Horrible Histories

Horrible Histories

Infobox Book
name = Horrible Histories
translator =

image_caption = The front cover of "France".
author = Terry Deary
illustrator = Martin Brown; Philip Reeve; Peter Hepplewhite
cover_artist = Martin Brown; Philip Reeve; Peter Hepplewhite
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
subject = Civilizations, Nations, Periods and various Cities throghout history
genre = Children's; history
publisher = Scholastic
release_date = 1993
english_release_date =
media_type =
pages =
isbn =
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Horrible Histories" is a series of illustrated books published in the United Kingdom and now from 2007 officially in India by Scholastic. They are designed to get children interested in history by concentrating on the trivial, unusual, gory, or unpleasant. The series has proved exceptionally successful in commercial terms. The books are written by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown and Philip Reeve.

The first books in the series, "The Terrible Tudors" and "The Awesome Egyptians", were published in June 1993.

In May 2007, 8 of the original series of books were relaunched with new covers and extra content. The remainder are in the process of being republished in the new format, with a completion date of January 2009. [http://www.terry-deary.net/adventure/diary.htm "Deary Diary"] , House of Adventure, URL retrieved 7 April 2008] See Book Makeover.

Titles in progress


*"Egent Edwardians and the Mad McManus' Both Releasing - 2 June
*"Angry Aztecs (new style) - 2 June"
*"Incredible Incas (new style) - 2 June"
*"Wales Special - 2 June"
*"Rotten Romans Board Game - July"
*"Gory Stories - Tower of Terror (Tudors) - 7 July"
*"Gory Stories - Tomb of Treasure (Egyptians) - 7 July"
*"Gory Stories - Wall of Woe (Romans) - 7 July"
*"Gory Stories - Shadow of the Gallows (Victorians) - 7 July"
*"Annual 2009 - 4 August"
*"Terrible Tudors 15th Anniversary Gift Edition - 9 August"
*"Trenches Handbook - September"
*"Rotten Romans Shuffle Puzzle Book - 3 September"
*"Horrible Christmas flexibound edition - October"
*"Awful Egyptians New Cover- November
*"Awful Egyptians Pop-Up - October"
*"Gory Stories Middle Ages - Unknown date
*"Calendar 2009 - unknown date"

2009 plans

*" Even More Terrible Tudors New Cover
*" Ruthless Romans New Cover
*"Gory Stories - Vikings - February"
*"Blitz Handbook - March"
*"Computer Game - March"
*"Mini Keyring Book - April"
*"Gory Stories - Blitz - May"
*"Press-Out-And-Build Book - June"
*"Annual 2010 - August"
*"Gory Stories - Greeks - September"
*"TV Series Tie-ins - September"
*"Top Trumps game - September"
*"Spies Handbook - September"
*"The Wicked History of Britain - 7 September"
*"Horrible Christmas republishing - October"
*"Who's Horrible in History - October"
*"Egyptians Shuffle Puzzle Book"

2010+ plans

Details on Terry Deary's website are vague; however the following can be deduced from his diary:
*"4 TV Tie-ins - February 2010"
*"2 handbooks - titles unknown - March & July 2010"
*"Keyring Book 2 - April 2010"
*"Huge Book 2 - June 2010"
*"Annual 2011 - August 2010"
*"Horrible Christmas republishing - September 2010"
*"Who's Horrible in History - flexi edition - September 2010"
*"4 TV Tie-ins - October 2010"
*"Gory Stories - World War I - date unknown"
*"Loathsome London City Play - date unknown"
*"The Frightful First World War Play - date unknown"
*"The Blitz Play - date unknown"

