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A Child's History of England

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  570 ratings  ·  78 reviews
If you look at a Map of the World, you will see, in the left-hand upper corner of the Eastern Hemisphere, two Islands lying in the sea. They are England and Scotland, and Ireland. England and Scotland form the greater part of these Islands. Ireland is the next in size. The little neighbouring islands, which are so small upon the Map as to be mere dots, are chiefly little b ...more
Published June 20th 2007 by Book Jungle (first published 1854)
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Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'd like to meet the child that this is written for--the young William Thackeray? The young William James? The young Trevelyan, most likely. Or Macaulay. I have read in English history for decades, but especially social history--the Canons of 1604 and how they enlighten a reading of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, or Judge Henry Swinburne's Spousals. And I must say, Dickens' account is intricate and intriguing. Like the novelist he is, he imbues the kings and their favorites with character an ...more
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dickens fans; British history lovers
Review of A Child’s History of England by Charles Dickens

My actual edition of this book is part of “The Works of Charles Dickens, with Illustrations, Cleartype Edition, Books, Inc; 1868 (date is questionable)”…I hestitated to turn down corners, but did one or two.
If only history could always be this fun. Oh me, what do you get when you add Charles Dickens + English history? Truly, a history for the people, sir! In more ways than one!

How so, you ask?

1) Totally readable. Written for children. Tr
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be thoroughly fascinating! Dickens takes us from the early beginnings of England all the way up to his era, monarchy by monarchy. I doubt if many parents of our day would hand this book to their children; it is full of the violence, hatred, and vengeance of kings against their rivals, fathers against sons, brothers against brothers, uncles against nephews, Catholics against Protestants, neighboring regions against each other, and one thing I learned is that I never would wan ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-19, history, europe
A charming little book. Dickens uses his narrative prowess in telling England's history -- and has his own moralistic, and often entertaining, spin on the people and events therein. The end result reads much like the book of Kings.
Jun 02, 2010 is currently reading it
Shelves: kindle
While this book was written for children of Dickens' time, no one under High School age should attempt this book, and have a dictionary close at hand. I found that Dickens was very ethnocentrist in favor of the Saxons, something that I would not have supposed before reading this. This is included in The Complete Charles Dickens Collection on my Kindle.
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Dickens is usually known as a novelist, but you can forget that here. The book is exactly what it purports to be, except that it has Charles Dickens as the author! True, at times he seems to actually write for a child in this book, but those times are relatively few.
Dickens actually does the whole of English history, right up to 1688, where he ended this tome, before it touched too many people in high places in the wrong places. He writes as a patriotic, yet critical Englishman, and retains al
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe more like 4.5 stars - We (16 yo son, 14 yo daughter, 11 year old son, and I) really enjoyed reading this aloud together. Dickens's side remarks were especially fun.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014reviews
What a treat to discover Charles Dickens' A Child's History of England. I enjoyed Dickens style. I liked the action and characterization. It was also rich in description. Here's the first sentence,
"In the old days, a long, long while ago, before Our Saviour was born on earth and lay asleep in a manger, these Islands were in the same place, and the stormy sea roared round them, just as it roars now. But the sea was not alive, then, with great ships and brave sailors, sailing to and from all parts
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I seem to have a shine of all things British these days and after having finished the War of the Roses by Conn Iggulden I was looking for a summary of the various Kings ansd Queens of England. I found all I needed in this book. There is some good summary and anecdotes about the different rulers from Ancient England and the Romans 409 AD up to King James James the Second (1689) and the Bloody Assizes. I was surpsied to learn that a kiong had been beheaded (Charles the Ist was beheaded for high tr ...more
Jan 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished at last! I read this book on and off for the past year +. There were some turgid bits, but I did enjoy it when Dickens sounded off on various things, such as:

Dickens on King Henry the 8th - "The plain truth is, that he was a most intolerable ruffian, a disgrace to human nature, and a blot of blood and grease upon the History of England."

Dickens on the execution of Lady Jane Grey (ordered by "Bloody" Queen Mary Tudor) - "You know too well, now, what dreadful deeds the executioner did in
I was on the airplane returning from Iceland when I started this. I realized that a "child's" knowledge of English history is more than I have, so this has not been familiar ground to me. Dickens empathy for the lower classes comes through again and again. The book undoubtedly has more descriptions of beheadings than any other "children's" book ever written.

