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Our Island Story: A History of Britain for Boys and Girls
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Our Island Story: A History of Britain for Boys and Girls

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  404 ratings  ·  35 reviews
A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Suitable for children ages 9 and up to read to themselves and for children as young as 6 as a read-aloud ...more
Paperback, 676 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Yesterday's Classics (first published 1905)
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Leah Beecher
Have not technically finished this book since we are using it as a reading textbook in our study of British History that will take most of the school year. I thought it deserved a write up, regardless, owing that we have enjoyed it so much only a month into the school year. This book is an amazing tool for home schoolers, educators, or any person desiring to educate themselves on British History. Written by a mother for her own children a little before the turn of last century, it is exactly wha ...more
Jan
May 18, 2013 Jan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jan by: My mother.
I actually have what I think is a first edition, inscribed to my mother by her great-uncle, my great-great-uncle Wolf (anglicized in the signature to "Wolfe") Romm. Wolfe was born in Latvia and came here as a young teenager. He and his brother Karl ("Charlie") were active in forming the printers' union in New York. They were reportedly quite short in stature and never married. Wolfe was a bibliomaniac, not only collecting rare books but occasionally stealing them from libraries. When he gave thi ...more
Steve
I expected this book - bought by my mother via a Daily Telegraph offer for her grandchildren, who have never read it - to be ghastly and unreadable, but needing to brush up a bit (a LOT) on my Kings and Queens for the sake of the Quiz League I thought I'd give it a quick whiz through. It IS ghastly in many ways - history merely as a succession of feuding nobles - but it was surprisingly readable, and what really surprised me was the frankness of it - I expected to read about one or two 'bad king ...more
Sarah Bringhurst
Our Island Story (H.E. Marshall) is Ambleside’s history spine for the early years. It is a history of Britain for young readers, and an absolute treasure of a book from a Charlotte Mason standpoint, meaning that Axa gives incredible narrations (i.e. nearly verbatim) of the stories after just a single hearing. My most moving experience this term was hearing her narrate the story of Boadicea, the warrior queen. Her rendition was sensitive, precise, and beautiful. Obviously, she was highly affected ...more
Ebookwormy
A lovely, read aloud, big-picture, history of England that has aged rather well. There are some passages where I notice the Eurocentric nature of Ms. Marshall's world, and others where our knowledge of what has happened since her times colors her account in rather different strokes. Nonetheless, we enjoy this book immensely and highly recommend it as a general history of the United Kingdom.
Thom Swennes
Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall is a comprehensive, bird’s eye view of English history. Written in 1905 it starts with legends of the Islands beginnings, through a chain of kings and wars. The sheer mass of these monarchs and conflicts leave any reader reeling but this book was written especially for grade school children. The language is simple but as an adult I couldn’t help sensing a strong condescending tone. It is both a tedious and fresh work. It is divided into two volumes. The first vo ...more
Jen
I picked up this book thinking it would be like Robert Lacey's Great Tales from English History (which you should definitely read). And it is...and it isn't.

First off, the book is over a century old. It doesn't seem like it while reading, but there are some historical facts that have been brought into question since then, so be aware.

Secondly, it was written for kids--which, seriously, I should have known.

As a kid-book, it's amazing. I can't think of any child who read this or had this read to t
...more
Heather
We've read the first 20 or so chapters. Criminy, how many chapters are there?

The author mixes legend with fact but she usually identifies which is which. It is well written if a bit old-fashioned. My 2nd graders and 4-yr-old can handle a chapter a day without too much wiggling. I'm pleased with how much they're retaining.

