Talk:G. A. Henty

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Reference book[edit]

I have found "The Boys Guide to the Historical Adventures of G.A. Henty" by William Potter, ISBN: 1-929241-15-1, to be very helpful. --Wulf 18:11, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

The author and his publisher made a rather obvious error of judgement with the colourful book covers ! All the charging horsemen are holding swords in their left hands. This isn't becaise they are all left handed, it is because the wonderful painting has been printed in reverse ! The book was not well researched. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:50, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Just because they reversed the painting does not mean that the book is not useful. I think it is helpful Jehorn (talk) 23:16, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps you're missing the point. If something as obvious as the front cover is wrong, what else is wrong within. You'd do far better to join The Henty Society and any information then would be accurate rather than the not very good 'The Boy's Guide....' from William Potter. I'm sure we can agree that thw writings of henty are very good and I have some 1500 volumes in my collection. All British I hasten to add, none of the American 'pirate' editions. I wish you well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Literarysite (talkcontribs) 23:45, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

All I am saying is don't judge a book by its cover. Anyway I don't think it is intended to be a reference book, it just gives a one page summary of each book. Jehorn (talk) 23:05, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm not judging the book by the cover ! That was the start of the problems. And again, you're missing the point. I know the book very well and the content is littered with errors whether or not it is a reference book or a one page summary book. It is innaccurate within and without. Or rubbish if you prefer. You say you find it useful, which is rather sad. Surely you can't be happy with being told one thing by a one page summary that eventually you find out to be not accurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:39, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Could you please expound on these "errors" that you propose litter Potter's guide to the Henty Series... I have listened to, and read a bit by William Potter and have found him to be accurate and well documented. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:49, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Dates and children[edit]

The following quote is an exerpt from the article: "Shortly before resigning from the army as a captain in 1859 he married Elizabeth Finucane. The couple had four children. Elizabeth died in 1865 after a long illness."

Does this article mean to say that the duration of the marriage was 6 years and during this six-year period Elizabeth Henty gave birth to four children and suffered from a lengthy and terminal illness? Bigturtle 04:20, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

That's certainly what it looks like. DebateKid 16:29, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Military Campaigns - Clarification[edit]

Several of the wars named in this article have antiquated titles; hence, their official modern titles should be substituted at a later date. For example, the Austro-Italian War is commonly termed the Austro-Prussian War. The Carlist Rebellion is more widely known as the Glorious Revolution of Spain. The Ashanti Wars is possibly a eurocentric title, and the Turco-Siberian War needs a stub. -- Flask 10:12, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Who actualy gives wars their "Official Title"?Jalipa (talk) 19:05, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

The victors? ;) In retrospect, I should have used the word "modern" or "contemporary" instead of "official." -- Flask (talk) 21:02, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

The wars so named were the names of the time. There are always misguided nit-pickers ! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


Please avoid add the Category:ISBN needed category to this article. ISBN was invented in 1966. Any works printed, and are original, before this date will not have an ISBN number. G. A. Henty certainly won't have an ISBN number! Kilo-Lima|(talk) 13:02, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Why no mention of Henty's racism?[edit]

For example, one of his books expresses the view that "the intelligence of an average negro is about equal to that of a European child of ten years old."[1] (talk) 01:20, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

I added a Controversial Views section, quoting the text you referenced, along with a reference-link to the actual book, the full text of which is available on Please help fill this in -- I'm sure we're not the only two people wondering why the only reason we'd heard of the guy wasn't even mentioned on his page... (talk) 00:02, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Allowing [redacted, BLP applies here also]] Maddow who mostly likely has never read a Henty book in her life to appear on a page that has nothing to do with her is appalling. This section as written now has nothing to do with the subject of the page, Henty, and everything to do with the drive by media attempting to assasinate the character of a person who died many years ago. (talk) 02:28, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Unwarranted reverting[edit]

If there is a factual problem with the article, please take the time to correct it rather than removing whole sections.

If you believe that a section is irrelevant, then it should at least be discussed before being removed. As noted above, Mr. Henty was recently cited in the news, and I was surprised that the most interesting (and relevant) facts about him were totally absent from the page...