If you don't feel like reading one of the long novels but are in the mood for some CD, then I'd recommend this book. Highly opinionated, no
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was so fascinating to read Dickens as written to a child. There are some racial and social prejudices here, I wasn't bothered by it considering when it was written. This reminded me a lot of 'Our Island Story', which I absolutely loved. A favorite line: "He [Julius Caesar] had expected to find pearls in Britain, and he may have found a few for anything I know; but, at all events, he found delicious oysters, and I am sure he found tough Britons - of whom, I dare say, he made the same complaint ...more
Steve R
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting take on the pageant of British history, from King Arthur to the Revolution of 1688. A final chapter glosses over the period up to Victoria's assumption of the throne. Dickens spares no sentiment, and details all bloodthirsty, violent, murderous, vengeful and inhumane acts by the rulers of his nation. My father commented, on reading this tale of one atrocity after another, that it is a wonder Dickens supposedly intended it for children, as the title indicates. According to Wikipedi ...more
Patty Simpson
Apr 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Lots of bias and opinions, which is entertaining; too many earls and dukes and too much detail about small plots, which is not entertaining. I think it may have been the basis of my grade 7 social studies class, actually.
Free download available at Project Gutenberg. ...more
Drayton Alan
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
As an american this was a good primer to English history. I enjoyed it.
Chu-Salyer Sharon
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Don’t let this title fool you, this book is not about children. Very bloody book; I learned a lot about the history of England.
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Actually an excellent review of this history (at least for someone educated in America, most of this material was not stuff we learned as kids).
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A surprisingly readable (considering its age) history of England - although in many places it is the history of Great Britain or the United Kingdom as it begins before England existed and talks about Wales and Scotland too.

There is plenty of interesting information in this work, and it includes references to issues that get scant attention in modern histories. Nevertheless it shows its age, in that it is clearly wrong on some points, as has now been demonstrated, and because Dickens is writing
Sandi Dickenson
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My second time around reading this. The first time round I was looking for a simple to understand book synopsis of English king's and queens to round out the many shows and books portraying well known names.

This book was a winner! Enjoyed the vocabulary banter, it connected each reign to next in an understandable way and WOW! I was shocked at the graphic descriptions of human cruelty. I canmot imagine reading this in my childhood without dealing with the resulting nightmares. Nor would I have r
Sep 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nook
I primarily wanted to read this to gain a better understanding of the early settlement of England because I read a number of series during that time period. This book offers a clear and concise explanation of who was who and who attacked where so that helped. Fair warning to readers, Dickens wrote near the height of British imperialism. His attitude towards anyone not English is painfully racist to read, i.e. lots of "savage" and "ignorant" comments. The later years are explained fairly well, al ...more
K. Counihan
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Outline of a Confusing History

So many names , the P.G. version of English History. It is quite long at 498 pages. There is no dialog so it feels longer. The beheadings and hangings are dry and sanitized. Kind of boring for a child of the modern era. No pictures or maps either.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent presentation of England from the ancient Romans to the reign of Queen Victoria. There's quite a bit of (slightly sarcastic) commentary, which makes it an entertaining read, as well as informative.
Judith Blinn Oliver
This book was amazing. I'm not sure I would have read this as a child, but it did read easily. Over and Over again I saw that absolute power corrupts. This is so relevant to today and it gives me a deeper appreciation for the separation of power as outlined in the US Constitution.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Really good book and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read, but I’m not going to finish it right now. Moving on.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Super tedious. I'm too much a baby to understand.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
3 stars out of 5. Mildly amusing. Very sardonic. It's hard to believe this was widely used as a text by English schoolchildren.
Gotta love Charles Dickens' snark :D
[Longer review coming later!]
Jasmine Shadows
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy reading history written by those who lived closer to the time being recorded. You feel you will get more truth.
Janet Savill
Fun read to drop in and out of - best not to sit down and read it all at once. About a thousand years of history gets confusing pretty quick with so many people being beheaded.
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Charles John Huffam Dickens was a writer and social critic who created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.


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