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Our Island Story

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,246 ratings  ·  81 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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Average rating 4.17  · 
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The complete history of England, the greatest nation in the world, as told to English boys and girls in the year 1905.
Hear the tales of the first explorers of this island, their conquests, victories and defeats from British chieftains to Julius Caesar and through to William the Conqueror. Watch how the Britons learned to love their liberty and independence and spread these values to all the peoples of the world.
Warning! Not politically correct

image: description

Boadicea was a queen and a national hero of th
Sarah Bringhurst Familia
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
We have been watching the 1960 "Shakespeare's An Age of Kings" series. To help keep the kings straight in the plays, I got out this book that we'd used as one of our homeschool history books. Despite the fact that it was first published in 1905 (or perhaps because it was written then), it is an excellent resource for adults as well as "boys and girls". Presented chronologically, each historical event and king or queen is presented with basic facts and associated myths. At some point I may even u ...more
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
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. ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I read this one with my kids, and while, officially, it was their education we were working toward, my own understanding of history deepened considerably as a result of reading Our Island Story. And not just English/European history, either: understanding this gave me a new appreciation for the way that American history and government are rooted in the freedoms won and cherished in England, going back a thousand years at least, as I made connections between these stories and the principles of fr ...more
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
He offers a thorough yet concise histoyr of England for middle school. Highly recomended.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Iain Hamill
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
So it might be a children's book but I thoroughly enjoyed this narrative overview of British history.

One I'm looking forward to reading to the next generation as a bedtime story!

Tennyson's 'Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington' is quoted in respect of Wolfe and the taking of Quebec but it sums up the central themes of the book.

Not once or twice in our fair island-story,
The path of duty was the way to glory:
He, that ever following her commands,
On with toil of heart and knees and hands
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My 1906 edition is called "An Island Story", but I assume it's the same book:
Ebook edition here: []

Excellent book about the history of Britain and its kings - the stories are written clearly, concisely and it explains difficult concepts and words (like "Pro-testant") in an easy to understand way. The history becomes a big adventure story. I found it hard to put down. Can't wait to read this to my kids when they get a bit older.

A little sample - about Henr
Somehow the author manages to tell about the English succession of monarchs, wars, beheadings and wicked rulers in a remarkably cheerful, storytelling tone. It's quite an achievement really for a children's author, as I've never seen such a list of tragedy in any book of history. For some strange reason I actually enjoyed it, and even fell asleep occasionally while listening to the Librivox audiobook. But I did start to feel the weight of all that wickedness towards the end of the book, particul ...more
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
This book is our history spine for several years. We've enjoyed this book. To help make it more real, we've been able to look up pictures such as seeing the remaining sections of Hadrin's Wall or statues like that of Queen Bodecia. It has dates next to the chapter titles. The chapters are short but exciting and a few black and white pictures/drawings throughout. ...more
Sarah Adamson
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, novel
A fantastic book similar to the writing of Enid Blyton or Roger Lancelyn Green. This book tells the almost complete history of the United Kingdom as if fairy tales for children. Love the way she throws in something that is part of a myth or story without proof and says some people don't believe in this part of the story but I like it! Great way to educate kids in a fun storytelling way. ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for children learning history. The historical content is solid, but the presentation makes this book (or this author's books) special. The student is drawn in to the drama of history it unfolds before them, and they come to care deeply about the events and people they learn of.

The only caveat here is that Marshall's objectivity faltered as she wrote about her own times.
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Heather Smith
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great History of Britain for Children!
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Currently reading with the younger two.
Patrick Aisher
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Should be on national curriculum
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, history
We listened to this story via LibraVox (free). It was our bedtime story for many, many nights and we really liked it! (Ages 9.5 and 6)
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was so interesting and loved how history was framed as a fun and detailed story, from the myths of ancient times to not that far from today. I enjoyed every page.
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of British history and legend...for kids and grown-ups.
allana bush
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its awesome

THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER IT IS SO AWESOME I Love this book Thank You for writing this book
4.5 stars & 5/10 hearts. This was my first history book and still ranks among my favourites. It is refreshingly innocent and focused on the good that happened. How many dories did I compose from its material! Some of my first historical loves were found in this book. It is written for children, but the language and attitude, is only a little “talking-down,” and does not bother me at all. I love it as much as I ever did.

A Favourite Quote: “Edward was a great soldier and a valiant knight, but it w
Paul Black
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful series of stories of Briton from its mythic beginning to the current Queen, Elizabeth. Each story is a few pages and are well told. The stories are an even mix of folklore, fact, and fiction. It primarily covers the kings (and queens) and their victories and defeats in battles. But there are tales of love, treachery, invasions, heroism, and adventure. I got a bit lost somewhere between the Tudor and Stuart kings. The list of kings from Edward the Confessor (pages 571 & 572) helped. E ...more
First published in 1905 and it reads like it, but for all its faults, this is a lovely book - Wildly inaccurate inplaces and yet somehow compelling. It reminds me of the glorious Children's Treasure House books ( a compilation of 'comics' that were collected by readers and then sent off to be bound together I believe - though I may be mistaken)

This book, like the Treasure House books, gives an insight - however flawed - not only into the past, but the way we thought about the past.

I can't real
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Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall (usually credited as H.E. Marshall) was a Scottish 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,

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