Thanks. (talk) 11:52, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Not that I had anything to do with the reverting, but the section as it stands ought to be reverted. Your quote is misleading, because it represents the views of a character in a novel as Mr. Henty's. Also, while you've documented the passage, you haven't documented the CONTROVERSY. If Henty is relevant because of what Rachel Maddow says about him, please put that in the article, with proper sourcing. Innocent76 (talk) 19:40, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree, the quote is misleading by not mentioning the words as coming from a character in Henty's book, rather than Mr. Henty himself. Northern Book Lover (talk) 23:00, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments. I was hoping that someone with more knowledge of Henty and more experience with Wikipedia-editing could fill the section out -- as I said above, I was just sort of surprised that what I took as the most interesting / relevant piece of information on him was absent. I'd taken the fact that it was mentioned on a national current events program indicated that they'd gotten their research from some other source (but, not being Wikipedia, it's not so easy to track down what that source was), and hoped that someone visiting the article (most likely due to said media reference) would be able to fill in the details.
Not having read any of Mr. Henty's books, I can't say that I know the excerpt to be representative, but in reply to the argument that it is a character's opinion, I'd point out that the books are advertised as 'historical', and the chapter (which was not named by the character) was called 'The Negro Character', which would seem to imply that the author took it to be an accurate description. Further, nowhere does it seem to be indicated that the character's views are offensive and untrue...rather, the statement seems to be left as a statement of fact.
If, however, there really isn't any controversy -- if this was just one example taken out of context to smear a politician (who had plenty of other, more blatant and easily-checked examples to choose from), then by all means feel free to take it out. I doubt that I'll have the time to adequately research the topic...but I'd suggest that if the accusation of racism has indeed been made elsewhere, even if the quote was taken out of context, that this fact be incorporated into the article -- if anything, to prevent people like me from just assuming that it was intentionally left out. Thanks again. (talk) 17:36, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

After spending ten minutes trying to figure out how to, err, encyclopoedize the sentence that basically said "Many people mistakenly attribute characters' opinions to authors", I ended up just removing it. I intended to add a "NPOV" tag to it to maybe summon a neutral arbiter, but I couldn't figure out how to do if anyone more in the know wouldn't mind, could you flag the section?

I think that I have managed to clarify that it was a character in Henty's book, without unemphasizing the prejudice involved..--Novus Orator 03:29, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Looks great -- nice work. As an aside, I do find the balancing statement that other parts "drip with sympathy for blacks" humorous -- I think he seems pretty sympathetic to the poor, subhuman critters in the cited passage as well ;). Regardless, thanks! (talk) 01:22, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

I have noticed that someone keeps deleting the additions I made to the section on Henty's "Controversial Views." I would like to know why. I edited it because I feel that as an encyclopedia article, the page should not be just a forum of opinions about him, no matter who the opinions come from. If you think it necessary that the opinions of some be entered into the article, I think you would agree that it would only be fair to show that there might be another side to the controversy as well. Nothing in the section represents both sides of the controversy. I have read more then twenty books authored by Henty, including the book under question, so I believe that that qualifies me as some what of an expert on the subject. I would like whoever deleted my addition to please respond, and if anyone has any question, just post them here.

I have read most of the books authored by Henty, but that does not give me the right to form a synthesis without sources. Your quotation of his work was to large (see WP:Quote) and it gave an opinion that was not confirmed with references. Your contributions are needed, but you cannot violate WP:OR. If you have any questions on how you can contribute according to policy please go to my talk page and ask.--Novus Orator 06:51, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Maddow's opinions are just that and have no reason to be here. This is suppose to be an encyclopedia, not a collection of political opinions. (talk) 02:30, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

We allow opinions. She's well known. Perhaps you don't like her because she's gay or doesn't share your political views, but we don't censor criticism. Dougweller (talk) 07:08, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I think the point is that we don't all consider Rachel Maddow to be an objective source. Rather, she champions one extreme side in the culture wars. I won't edit war with you over labeling her lesbian, but the criticism section needs balance, and we should indicate the left-right spectral position of those holding views we include. --Uncle Ed (talk) 13:13, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

So we could describe Maddow as someone who agrees with the "Eisenhower-era Republican party platform."? Or we could just link to her article, which we do. Dougweller (talk) 12:47, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

With Lee in Virginia[edit]

I'm not sure why the commentators cited (so far) are calling Henty (or his writings) "racist". Is it simply because he's a homeschooler? Or because Robinson (who's an anti-AGW ringleader) likes his books? In addition to quoting the negative reviews, it would help to provide the reasons they give - if any - to support their charges.

Meanwhile, here's a positive review of With Lee in Virginia (the only Henty book I ever read; being an American, I thought I'd read a book with an American historical background):

  • a young spirited teenager and heir to a southern slave plantation, bravely proves his sympathy for brutally treated slaves and becomes a staunch supporter of slaves' rights

Would it be a violation of "synth" to suggest that racists typically do not staunchly support slaves' rights or defend them from brutality?

