Heritage History FAQs

These FAQs answer questions about the Heritage History website and library. It will be updated to answer questions about the History Quest Quiz Game soon.

Can I copy the books on Heritage History for my personal use?

Yes. Almost every book on the website is available in both EPUB (e-Reader) and PDF (printable) format. We encourage people to download and use these resources. The Study Resources associated with the Heritage Classical Curriculum are original productions but they are freely available for personal or educational use.

Why are the book links of three different colors?

All of the books we have on our website are rated as one of three reading levels Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Most of the Introductory histories in the Heritage History library are written at a "chapter-book" level, so they assume a reading competency at the third or fourth grade level. They are appropriate for read-aloud for younger grammar school students and can also be read independently by novice readers. Most are short in length but are engaging enough to hold the interest of older students. We recommend our Intermediate histories for middle school students and older. Most assume no prior knowledge of their subjects, but are longer and more detailed than the introductory selections. Our Advanced selections are accessible to college-prep high schoolers or moderately sophisticated adults. Even our most advanced histories, however, require no expertise and are accessible to anyone with an interest in the subject.

Who are the proprietors of Heritage History?

Heritage History was started by a homeschooling family with some experience in computers, and a large home library of classical children's histories. It began as a hobby and has grown into a substantial source of historical information for independent learners. We reside in a small town in the Northwest and recently completed our 23th year of homeschooling. We have promoted Heritage History at several homeschool conventions in the past but have discontinued traveling and most advertising in order to have more time to focus on new projects and development. We can be reached at at infodesk @ heritage-history.com.

Does Heritage History have a blog? Twitter account? Facebook, etc?

Heritage History did have a blog about five years ago on which we posted book reviews and articles of special interest. We also had Twitter and Facebook accounts. Since we are not very active on social media, we attempted to contract out our marketing obligations but eventually decided that we needed to either take over social media ourselves and give it the attention it deserves or just shut things down altogether. So we shut things down. But who knows? Maybe someday we'll give it another try. Stranger things have happened.

Are the histories on Heritage History written from a Christian perspective?

All of the books on the Heritage History website were written during an era when modern anti-Christian and anti-western distortions were not evident in most children's books. So the biases that most Christian parents seek to avoid were not much of a problem. The majority of our books, however, don't deal explicitly with Biblical or religious topics.

When it comes to Reformation-era history, most traditional histories written in English have a Protestant viewpoint and are somewhat 'Whiggish' in perspective. We are happy to publish histories written from a Catholic perspective as well but there are few available in the public domain.

Traditional histories are not perfect. Some that cover the 19th century are written from a progressive viewpoint that glorifies 'republican' government, economic growth, and ever-increasing liberty, while ignoring the darker aspects of modernism. But even our most 'progressive' books are patriotic, age-appropriate, and respectful of Christian traditions.

How do you select books for the Heritage History Library?

We have built our library of student histories over twenty years, mostly from browsing used book stores in person or online. We use children's librarian references (c. 1920) as guides, and have a good knowledge of early 20th century authors and publishers.

Beyond that, our selection criteria are: a book must be published before 1923; it must be written for young people or the general public and must be organized as a narrative history rather than a textbook; it must be on an interesting subject matter and it must be in an area that we do not already have an abundance of books.

We do not necessarily agree with the author's interpretation of every event in all of the histories we publish. As long as a book is well-written, informative, and likely to engage introductory readers, we do not obsess over minor disagreements or biases. It is simply impossible to present all sides of every controversy and expose the hidden forces that propel political events in an introductory history. We intentionally publish histories from more than one viewpoint and encourage students to read from more than one source.

Do you have any histories of the twentieth century?

Many of our national histories cover the first few decades of the 20th century, but end around World War I (known as the Great War). Our Modern Europe collection does include almost a dozen books dealing with the Great War as well as a few excellent books covering the early years of Soviet Russia. In general, however, our library does not focus much on modern times, simply because we rely mostly on Public domain books that were written before 1923.

Another reason that modern history is not a good fit is that traditional histories are based mostly on national identity, while 20th century history emphasize ideologies, social movements, and worldwide conflicts that are international in nature. Global institutions and cataclysmic wars tend to be destructive of cultural traditions and national sovereignty, and are outside the scope of 'old-fashioned' classical history.

Don't traditional histories tend to be jingoistic and racist?

It is true that traditional histories tend to be patriotic and emphasize the positive achievements of Western civilization, rather than the worst abuses. In most cases this optimistic bias is not harmful and it is always necessary to simplify when introducing young people to history. Once students are old enough to study more recent times, however, especially the wars and colonial exploitation of the 18th and 19th centuries, the 'progressive' bias of traditional histories becomes more of an issue.

'Whig History' (a perjorative term for 'progressive' history) is currently out of favor by academic historians for its overly-optimistic view of liberal government, and there is a reason this. Many of the wars and colonial ventures of recent centuries were exploitive and harmful. Unfortunately, modern historians acknowledge problems but utterly fail to identify the real culprits. Instead of investigating the banking cartels that funded wars and exposing secret societies, crony capitalism, trading monopolies, and political corruption, modern histories harp on 'racism', 'sexism', 'capitalism' and 'militarism'. These ideologies are diversions that have no bearing on the real problems.

In short, some criticisms of traditional histories are well-founded, but modern histories are even worse.