

Boys' Cuchulain   by Eleanor Hull
The legend of Cuchulain, the greatest of the Celtic warriors it still a favorite in all of Ireland. Also known as the 'Hound of Ulster', Cuchulain defended Ulster from Queen Maeve when only a boy. He is sent by jealous neighbors to Scotland to train as a warrior but after adventures there, returns to claim his bride Emer. After many more adventures in Ireland he is tricked by his nemesis Queen Maeve, and perishes in battle. The story of Cuchulain is heroic, non-stop action and a delight for readers of all ages.118 credits

Story of Siegfried   by James Baldwin
Legends of the Nibelungen hero, Siegfried, full of the mystery, awe, and poetry of the northern lands. They tell of how Siegfried forged the wondrous sword, Balmung, of his riding through flaming fire to awaken the maiden, Brunhild, and of the many other strange and daring deeds which he wrought. Many Norse myths are interwoven in the tale. The best rendition for children of the Siegfried legends, based on the Eddas, the Volsung Saga, and the Nibelungen-lied.111 credits


Stories of Gulliver's Travels Told to the Children   by John Lang
This accessible and humorous retelling of Swift's classic Gulliver's Travels recounts the story of two of Gulliver's most famous voyages. In Lilliput, Gulliver is captured by midgets but he eventually wins their trust by helping them fight their enemies from the Island Blefuscu. He then travels to Brobdingnag, the land of the giants where he is kept as a pet by the king. Most of the political allusions from the original are above the heads of young students, but the story itself is highly entertaining. 36 credits

Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children   by James Baldwin
This story of Robinson Crusoe for children was adapted to be easy to read for young children. It Relates how the shipwrecked sailor makes a new life for himself on the island, crafting shelter, food, and clothing for himself from the few tools he rescued from the ship and what he is able to find on the island. Living alone for over twenty years before he is finally rescued, he reinvents almost everything necessary for daily sustenance. Even very young children delight in this inspiring tale.71 credits

Viking Tales   by Jennie Hall
This book follows the story of Harald Fairhair from the time he is given his own thrall at the cutting of his first tooth, through his exploits as a Viking adventurer, to his crowning as King of Norway. Then population pressures at home and eagerness for adventure and booty from other lands combine to drive some of the bolder Vikings to set forth from their native land. Sailing ever westward across the Atlantic, they hop along the chain of islands that loosely connects Norway with America in search of home and adventure. 58 credits

Buccaneers and Pirates of our Coasts   by F. R. Stockton
This swashbuckling set of pirate tales makes for a grand feast of adventure stories. With chapters such as Masters in Piracy, A Pirate Potentate, and Villainy on a Grand Scale the author recounts the dastardly deeds and desperate feats of dozens of pirates who terrorized the Caribbean Coasts. There is no shortage of action in this book; most horrifying exploits are rendered in reasonably good taste, and many of the tales are surprisingly amusing. 101 credits

Burning of Rome   by Alfred J. Church
This book covers a dramatic period of Nero's reign, encompassing the catastrophic fire that destroyed Rome and the rebellion, known as Piso's Conspiracy, that soon followed. Virtually all of the characters in this book are based on historical Romans, and the levels of treachery, cowardice, martyrdom, and villainy displayed by the characters in this drama would be incredible if they were not actually true. 116 credits

Hammer   by Alfred J. Church
This story is based on the first book of Maccabees from the Old Testament. It is set during the Macedonian occupation of Judea (around 250 B.C.), a very critical period in Jewish history, and tells the story of a young Jewish man who is first attracted to the "modern" Greek way of life, but eventually joins the Maccabee brothers in their desperate revolt against their Macedonian overlords. The conflict between the cosmopolitan and decadent Greek manner of life, and the customs of traditional Judaism is well portrayed . 135 credits

Buccaneers of America   by J. Esquemeling
First person account of many of the terrible exploits of the pirates of the Caribbean, with particular attention to the life of Henry Morgan. Written by a barber-surgeon who accompanied the pirates on several of their adventures. 91 credits