Tuesday, June 9

Audiobooks for World History

Audio books are an excellent way to make historical fiction accessible.  I hear parents talk about lacking confidence in their read-aloud ability, and that's ok!  We all have different talents.  Me...I do the voices.  All of them!  And my kids love being read to...even as teens (though they'd surely deny it if their friends ask).

When we're travelling in the car, one of the boys is reading something he finds difficult, or we just want to break up the monotony, we turn to these historical audio books.  The characters bring the stories to life...and these stories are our boys' favorites (so they're pretty light on the romance).

The list below are our top ten favorite world history audio books - with the stamp of approval from a house full of boys! - but it is not exhaustive. Use these as a jumping off point for finding your family's next listen...

Updated: Trouble in Paradise

When we got a new car, we had instant issues with our audiobooks!  The problem?  No cd player.  It's a bit discriminatory of companies to just assume that everyone has a smartphone and streaming capabilities...   Nevertheless, we wanted to continue listening to the books we owned while driving, so we searched and searched and finally found this integrated vehicle cd player.  It can be mounted vertically or horizontally in your car.

You have to get one that will work with your specific car, so be sure to check the chart online, but this one - in spite of the additional cost - worked well with our car and allowed us to still use the books we had, without having to repurchase them in a different format or subscribe to a cell service for same reason.  If you're in the minority, like we are, I highly recommending checking it out, as it looks like cars aren't going to be going back to CD players, and our manufacturer insisted that they couldn't install one aftermarket....

In Freedom's Cause
Setting: AD 1300's  Liberty or death - this was the choice the people of 14th century Scotland faced if they rose up against their English ruler. Most would say it was no choice at all. Many of the Scottish nobles were English supporters. Few could be expected to rise up against the numerically overwhelming English army. The hero of the story, Archibald Forbes, joins the struggle for Scottish freedom led by the valiant Sir William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The extraordinary valor and personal prowess of these men rival the deeds of the mythical heroes of chivalry. Henty weaves a wonderful story around the actual events of 1314 at Bannockburn.
Snow Treasure
In the bleak winter of 1940, Nazi troops parachuted into Peter Lundstrom's tiny Norwegian village and held it captive. Nobody thought the Nazis could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children could fool the enemy. It was a dangerous plan. They had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds. It meant risking their country's treasure—and their lives. This classic story of how a group of children outwitted the Nazis and sent the treasure to America has captivated generations of readers.

I Pledge Allegiance
Morris, Rudi, Ivan, and Beck are best friends for life. So when one of the teens is drafted into the Vietnam War, the others sign up, too. Although they each serve in a different branch, they are fighting the war together - and they pledge to do all they can to come home together.  Haunted by dreams of violence and death, Morris makes it his personal mission to watch over his friends - and the best place to do that is in the US Navy. Stationed off the coast of Vietnam on the USS Boston, Morris and his fellow sailors provide crucial support to the troops on the ground.  But the Boston itself isn't safe from attack. And as Morris finds his courage and resolve tested like never before, he keeps coming back to a single thought.  He made a pledge. He must keep them safe.
St. Bartholomew's Eve
On August 24, 1572, more than 2000 French Huguenots -- men, women, and children -- were massacred for their faith. In St. Bartholomew's Eve, Henty vividly depicts Admiral Coligny's unflinching bravery, Queen Elizabeth's vacillating foreign policy, Catherine de Medici's vindictive scheming, and the Queen of Navarre's inner strength as he recounts the adventures of Phillip Fletcher, son of an Englishman and a Frenchwoman, who journeys to France to take part in the Huguenots' struggle for freedom. He and his band of soldiers see much combat, and Phillip's skill as a swordsman and marksman is required innumerable times before he returns as a hero to England.
Wulf the Saxon
The year is 1065. Edward the Confessor is King of England. Wulf, a teenaged Saxon, is learning to be a respected landowner. But when Wulf and his friend, Earl Harold Hadrada, find themselves shipwrecked on the shores of Normandy, a desperate struggle for the throne of England begins. In a series of events that change the course of history, Wulf finds himself in a bitter war with the Welsh and on a battlefield outside the village of Hastings. Brothers will become enemies. A boy will become a man. A nation will be born.

Beric the Briton
This tale of the Roman invasion of ancient Britannia remains one of G.A. Henty’s most popular novels of all time. Join Beric and his best friend Bodouc as they live the adventure of a lifetime – captured by the Romans, trained as gladiators, and placed in the service of Emperor Nero himself! When the story of a mysterious “Christus” begins to circulate the Roman Empire, Beric and Bodouc are forced to confront their pagan past. Will the two young prisoners be able to overcome their thirst for revenge and discover the source of true forgiveness?
In the Reign of Terror
When 16-year-old Harry visits France, his journey plummets him into one of history’s darkest times—the French Revolution. Chaos challenges Harry’s faith as he struggles not only to survive, but to rescue the family who lovingly took him in as their own and who now face the guillotine for no other “crime” than their noble lineage.
Cat of Bubastes
Amuba, a prince of the Rebu nation on the shores of the Caspian Sea, with his charioteer Jethro, is carried into slavery after losing a battle with the Egyptians. They become servants of the house of Ameres, an Egyptian high priest, and are qutie happy there, until the priest's son accidentally kills the sacred cat of Bubastes. The locals rise up in rage and kill Ameres, and Jethro and Amuba must escape with the high priest's son and daughter. After crossing the desert to the Red Sea, they eventually make their way back to freedom.
Greek Myths
For thousands of years, these tales have thrilled audiences. In this audiobook, master storyteller Jim Weiss makes mighty Hercules, greedy King Midas, beautiful Arachne, brave Perseus, and dangerous Medusa understandable to children, while emphasizing character over violence.

Includes the following stories:

  • King Midas and the Golden Touch
  • Adventures of Hercules
  • Perseus and Medusa
  • Arachne
For the Temple
The troubles in the district of Tiberias, the march of the legions, the sieges of Jotapata, of Gamala, and of Jerusalem all come to life. In this impressive and carefully studied historic setting, you will follow a lad, John of Gamala, who passes from the vineyard to the service of Josephus, becomes the leader of a guerrilla band of patriots, fights bravely for the Temple, and after a brief term of slavery at Alexandria, returns to his Galilean home with the favor of Titus. The fall of Jerusalem is brought to life in this classic.

A full, four-year history curriculum, The Story of the World comes in audio book format, which is perfect for the family on the go!  The narrator brings to life history and stories from the Earth's creation all the way through modern day.  The stories are in bite-sized chunks and are perfect for elementary and middle school students, as well as older folks who like a good story!
Story of the World comes in four volumes, ordered chronologically.

Access all of our FREE Novel Studies for both modern and vintage literature here.

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