Titles in the series

*"The 20th Century" - (20th century)
*"The Angry Aztecs" - (Aztecs)
*"The Awesome Ancient Quiz Book" - (Quiz Book about Ancient Civilisations)
*"The Awesome Egyptians" (1993) - (Ancient Egypt)
*"Awesome Annual 2007" - (A trip through history displaying all of the most ruthless rulers of all time)
*"The Awful Egyptians" - (Ancient Egypt)
*"The Barmy British Empire" - (British Empire)
*"The Blitzed Brits" - (The Blitz)
*"Bloody Scotland" - (History of Scotland)
*"The Cut Throat Celts" - (Celts)
*"Cruel Crime and Painful Punishment" - (Crime and Punishment)
*"Cruel Kings and Mean Queens" - (The Kings and Queens of England, Britain, and the United Kingdom)
*"Dark Knights and Dingy Castles" - (The history of Knights Castles)
*"Dreadful Diary" - (An 'on this day' style diary.)
*"Dublin" - (Dublin)
*"Edinburgh" - (Edinburgh)
*"Egent Edwardians" (The Edwardian Era)
*"England" - (England)
*"Even More Horrible History (by Tim Wood)
*"Even More Terrible Tudors" - (Tudor dynasty)
*"France" - (France)
*"The Frightful First World War" - (World War I)
*"The Gorgeous Georgians" - (Georgian era)
*"The Groovy Greeks" - (Ancient Greece)
*"Horrible Christmas" (2000) - (Christmas)
*"The Horrible History of the World" - (World History)
*"Horrible Histories Handbooks - Knights" - (Knights)
*"Horrible Histories Handbooks - Pirates" - (Pirates)
*"The Horribly Huge Quiz Book" - (Questions about this Millennium)
*"The Incredible Incas" - (2000) (Tahuantinsuyu - The Inca Empire)
*"Ireland" (2000) - (Ireland)
*"Loathsome London" - (2005) (London)
*"The Mad Miscellany" - ()
*"The Mad Millennium" - (A Play-script story of 1000 years of Horrible British History)
*"The Measly Middle Ages" - (Middle Ages)
*"Oxford" - (Oxford)
*"Poisonous Postcards" - (a Card Book)
*"The Rotten Romans" - (Ancient Rome)
*"The Ruthless Romans" - (Ancient Rome)
*"Rotten Rulers" - (Rulers through the years)
*"Rowdy Revolutions" - (Revolutions throughout the world)
*"The Savage Stone Age" - (Stone age)
*"The Slimy Stuarts" - (House of Stuart)
*"The Smashing Saxons" (2000) - (Saxons)
*"Stratford Upon Avon" - (Stratford-upon-Avon)
*"The Stormin' Normans" - (Normans)
*"The Terrible Tudors" (1993) - (Tudor dynasty)
*"The USA" - (The United States of America)
*"The Vicious Vikings" - (Vikings)
*"The Vile Victorians" - (Victorian era)
*"The Villainous Victorians" - (Victorian era)
*"The Wicked History of the World" - (Earth's History)
*"Wicked Words" - (The History of Linguistics)
*"The Woeful Second World War" - (World War II)
*"York" - (York)

Book categories

Though all of the Horrible History books are part of the same series, they are split up into many sub-series. Here are some of them:

Ordinary books

These are the original books that began the famous series:
* "The Angry Aztecs"
* "The Awesome Egyptians"
* "The Awful Egyptians"
* "The Barmy British Empire"
* "The Blitzed Brits"
* "The Cut Throat Celts"
*" Egent Edwardians"
* "Even More Terrible Tudors"
* "The Frightful First World War"
* "The Gorgeous Georgians"
* "The Groovy Greeks"
* "The Incredible Incas"
* "The Measly Middle Ages"
* "The Rotten Romans"
* "The Ruthless Romans"
* "The Savage Stone Age"
* "The Slimy Stuarts"
* "The Smashing Saxons"
* "The Stormin' Normans"
* "The Terrible Tudors"
* "The Vicious Vikings"
* "The Vile Victorians"
* "The Villainous Victorians"
* "The Woeful Second World War"

Horrible Histories Two in One

There are also the 'Two Horrible Books in One' versions

*"The Frightful First World War and The Woeful Second World War"
*"The Groovy Greeks and the Rotten Romans"
*"Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians"
*"Smashing Saxons and Stormin' Normans"
*"The Terrible Tudors and The Slimy Stuarts"
*"Vicious Vikings and Measly Middle Ages"
*"The Barmy British Empire and The Blitzed Brits"
*"Angry Aztecs and Incredible Incas"
*"Egent Edwardians and the Jolly Jacks"
*"Horribly Huge Book of Awful Egyptians and Ruthless Romans"

Novelty books

According to the Scholastics [http://www.scholastic.co.uk/zone/book_horr-histories-novelty.htm] website,
* "The Horrible (Wicked) History of the World"
* "Awesome Annual 2007"
* "Annual 2008"
* "The Mad Miscellany"
* "Cruel Crime & Painful Punishment"
* "Action Packs: Awful Egyptians"are considered "Novelty Books", and are not classified with the ordinary books.