There's a lot of killing and breaking of promises and bad people, but it's handled well so we're not traumatized. And it's offered us many opportunities to discuss right and wro
...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
This was a free download on librovox and so I gave it a shot. It is written as a children's story for the Island of Great Britain. Going through all of the wars and kings, and queens until the original publish date. The book also recounts some of the lore and verses from England. I didn't know much about British history and found this very insightful. This history was a bit too "England is the best" for it's own good though. I think it was more than a little biased about many of the going on's i ...more
Janet
The title says 'for boys and girls' but I would title this for anyone with an interest in English history. Has quick chapters on each of the kings with interesting stories about each. I would definitely recommend it.
John
Our Island Story, is all about britains past. it makes a possibly boring topic quite exciting, even though it is all true, it feels and flows like a story. It covers most of the topics that can be linked with britain. the book itself is a very good read for anyone who wants to learn about britains past, or someone at school who is learning about a particular topic as it is all condensed into single chapters, which feel just the right legnth for the book. an excellant read overall.
Melissa
We read this concurrently with This Country of Ours and it gives a nice perspective on what was going on in Europe at the same time certain things were happening here. I have really liked reading history this way. We just read the chapter on Waterloo, and my son said, "finally I get to know what Waterloos is, I keep hearing about it." So it has been good.
Heather
We cannot recommend this book highly enough!!! Wonderful children's (and adult's for that matter) history of Great Britain from the time of the Romans to Queen Victoria. We als listened to the Naxos Audio version...EXCELLENT reading of it by two skilled narrators. H.E. Marshall is very respectful of the Catholic Faith.
Fiona Moyler
Nasty little book dating from the times when belief in British superiority was widespread among the British. It gets two stars rather than one because I did actually learn a few things, such as who Hengist and Horsa were, the various invasions, the story of St. Alban, and a few of the various royal families who ruled.
Habulous
Jan 01, 2014 Habulous rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: y2
We are in our second year of reading OIS and are about a third of the way through, as scheduled. Another Librivox favorite. These tales are the kids' favorite school-related readings.
Diane
A good overall history of Britain from the beginning of recorded history until the beginning of the 20th century. We also read Our Empire Story, which was about the British colonies. This provided a good view of Imperialism as well as an understanding of the basis for most of 20th century politics.
Andrea
Very nice overview, kept pretty simple. A Little too much "and then so-and-so fought so-and-so", and "he was a good/bad king". Made me keen to get into a more detailed history, and helped me realize which periods I'd like to focus on.
Alex
Entertaining, and interesting as an artifact of a previous age, but not useful as a textbook. The author is more interested in storytelling than accuracy, and freely mixes historical fact with myth and legend.
Kelly
Jul 12, 2009 Kelly marked it as to-read
This is the history of England in story form for kids. It has fun stories that bring history to life.

We've read the first few chapters and will come back to this book in a couple of months.
Alisa
Sep 07, 2011 Alisa is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This is our home-school history book. I won't list all the books we read, as I don't read the ones my third grader reads, she just narrates back to me and we go over the moral lessons in the books.
Sarah
This has been a great overview of British history. Sophie and I have really enjoyed it so far. We read the chapters that correspond to the time period we are studing as we move along in history.
JoAnn
Finished Volume 1. This would be excellent to use in teaching English history to school age children as well as giving a reminder and overview to adults.
Petrina
Good kids history book. The early "history" can be taken with a pinch of salt though, it's more legends.
Naomi
Apr 12, 2010 Naomi is currently reading it
Shelves: kids
Forget dry textbooks! Here's a wonderful history book of England for both young and old to enjoy.
Aaron
Sep 19, 2007 Aaron rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kids, Adults, folks interested in the History/Legends of England since time immemorial
It's a nice children's history book of England. Quite informative, and not too bloody.
Leila
The Naxos Audiobooks CDs of Our Island Story are delightful--well worth every penny.
Alex
An very informative and useful book i think i will read it again one day.
Zonnah
The sad thing is I learned more from this book then I ever did from school.
Heidi Schulz
Excellent History resource - history of England for children
Trace
May 24, 2010 Trace marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2010-book-list
another classic I missed reading as a youngster

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Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall (usually credited as H. E. Marshall) was a British author, particularly well known for her works of popular national history for children.

H. E. Marshall is famous for her 1905 children's history of England, Our Island Story: A History of England for Boys and Girls, illustrated by A. S. Forrest. In the USA the book was entitled An Island Story. The book was a bestseller
...more
More about H.E. Marshall...
This Country of Ours Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children (Yesterday's Classics) Scotland's Story The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation  (Yesterday's Classics) English Literature for Boys and Girls, Illustrated Edition (Yesterday's Classics)

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