Happy bloody birthday to Horrible Histories

A quarter of a century after the first of the gloriously gruesome children’s books was published, Sean Lang pays tribute to a subversive series that has inspired a whole new generation of history teachers

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Twenty-five years ago, Terry Deary put pen to paper to produce Terrible Tudors and Awesome Egyptians, the first of his famous Horrible Histories series. Instead of dreary dates and battles, he offered gore, sickness, disease and silly jokes, as well as cartoons by illustrator Martin Brown (a 17th-century preacher enforces the new Prayer Book at the point of two pistols and then wonders how on earth he’s going to turn the pages). The books started with tips on how to make your history teacher’s life just that little bit harder, not by putting drawing pins on his chair but, as Angry Aztecs puts ...

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