Not so Horrible Histories?

When growing up, the interest in the past is not always present in the minds of young people or children. Therefore any possible sources that captivate the age group into wanting to know anything about history are important. There have been a great many appear in recent years though none as popular as the Horrible History series.

There are various points that make the books and indeed the TV series so popular. Firstly there is the fact that they are entertaining. The books include the funny and simple drawings that make the reader laugh, but also want to read more. For example in the Terrible Tudors book there is as titled ‘Good wife guide’ in which a table shows the wives of Henry VIII and how they were connected to the king. This straightforward yet useful page just shows how informative these books can be thus leading on to my next point.  There is also what’s called ‘useless bits of information’. These are some of the most interesting facts in the books and are told with humour mixed in. The Horrible Histories website includes games that not only entertain young people but also help them learn history.

The Horrible History books are also factual. They provide knowledge for interested young people and include even the parts of history that aren’t normally told to young audiences.  In the book Vile Victorians we are told of multiple aspects of the Victorian way of life including their life at school, their living conditions and society as a lower class person.  One key point that I found interesting when I read the Rotten Romans was this ‘In history a “fact” is sometimes not a fact at all. Really it’s just someone’s “opinion”. And opinions can be different for different people’. Here is a useful point to learn if history is interesting to you and has been brought across to the audience effectively.

To summarise in this short analysis of horrible histories, they firstly provide the means to communicate history to young people through both humour and facts. If this is one of the few ways in which to do this, then it should be used more in schools and history lessons as a means of making history interesting.  It also shows that beneath the pictures and funny facts there is the historical content, which will teach the people reading it about the past. On the other hand the books prove that history doesn’t have to be long text in the smallest fonts and that it can be (using the word again) fun. On an end note, I’ll admit even I still find these books and TV shows interesting to watch and read, and I hope more young people will find them as useful as I have growing up.


Terry Deary., Horrible Histories, The Vile Victorians

Terry Deary and Martin Brown., Horrible Histories, The Groovy Greeks and Rotten Romans

Terry Deary and Neil Tonge., Horrible Histories, The Terrible Tudors


One thought on “Not so Horrible Histories?

  1. Horrible Histories (and, indeed Horrible Science and Horrible Geography) were practically the only books I bought when I was small. I was more into Horrible Science books, but Horrible Histories taught me so much when I was growing up. I’ve boxed all mine up now for my future kids (though maybe some of them will be outdated by then). 😉

    I only discovered the TV series very recently, when I noticed my little sister watching it. I wish that there’d been that around when I was smaller!!

    Cool post. 😉 I’ve hardly come across anyone else who actually LIKED those books.


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