There are a few books in the Horrible Histories series that have a special sign on the front cover stating that they are part of the "Special" sub-series of Horrible Histories. They are:

* "Bloody Scotland"
* "Cruel Kings and Mean Queens"
* "Dark Knights and Dingy Castles"
* "England"
* "Fat and Fasting Future"
* "France"
* "Ireland"
* "Rotten Rulers"
* "Rowdy Revolutions"
* "The Twentieth (20th) Century"
* "The USA"
* "Wales"
* "Wicked Words"

Horrible Histories Cities

Some Horrible Histories books have been based around a particular city, rather than a nation or a specific time period. They also have a map when the front cover is folded out, and explain some structures in the city when the back cover is folded out. Therefore, many people consider them to be a sub-series as well. (Even though Loathsome London doesn't have these qualities, it is still based on a city.)They consist of:
* "Oxford"
* "Stratford-upon-Avon"
* "Dublin"
* "York"
* "Edinburgh"
* "Loathsome London"


The Horrible Histories Handbooks also differ from the original books. They have colour and are shaped differently. They consist of:
* "Warriors"
* "Knights"
* "Pirates"
* "Witches"
* "Villains"
* "Trenches"
* "The Horrible History of the World"

Quiz books

Sometimes, as well as the ordinary books, there is a quiz book that comes with it, testing your knowledge of that particular subject. They are:
* "The Awesome Ancient Quiz Book"
* "The Horribly Huge (Massive Millennium) Quiz Book"


These are the books that don't fit into the other categories. They are:
* "Dreadful Diary"
* "The Mad Millennium"
* "Poisonous Postcards"

ticker & Activity Books

See Sticker and Activity Books

Horrible Histories fiction

See Horrible Histories Fiction

Christmas books

*"Horrible Christmas"
*"The Big Fat Father Christmas Book"

Book Makeover

On 7 May 2007, eight of the original series of Horrible Histories books were republished with a new look and new content. According to the "Horrible Herald" [http://www.horrible-histories.co.uk/pdf/horrible_herald.pdf] (a fictitious newspaper made by Terry Deary), the new books have more information on the back cover, an index and lots more quiz questions. The initial eight were:
*Awesome Egyptians
*Groovy Greeks
*Measly Middle Ages
*Rotten Romans
*Terrible Tudors
*Vicious Vikings
*Vile Victorians
*Woeful Second World War
*Egent Edwardians
*Mad McManus

Ten more titles have since been republished:
*Frightful First World War
*Blitzed Brits
*Stormin' Normans
*Smashing Saxons
*Gorgeous Georgians
*Slimy Stuarts
*Savage Stone Age
*Cut Throat Celts
*Villainous Victorians
*Barmy British Empire

June 2008 will see Angry Aztecs and Incredible Incas hit the shelves in the new format. However, when the remaining three books in the series (Awful Egyptians, Ruthless Romans and Even More Terrible Tudors - the latter will probably have a change of title) will be published is unclear. According to Terry Deary's website [http://www.terry-deary.net/adventure/diary.htm "Deary Diary"] , House of Adventure, URL retrieved 7 April 2008] , August 2008 and November 08/January 09 are both possible dates.


In the Horrible Histories series, there are two books titled "The Horrible History of the World" and "The Wicked History of the World"; however, they are the same book, only with different headings. To confuse things further, compact and mini editions are planned for release at the end of 2007. The same incident occurred with "The Horribly Huge Quiz Book" and "Massive Millennium Quiz Book", and "The Mad Millennium" and "Mad Millennium Play". Also, there are two different covers for "Horrible Christmas", as well as new paperback, compact and mini editions soon to be published.


The book "Bloody Scotland" drew the ire of the tiny Scottish Separatist Group, who claimed it promoted a "UK centric, anti-Scottish viewpoint of Scottish history", using comments like "Cook the haggis until it looks like a hedgehog after the fifteenth lorry has run over it". They reported the book to the Commission for Racial Equality, who rejected their claim [http://www.terry-deary.net/shop/pages/horrhistory.html "Horrible Histories Causes Havoc"] , House of Books, URL retrieved 24 December 2006] .

The National Trust was unhappy with "Cruel Kings and Mean Queens" because it made jokes about Prince Charles's ears (the prince is the trust's patron) and Queen Elizabeth II.

According to Terry Deary's homepage "Several of the books have been banned in some places" [http://www.terry-deary.net/shop/pages/horrhistory.html "Horrible Histories Causes Havoc"] , House of Books, URL retrieved Fri Oct 26 17:51:52 CEST 2007] .


