Problems with some of G.A. Henty's Novels

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Puritan Board Junior
Hello. I love history so when I heard about the novels of G.A. Henty and how many Christians were promoting them I eagerly bought them happy to find some works of fiction that were clean and well written. I Read Beric the Briton, the Dragon and the Raven, and many others. But, recently, I am noticing several problems with them.. I was reading the Dash for Khartoum was appalled that several times the "n" word was used. I was even more appalled when the hero of the book, after he was captured by a Muslim, told his captors that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
Since then I have found several other disturbing things. In by Pyke and Dyke the hero puts on women's clothes so he can disguise himself and carry out his mission. In Under Drake's Flag the narrator states that "nowadays all people believe that there is some good in all creeds."

I have looked this up on the internet and the author below notes a number of problems with Henty. Others have accused Henty of racism and the more I read Henty the more I agree. While some of Henty's books are good clearly there are some that cannot be recommended because of the racism and ecumenism.

Covenant Joel

Puritan Board Sophomore
I read many of them when I was growing up and loved them.

It sounds to me as if you may need to ask two questions:
1) Are you being overly sensitive? Your comments on By Pyke and Dyke in particular made me think this. The simple fact that a character in a story did this does not seem to me to be a reason for avoiding a book, even if you do disagree with it.
2) Part of training our children is training them to read critically. While the use of the "n" word in particular could be concerning, as obviously you would want to avoid its repetition by your children, all of the things mentioned seem like they'd give opportunities for great discussions with your kids (granted, I don't know their ages or stages).

As a case in point, I read them and ended up neither a racist nor an ecumenicist, as I was trained to think through things while reading.


Puritan Board Graduate
Henty was a fairly typical Victorian in both of those respects. You'll find the same things in Rudyard Kipling, and the ecumenism is fairly prominent in Dickens.

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I don't think the n word was as perjorative in Henty's day as it is now. I stand ready to be corrected.


Ordinary Guy (TM)

I see that you are in Saint Louis, as I am also. If you'd like to sell any Henty books, let me know. I'd love to buy them.


Puritan Board Freshman

Have you read any R.M. Ballantyne books? I liked those more than the Henty books I read -- good Scottish theology :). They are available free online as are Henty's. "Hunted and Harried" is a moving account of the Covenanters, although it is heavier than some of his other books.


Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I have read some George MacDonald. His work is a mixed bag in quality and value. He can write very beautifully, and some of his poems are deep as well as lovely; but he can also be quite a dull author and elicit a sense of deja vu.
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