History Suggestions for Excellence in Literature

What history programs can be used with Excellence in Literature?

Many books and programs work well with EIL, but I’ll list a few resources I have used or carefully examined, with comments on each. This is by no means a complete listing, and I will continue to add to it as I discover or remember helpful resources (if you have a suggestion, feel free to leave a comment below). 

History is fascinating story, and when it’s presented with literature, art, and music, it comes to life. Enjoy!

History Resource Comments
Western Civilization by Jackson J. Spielvogel          We used and loved this college text, and it goes especially well with the British and World Literature levels. Spielvogel’s chronological narrative reads like a story, and includes excerpts from source documents, maps, timelines, and art. It covers political, economic, social, religious, intellectual, cultural, and military aspects of history in a memorable way. It’s a sturdy hardcover, thus expensive, but you don’t need the newest edition and it usually resells well. Secular.
  The Landmark History of the American People from Plymouth to the Moon by Daniel J. and Ruth F. Boorstin    We found this book through Sonlight.com, and it was so well told we read the entire book aloud. Amazon seems to stock only used copies, but Sonlight still has it. Secular.My oldest son (B.A. in history) also liked A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror
 and Winston Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking Peoples which is useful for both British and American History (the title link is to the one-volume abridged version, but the four-volume original is good too).
American History: Observations & Assessments from Early Settlement to Today by Dr. James Stobaugh                This one-volume history begins before the birth of our republic and covers the principles of liberty, American history trends, philosophies, and events from a strongly Christian worldview. Easy to use; optional American History – Teacher Guide available.
British History: Observations & Assessments from Early Cultures to Today by Dr. James Stobaugh                 This one-volume text explores British history from the Anglo-Saxon invasions to the end of an empire, with attention to British history trends, philosophies, and major events, all from a strongly Christian worldview. Easy to use; optional British History – Teacher guide
available.
World History: Observations & Assessments from Creation to Today by Dr. James Stobaugh                             This world history overview is designed to help students develop a Christian worldview while glancing at world history trends, philosophies, and events. Because it is impossible to thoroughly cover this span of history in one short book, this may be best used as a supplement if you wish to add a specifically Christian perspective to Spielvogel’s Western Civilization. Easy to use; optional World History – Teacher guide available.
The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer                     Bauer has written a series of compelling texts that, in the publisher’s words, “tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country . . .” Dozens of maps provide a clear geography of great events, while timelines give the reader an ongoing sense of the passage of years and cultural interconnection. This narrative history employs the methods of “history from beneath”—literature, epic traditions, private letters and accounts—to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.” Sadly, Bauer’s history books were published after our boys graduated, so they did not get to use them. I’m going to keep them on hand for my grandchildren, though! These would be excellent to use as a history spine with the EIL curriculum. I respect Bauer’s outstanding scholarship, and enjoy her narrative style. She writes for a general audience, so the books are useable by secular and Christian (both Catholic and Protestant) audiences. Also available as an audio book; challenging, but worth it.
The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade by Susan Wise Bauer            From the publisher’s description: A masterful narrative of the Middle Ages, when religion became a weapon for kings all over the world. In her earlier work, The History of the Ancient World, Susan Wise Bauer wrote of the rise of kingship based on might. But in the years between the fourth and the twelfth centuries, rulers had to find new justification for their power, and they turned to divine truth or grace to justify political and military action. Right thus replaced might as the engine of empire.” Also available as an audio book; challenging, but worth it.
The History of the Renaissance World: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople by Susan Wise Bauer                       I haven’t yet seen this one, but Publisher’s Weekly says, “Beginning with the 12th-century rise of the Plantagenets in England and ending with the 1453 Ottoman overthrow of the Byzantine Empire, Bauer ranges far and wide, touching on everything from the gruesome murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury; the ascendancy of the first king of the Incan Empire; the terrorization of the Asian Steppe by Mongol hordes; the relocation of the papacy from Rome to Avignon; the birth of the Inquisition in Toulouse, France; the beginnings of the African slave trade; and the bubonic plague’s decimating sweep across Europe. In five sections (Renaissances; Invasions, Heresies, and Uprisings; Catastrophes; Regroupings; and Endings), Bauer covers a bewildering amount of territory . . .” Challenging, but worth it; audiobook not yet available.
 

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