Nothing New Helene A. Guerber Books

Helene A. Guerber wrote histories for grammar school children in the 19th century. Published in 1896 by the American Book Company, Guerber's Historical Readers in the Eclectic Readings Series were used to introduce children to the histories of the ancient and classical world. The purpose of the books was to help students build a Biblical worldview and a rich vocabulary while discovering the history of the world. These books (like the originals) are intended for either supplementary reading or a first history textbook for young pupils. These reprints are essentially the same as Guerber's originals, some with no changes to the text other than typographical errors. Others have been revised and expanded by Christine Miller, sometimes to reorganize the original content. For example, The Story of the Middle Ages and The Story of the Renaissance and Reformation have been revised and expanded and each combine content from two original books The Story of Old France and The Story of the English. The books have a few new additions, including timelines of events encountered throughout the stories, maps, and new prefaces identifying historical facts that have been uncovered since the original publishing. They are composed primarily of stories about people so history becomes understandable and interesting to young students. The engaging narratives included in the books are richly detailed accounts of the lives and times of the most important people of the period, arranged chronologically. The stories progress from tales about the early inhabitants of that time to the last famous people of that civilization and how the end of that civilization/time came about. The people are placed within the context of their times, and their history is presented with interesting background information so that the entire narrative flows as a single, unbroken story. The tons of short stories included in each book link together to give an interesting, detailed, and personal account of the past. At the same time, these stories give a clear picture of the most important events that have taken place in the world. For example, the 138 stories in the Middle Ages book begin by telling of Europe long ago and then cover the Gauls, the first kings, famous bishops and saints, the crusades, and other events, and then it ends with the story of Richard III and how his death marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Era. Dates are included where they are known. The pronunciation of places and personal names are carefully marked when they first appear in the text, and illustrations abound. The stories can be read to students or students can read them themselves. The author states that the books also aim to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are displayed in the noble lives described in the stories. The text includes maps, a comprehensive timeline of all the persons and events encountered in the history, many pictures and illustrations, and a complete bibliography. Each book also contains a detailed index. All of Nothing New Press' new editions of H. A. Guerber's histories also contain a Recommended Reading supplement keyed to the chapters of the history. These list additional books including non-fiction, biography, historical fiction, literature, and poetry, (and even music in some cases) which enrich and elaborate on the topics introduced or discussed in the series. These resources are typically available at the local library or can be found elsewhere.

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