Customer Review

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction from a Very Different Time, December 1, 2001
This review is from: The Young Carthaginian (Paperback)
G.A. Henty was a Victorian gentleman who wrote historical fiction for young people. I learned of him in reading Arthur Schlesinger's autobiography "A Life in the Twentieth Century". Schlesinger credits Henty with awakening an interst in history that was to last a lifetime. I see why. Henty's approach is to imagine a young lad and thrust him into interesting historical periods. The young man possessed of courage, pluck, honesty and compassion finds these attributes necessary to his success in the novel. Much like the Horatio Alger novels of a somewhat later American time, Henty was also conciously teaching the manly virtues. In "The Young Cathaginian" Henty pulls off a slick trick. Our young hero Malchus is a relative of Hannibal the great Cartaginian general who dared to cross the Alps to attack Carthage's great rival, Rome. While Henty admires Hannibal and presents Malchus as virtually flawless, it is clear that Carthage was a corrupt entity and that her deserved defeat was crucial to the growth of Western civilization. This is not a dry history, merely laden with moral overlays. It is also good fun. There is a lion hunt in Africa. A wolf hunt in the Spanish mountains. Escapes through the underground reserviors of Carthage. And countless vivid battles. And a charming little romance. I am glad I stumbled across the Henty output. Sclesinger is right: Henty makes history fun!
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