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Whether you like Henty's worldview or not, one can't fault good English which is sadly lacking in today's soapy children's books, especially boys' books. His books are full of boys who grow into good, strong, honorable men. Yes, we like Mr. Henty.
What a great way to learn history! As a homeschool family, we have taken a less progressive road to education and these stories fit the ticket! Boys are boys and personal responsibility and initiative reign supreme in all of his stories.
My review focuses on first the collection, not the content. We use G.A. Henty books to bring history alive in our homeschool, but I also enjoy them for myself to fill the the (enormous) gaps my public education left me. This collection, therefore, is a wonderful addition to my kindle library as I never have to hunt down another Henty title. Reading from the PC app, I am able to quickly locate a particular title, as well as the individual chapters, key to a collection volume being useful. I received this and one other book free for agreeing to leave honest feedback, which I am happy to do after reading two books from this particular volume. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to another customer, especially of the homeschool community or history buffs. BTW, my 13 yo daughter really enjoys the writing style, while I myself find it a bit cumbersome in some stories. The vocabulary is all that keeps it from much younger readers, but with kindle's ready access to dictionaries, that can be dealt with. The only romance is that the hero usually marries in the last page or two, and perhaps the author mentions him having kissed her, or more likely, having entertained warm thoughts about her, but no details are offered. Marriage is treated as simply the expected course for a 20 some year old man.
Massive collection of novels from the very productive G.A. Henty, who was averaging 5 books a year at his late 19th-century peak. His work was mostly aimed at a young male readership, tales of military daring and skill carried out by formulaic heroes, always handsome, fit, healthy, honourable, brave, usually English but also Irish and Scottish examples among those I’ve read so far. Some of the books have large sections of historical detail at the expense of narrative development (for example, With Clive in India), while in books like With Frederick the Great, there are huge amounts of battle descriptions, interesting to some readers, not to others. Henty’s outlook is a simple-minded nationalism, his heroes live to fight and serve the king, and end up rich and married to beautiful and virtuous young Englishwomen. The books are interesting less for literary merit than as insights into the imperialist mindset of late 19th-century England and as introductions to historical topics, presented in narrative form. I’ve only read a selection so far, but, for the record, Guy Arnold’s Held Fast for England, one of the few books about Henty, mentions Jack Archer and The Young Franc-Tireurs as being among the best. Arnold also mentions Gabriel Allen, M.P. and Rujub the Juggler as enjoyable adult novels by Henty.
This volume is excellent. Huge selection of novels and novellas and a few pieces of non-fiction. The formatting and editing is perfect, as far as I’ve seen. Two slight quibbles: Firstly, the table of contents at the beginning is hard to navigate as not only every work is there, but every chapter in every work as well. In some other large volumes I’ve seen, the main TOC has the works by title, and by clicking on the title a chapter list for that work comes up. This might make it easier here. Or, type size and font could be better used to distinguish book titles from chapter titles. Secondly, the volume is still unsearchable on my Kindle two months after downloading. “Title not yet indexed”, it says. As this is the only time this has happened to me, I think it’s a problem with this volume rather than my Kindle (possibly due to the file’s massive size?). This could be important for someone who wanted to use the volume for research purposes and needed the search facility.
Overall, the publisher has provided a great service by bringing all Henty’s works together in this well-edited and well-formatted volume and at a low price. Plenty of pluck, derring-do, good cheer, jingoism, daring escapes, respect for one’s superiors, youthful highs spirits, and all of that good stuff.
The Complete G.A. Henty is an engaging book on the writings of the author which include novels, novellas, short stories and other great contact. For instance, his rendition on "The Ranch In The Valley" captures the folksy atmosphere of early American ranches and farming traditions replete with running cattle and frequent stop-over visitors. The story relates Indian forays in the neighborhood and the tales of Wild Ned - a local cowboy. This is perfect reading for 18th and 19th century enthusiasts.
Henty's rendition on "The Life of a Special Correspondent" describes the requirements for special correspondents covering events like wars and great political struggles - very much in the character of Bismarck or even Prince Metternich. The correspondents were required to be fluent in the language and culture of the host country being reported on. In addition, many were athletically gifted or simply rugged individuals who could navigate mean streets with confidence.