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Most Inaccurate Historical Fiction

The worst, craziest, most inaccurate historical fiction.
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103 books · 191 voters · list created July 11th, 2008 by Laura (votes) .
19 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Laura 1569 books
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Robert 1756 books
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Steven 3688 books
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Melissa 58 books
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Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3296 books
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I am Bastet 2014 books
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Jen 3033 books
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Lisa 631 books
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More voters…


Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Hazel (new)

Hazel Surely this list could be a lot longer.


message 2: by Bettie (new)

Bettie Inaccuracy doesn't stop some of these being fab fun reads.

:O)


message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Not all of these books belong on this list. I am a future historian (degree pending) and extremely anal-retentive when it comes to historical inaccuracies.

That being said, there is difference between books about "real" people, attempting to depict "real" moments in their lives and books that take place in the past and are merely attempting to recreate that past and inhabit it with an interesting story.


message 5: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie They are called historical FICTION for a reason...


message 6: by Beamay (new)

Beamay Thats why they're called FICTION.... get it? -__-
These books are actually fun reads. They were never meant to be taken as history books.


message 7: by Boredme (new)

Boredme The presence of Uncle Tom's Cabin on here is kind of disturbing; methinks that some voters had ulterior motives.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Starting with it not being historical fiction?


message 9: by Anna (new)

Anna Kļaviņa Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "Starting with it not being historical fiction?"

It was contemporary novel in 1850s, right?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads No, the Scarlet Letter is actually historical fiction; written in the 1850s, about events some 200 years earlier.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was a novel set in its own time.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship I do think this list would be more informative if people added what the inaccuracies are, rather than just voting for HF they don't like. For instance, Gone With the Wind at #3: absolutely, the book romanticizes slavery and infantilizes its black characters, but as far as I'm aware it has its facts straight about how people lived at the time, the sequence of events during the war, and so on. An author's writing with an unfortunate ideology or assumptions about others is a very different thing to me from an author's being too lazy to do the research, or making shit up and presenting it as history.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] Just getting people to agree on what is and isn't historical fiction is tough enough as it is.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] Also while I'm thinking about it, how is The Da Vinci Code historical fiction?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads That's a good question. I'd say it wasn't.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] ...The Aeniad? Really?


message 16: by Danna (new)

Danna If nobody knows how inaccurate GONE WITH THE WIND is, it shall be removed. As far as I know, it is accurate. Yes, the plot itself is romanticised, but surely not every historical fiction that doesn't include real-life characters is inaccurate!


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] A lot of these aren't historical fiction, although, again, what is and isn't has been argued to death in other places. And yes, they are fiction, but I think there's a point where it becomes ridiculous, but again it depends on how you define it and how it is marketed, and oh, I could go on. Certainly no one is going to argue that, say, The Once and Future King should be shelved under historical fiction, but a lot of the more "realistic" takes on the Arthur mythos sometimes are. But, I ramble.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Ha, I hadn't even thought about The Da Vinci Code's contemporary setting. I think it fits the spirit of the list though, because Brown makes a lot of assertions about history in the book that he claims are factual, which aren't.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] Yeah, the man who purported the hoax both Da Vinci and Holy Blood, Holy Grail is based on admitted to the whole thing I think a little while after the book came out. Heck, I think he may still be alive. Makes for intersting reading.


message 20: by Danna (new)

Danna The Da Vinci Code IS NOT HISTORICAL FICTION! Removed.


message 21: by Pam (new)

Pam a Lamb The Aeneid isn't historical fiction at all... It makes no sense to have it on this list.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] How is it not?


message 23: by Pam (last edited Jun 06, 2014 03:55AM) (new)

Pam a Lamb It's weird to retroactively fit the Aeneid into a category that has specific connotations that don't necessarily mesh with the author's worldview. Historical fiction wasn't really a thing, not one he was conscious of, at least. You might as well call Aristophanes' Clouds historical fiction too.

Depending on how you want to look at Vergil and Romans, this is either something they believed in fully, and therefore not really fiction, in their eyes, which makes it uncomfortable to try to pin that label on it. On the other hand, they could have thought it was entirely fabricated, in which case it's more of a legend or a myth then anything. The Aeneid then becomes consciously unrealistic - not with regards to the time period in which it's set, but with regards to the realm of earthly possibility, which doesn't entirely fit the mould either.

The author's intent isn't really historical fictional; this is epic poetry, the appropriation of a Greek tradition for the Roman people, and an allegory for the legitimization of Vergil's government.

I just have a hard time putting modern labels on classical texts, because their conceptions of authorship and story-classification were often far-removed from ours. (eg: We call Herodotus one of the first known historians, but if you've read his works, it's not always appropriate to call them history, in the modern sense of the word. They merit discussion re: a more apt name for them.) Maybe other people feel differently about it though.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] Ha. Actually that is rational and makes a lot of sense. I was expecting something, well dumber. Goodreads has perhaps made me too jaded recently.

But no, that argument actually makes sense.


message 25: by BookLovingLady (last edited Apr 13, 2017 12:53PM) (new)

BookLovingLady I've added Truce to this list, although the author did warn her readers that she didn't intend to write an accurate historical novel. It's just a love story set in the past, without the pretension of it being an accurate past, which is why this book is okay, as far as I'm concerned. After all, forewarned is foretold... :-)


message 26: by English (new)

English I just saw a review by a Goodreads friend describing Philippa Gregory's novels as 'educational' and recommending them to people who want to 'learn' history. I despair...


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