At the end of 2007, Terry Deary announced that he would be releasing an exhibition, based on one of his most successful books, Frightful First World War. Deary has partnered up with Imperial War Museum to create an educational yet fun and enjoyable viewing. It is scheduled to be opened on the 24th of May. [http://www.iwm.org.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.5270]

ticker and activity books

See Horrible Histories (other media)

Audio tapes

See Horrible Histories (other media)


In late 2003 Terry Deary released the Horrible Histories Magazine Collection and in 2005 some of the titles in the series were released as free audiobooks as part of a promotion with breakfast cereal. Originally planned to be 60, the series was continued with an additional 20. Here is a list of the 80 Issues of the Magazine in the order in which they are received:
*1. The Gory Glory of Rome - (Roman Empire)
*2. The Terrible Tudors: Horrible Henry - (Tudor King Henry VIII)
*3. The Awesome Egyptians: Mummy Mania - (Egyptian Mummies and the Ancient Egyptian First Dynasty)
*4. The Vile Victorians: Cruel Britannia - (Victorian Britannia)
*5. The Measly Middle Ages - (Middle Ages)
*6. The Slimy Stuarts: Bombs & Broomsticks - (Stuarts and Guy Fawkes)
*7. The Groovy Greeks: Hits 'n' Myths - (Greek Mythology)
*8. The Frightful First World War - (World War I)
*9. The Angry Aztecs - (Aztecs)
*10. The Bizarre Tsars - (Russian Tsars)
*11. The Vicious Vikings - (Vikings)
*12. The Terrible Tudors: Misery Mary - (Tudor Queen Mary)
*13. The Savage Stone Age - (Stone Age)
*14. Rotten Romans on the Rampage - (The end of the Roman Republic)
*15. The Awesome Egyptians: Fabulous Pharaohs - (Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs
*16. The Gorgeous Georgians: Heroes & Villains - (Georgian Policemen and Criminals)
*17. The Vile Victorians: Crime & Punishment - (Victorian Crime and Punishment)
*18. The Wicked Wild West - (Wild West)
*19. The Frightfully Fabulous French - (French)
*20. The Slimy Stuarts: Burning Boils - (Stuart Diseases)
*21. The Woeful Second World War - (World War 2)
*22. The Terrible Tudors: Bad Bess - (Tudor and Elizabethan Queen Elizabeth the First)
*23. The Extraordinary Explorers - (Explorers)
*24. The Trendy 20s & The Dirty 30s - (1920s and 1930s)
*25. America & its Scurvy Settlers - (America in 1800s and American Indians)
*26. The Incredible Incas - (Incas)
*27. The Smashing Saxons - (Saxons)
*28. Rotten Romans in Britain - (The Roman conquest of Britain and Roman Britain)
*29. The Vile Victorians: Foul Factories - (The Victorian Industrial Revolution)
*30. The Groovy Greeks: Alexander the Not-So-Great - (Greek Alexander The Great)
*31. The Slimy Stuarts: Charlie's Gets the Chop - (Stuart's Charles I)
*32. The Marauding Mongols - (Mongols and Mongolia)
*33. Rowdy Revolutions: France - (French Revolution)
*34. The Awful Ancients - (Ancient Civilizations)
*35. The Sizzling Spanish - (Spanish)
*36. The Beastly Barbarians - (Barbarians)
*37. The Stormin' Normans - (Normans)
*38. Ruthless Richard & the Useless Yorks - (The War of the Roses)
*39. The Blitzed Brits - (Britain's Blitz in the Second World War)
*40. Rowdy Revolutions: America - ( [The American Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence)
*41. The Silly Chilly Cold War - (The Cold War)
*42. The Cut-Throat Celts - (Celts)
*43. The Ingenious Italians - (Italian Renaissance)
*44. Nasty Knights & Crazy Crusaders - (Knights and Crusaders)
*45. The Gorgeous Georgians vs. Nasty Napoleon - (Napoleonic Wars. End of Georgian era, beginning of Victorian era)
*46. The Slicing Samurai - (Japanese Samurai)
*47. The 'Orrible Ottomans - (Ottoman Empire)
*48. Plundering Pirates - (Pirates)
*49. Rowdy Revolutions: Russia - (Russian Communist Revolution)
*50. The Jumbled Germans - (Germany)
*51. The Amazing Africans - (Africa)
*52. The Incredible Indians - (India)
*53. Revolting Rebellions: Europe - (European Revolutions for Republic)
*54. The Cheeky Chinese - (Chinese)
*55. America's Very Uncivil War - (US Civil War)
*56. The Terrific Pacific - (Pacific Islands)
*57. The Irate Irish - (Ireland)
*58. Revolting Rebellions: South America - (South America)
*59. Cruel Colonials - (British Colonies)
*60. The Awesome Aussies - (Australian Colonists and Aborigines)
*61. The Scary Scots: Woad Warriors - (Scots and Picts)
*62. Even More Rotten Romans - (Roman Empire and Emperors)
*63. Awful England - (Pre-Norman England)
*64. The Super South Africans -(Native South Africans, Zulus, Boers, British, First and Second Boer Wars and the Zulu War)
*65. The Shifty 50s - (The 50s).
*66. Even More Extraordinary Explorers - (Explorers and The Age of Discovery)
*67. The Amazing Americans - (Late 19th and early 20th century United States)
*68. The Terrifying Trojans - (Trojans, Minoans, Island of Crete, Mycenaean poet Homer, Greeks, Amazons, Scythians and the City of Troy)
*69. The Crazy Caribbean -(European Explorers, Colonists and Native Caribbeans)
*70. Even More Vile Victorians - (Victorian Era)
*71. The Wild Welsh - (Wales)
*72. The Shocking 60s - (The 60s)
*73. The Scary Scots: Tartan Terrors - (Pre-Act of Union Scotland)
*74. The Busy Byzantines - (The Byzantine Empire and its enemies)
*75. The Elegant Edwardians - (The Edwardian Era)
*76. Potty Portugal - (Portugal)
*77. The Awesome North American Indians - (North American Indians, Native Americans and Indian Wars)
*78. The Polar Brrrs - (The North and South Poles)
*79. Awful England Again - (English Role-models, Heroes, Celebrities and Superstars)
*80. Rotten Round-Up - (The Rotten Runners-up and the Woeful Winners to various things (Fiercest Females, Maddest Monarchs, Measliest Diseases, Funniest Fashions...) )