And whose idea is this?

  • echoes other conservative thinkers in Victorian Britain (such as Thomas Carlyle) by taking the side of the "aristocratic" Confederacy

The quoted review only supports the notion that the Confederacy was aristocratic, not that Henty took the Confederacy's side. The protagonist, after risking his reputation to defend a slave against brutal treatment, does indeed join the Confederate army.

Perhaps someone (outside Wikipedia, of course) would argue that any sympathetical portrayal of white Southerners in the War between the States automatically makes an author racist. If so, let us quote those holding such a view, rather than expressing or endorsing it ourselves.

We are not judging Henty but merely describing the positions of those who like or dislike him and/or his works. --Uncle Ed (talk) 11:48, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

  • The reason numerous commentators regard G.A. Henty (who did not advocate "homeschooling", AFAIK) as a racist is because Henty's work repeatedly makes hostile comments about ethnic groups he dislikes, which include Black Africans and African-Americans. By Sheer Pluck states without white rule, Black Africans "retrograde into a state little above their native savagery". Henty's Preface to A Roving Commision" describes both Haitians and Black Africans as "savages" and calls for

"a strong white power" to invade the island. The first chapter of "With Lee in Virginia" states " the negroes on a well-ordered estate, under kind masters, were probably a happier class of people than the laborers upon any estate in Europe." Henty's work sends out the message that black people belong in subordinate relationships to white people- Henty seems to believe the that being under the control of slaveowners and colonial overseers are the ideal relationships between white people and black. If Henty's work is not racist, why does he have such a rosy view of the old slave system in America, and British rule in Africa, and advocate the invasion of a Caribbean country ruled by a black government? In addition, the Charles E. Shain quote discussing With Lee in Virgina notes Henty's work was part of an "English devotion to the cause of a Southern aristocracy"; the article ("The English Novelists and the American Civil War" ,it's available on JSTOR ) points out Henty's work fits into a tradition of British right-wing thinkers (including Carlyle and Charles Kingsley ) supporting the Confederacy due to their racist, anti-egalitarian beliefs.. (talk) 21:55, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

I think that there are current critics who don't want to see homeschoolers exposed to racist thoughts held 120 years ago by nearly every white person. I have read Henty and don't think he differs much from most writers of the time. Remember that it wasn't too many years ago that people wanted to ban Huckleberry Finn from school libraries because it was "racist." Yet author Mark Twain was probably one of the least racist person of his time. Student7 (talk) 00:38, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

It should be pointed out the during the American Civil War support for the Confederacy in Britain was a minority position (albeit a position with some powerful supporters). As this article points out "The American Civil War, ostensibly to free the South from slavery, was bitterly contested in England, too. The ruling elite mainly backed the South while the masses supported the North, not least because the famine in cotton supplies to the mills of Lancashire and northern England led to huge unemployment." [2] "Venture into violence", Geoffrey Goodman, Tribune, January 27, 2011.

So the argument "every white person of the time shared Henty's opinions" doesn't hold up with regards to With Lee In Virginia. (talk) 10:47, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Well, he wrote a lot of books, which vary in their intensity towards "persons of color." Some are worse than others.
I have read a lot of his books since posting this. I think that 1) children are going to be influenced by people around them. A bunch of books won't turn a child whose parents are broad-minded, into a narrow-minded kid. 2) The books, alone, can be pretty awful sometimes!
As far as the English goes, they may well support one side or the other, but even Northerners (even Lincoln) were quite racist by modern standards. To say that the average Englishman would have agreed with the modern idea of equal opportunity is going a bit far IMO. Student7 (talk) 20:57, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

Notability issues[edit]

Henty was a prolific writer in his time, but has now become rather obscure, so I suggest that we can hardly treat everything he wrote as inherently notable. Is there any of his novels which has a greater claim to notability than most, or should they all be reduced to redirect? PatGallacher (talk) 07:58, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

John Cargill Thompson book[edit]

Having just created a stub for playwright and Henty collector John Cargill Thompson I was surprised to find no mention here, to link, of his The boys' Dumas, G. A. Henty: aspects of Victorian publishing (Carcanet, 1975, ISBN 9780856351440). I couldn't see quite where to shoehorn it into the article, so will just leave this note here. I see it gets a mention on the Henty Soc webpage. PamD 18:23, 20 January 2014 (UTC)