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My rant about Horrible Histories

Let’s get this straight. I DO NOT like Horrible Histories books, although the TV show is awesome!

You must be thinking, “What, Ben, who likes history so much, doesn’t like the best history book series of all time?”

First of all, the books don’t tell you all the IMPORTANT facts about kings and queens. Richard II‘s meeting with the peasants to stop the revolt at 14 years old isn’t mentioned at all in Measly Middle Ages and mentioned only briefly in Cruel Kings and Mean Queens. Edward VII travelling Europe to prevent a war isn’t mentioned, nor is what George III did before he went insane. Instead, the books go on about how fat Edward VII was, how rotten Richard II was and that George III was a maniac.


The way you teach history is to give all the good and bad points of rulers. One of my history books says, “For eight years the king (Richard II) ruled peacefully. But when the queen died in 1394 Richard II turned into a tyrant”. This is how history is supposed to be taught, not suggesting that he was a poor weak thing (Like what Horrible Histories said) without any proof.

Also, saying stuff like nobody complained too much when Richard II got overthrown is WRONG! There were revolts against Henry IV in 1400 when Richard’s supporters wanted him back on the throne.

One of the books, Cruel Kings and Mean Queens, was extremely rubbish. In my research for this post, Wikipedia said that The National Trust did not like CK&MQ because it makes fun of Prince Charles. Yes, PRINCE CHARLES! THE FUTURE KING! THE QUEEN’S SON! How could Horrible Histories make fun of a future ruler? It also made fun of THE QUEEN and THE QUEEN’S FATHER! In fact, the stupid book made every ruler look stupid!

On the other hand, the Horrible Histories TV show is one of the best historical sources on TV. It’s funny, informative and has awesome songs. I learned a lot from this show!

Or, if you want to read not-so-boring history, try the Kingfisher or Usborne history books or subscribe to BBC History magazine. Also, try Simon Schama’s History of Britain. It was the show that got me into history.

Here are some of my favourite Horrible History clips:


About Ben Williams

I am a 17 year old pop culture addict from the south of England. I write about Doctor Who, superheroes, fantasy, films and occasionally dive into the random world of British culture.

11 responses »

  1. These videos are so entertaining. I wish there were good TV shows like these when I was younger. We used to hate history because it was so ‘boring’.

  2. Graham Williams

    I agree with you about the songs – they are all good and the best of them are brilliant – perfect pastiches of popular styles with lyrics that encourage learning. I am not so sure that I am with you on the books – surely they are meant to be light and entertaining. If you go back to my youth (a long, long time ago) there was a book called “1066 And All That” which contained barely any historical detail and some outrageous interpretations of famous historical events. This was not meant to be taken seriously and today is hailed as a comic masterpiece (try it and you will see why). I think that the Horrible History books are intended to take the same position – but I would be seriously concerned if I discovered that they were being used as text books in schools.

  3. Historical novels by respected authors are a good source of information. They tell a story, give context and tell us our history.

  4. Graham Williams

    The kings and queens of England song is the best of the lot, closely followed by Dick Turpin.


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