Each issue came with small cards depicting historic people, places, events and customs as well as a collection of timelines. The first 60 issues came with timelines each showing an era of human history, while the later 20 had timelines showing the history of themes such as fashion, art and science.

There have also been three 'special' magazines in the series.

They are:

*S1. Horrible Christmas - (Christmas)
*S2. Cruel Crimes and Painful Punishments - (Crimes and Punishments)
*S3. Cruel Kings and Mean Queens - (English Monarchs)

The collection will be relaunched in the UK in September 2009 [http://www.terry-deary.net/adventure/diary.htm "Deary Diary"] , House of Adventure, URL retrieved 7 April 2008] .


See Horrible Histories (TV Series)

Kellogs/Telegraph audiobooks

See Horrible Histories (other media)


See Horrible Histories (other media)


There have been several spin-offs written in a similar style to Horrible Histories:
*"America's Horrible Histories" (Written by Elizabeth Levy)
*"Boring Bible"
*"Coping With" (written by Peter Corey, Illustrated by Martin Brown and Mike Phillips)
*"Dead Famous" (written by "Alan MacDonald" and illustrated by "Philip Reeve")
*"Foul Football"
*"Foul Future" Written by James "Jack" McManus
*"Horrible Geography" (written by "Anita Ganeri" illustrated by "Mike Phillips")
*"Horrible Science" (written by "Nick Arnold" and illustrated by "Tony de Saulles")
*"Horribly Famous" (written and illustrated by a variety of authors and illustrators).
*"Killer Puzzles" (Written by "Kjartan Poskitt")
*"The Knowledge" (written and illustrated by a variety of authors and illustrators).
*"Murderous Maths" (written by "Kjartan Poskitt" and illustrated by a variety of artists, the most common being "Philip Reeve")
*"Smelly Old History" (Written by Mary J. Dobson)
*"The Spark Files"
*"Terry Deary's Tales" (Written by Terry Deary)
*"Top Ten" (written by various, including Terry Deary)
*"Truly Terrible Tales" (Written by Terry Deary)
*"Twisted Tales"
*"Wild Lives" - a diary about encounters with various animals such as lions and sharks in a journal-type format


External links

* [http://www.scholastic.co.uk/zone/book_horr-histories.htm The Horrible Zone at Scholastic]
* [http://www.terry-deary.com/shop/pages/horrhistory.html Horrible Histories section of Terry Deary's official site]
* [http://www.horrible-histories.co.uk/ Horrible Histories Main Page]
* [http://www.eaglemoss.co.uk/history Horrible Histories Magazine Collection]
* [http://www.horriblebooks.com/ Horrible Books and Magazines USA]

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