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This article contains wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. Please remove or replace such wording and instead of making proclamations about a subject’s importance, use facts and attribution to demonstrate that importance. This article may lend undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies. Please help to create a more neutral presentation, with details put in their proper context. Horrible Histories is a series of illustrated history books published in the United Kingdom by Scholastic, and part of the Horrible Histories franchise. The first titles in the series, The Terrible Tudors and The Awesome Egyptians, were published in June 1993.
As of 2011 with more than 60 titles in the series, the books have sold over 25 million copies in over 30 languages. Terry Deary studied at drama college and worked as an actor-teacher at the TIE company in Wales. He then became a theatre director and began to write plays for children. Many of his TIE plays were eventually rewritten and adapted into the Horrible Histories book series. Deary said “I was in this small touring company, taking plays for children round Welsh village halls. After a particularly successful tour of a play called The Custard Kid, about a “cowardly cowboy”, Deary decided he wanted to immortalise the production, so turned it into a book and sent it out to publishers. The 24th publisher agreed to publish the book by Deary, who was by now around 30 years old.
The fifth book in the series, Blitzed Brits, was published in 1995, by chance coinciding with the 50th anniversary of VE day. Deary decided that the book only gave the British viewpoint during World War II and in the interests of balance wrote Woeful Second World War which focused on the wartime experiences in France, Poland, Germany and Russia . In 2003, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Horrible Histories book series, Scholastic held a competition to find Horrible Histories’ Brainiest Boffin. 500 applicants were invited to answer a series of questions, as well as submitting an original design for a birthday card. Deary eventually returned to the stage.
Mad Millennium was commissioned by director Phil Clark, who was a fellow TIE participant 25 years before. He suggested turning the books into large-scale theatre productions. Deary was happy to return to writing plays. In 2007, the original series began to be republished with a new look and new content. The new books had altered information on the back cover, an index and a brighter, redesigned front cover. Around the same time the Horrible Histories live action TV series aired, many of the books were republished as TV tie-ins. In 2013, many of the books were republished in a “20 horrible years” theme.
By the early 2010s, Deary decided that the series had naturally come to an end. He said, “It has had a good run, it’s had a better run than most children’s series”, and added that while his publishers have not officially stopped the series, there was “a general feeling” it would finish. Everything I learnt after 11 was a waste of timeit was boring, badly taught and not related to the real worldschools are nothing but a Victorian idea to get people off the street. Deary commented in interview, “If I had it my way, I wouldn’t have schools at all. They don’t educate, they just keep kids off the streets. I hope my books do just that.
Horrible Histories are designed to engage and enthuse the reader about a subject while appearing subversive, primarily aiming to entertain with a background educative purpose. Many of Deary’s books make very serious points, underneath all the jokes and gore. He often comments on whether the modern era is as vile as previous eras, and questions the reader’s morals and patriotism. Deary explains, “I’d basically concluded was one of the worst things to happen to the planet. So I deployed the facts that illustrate that”.
The Guardian explains, “The last chapter of Ruthless Romans portrays modern-day Zimbabwe and essentially asks, is this any different? Deary is very distrustful of the establishment. He said “I was beaten, bullied and abused at school in the name of passing exams. It taught me nothing and I had to break out.