George Alfred Henty, better known as G. A. Henty, was born on December 8th, 1832, and died on November 16th, 1902, just shy of his seventieth birthday.
Henty attended Cambridge University and in addition to his intense course of study, participated in a wide range of competitive sports, including wrestling, rowing and boxing. These physical disciplines were very useful in preparing him for serving in the British army during the Crimean war. The letters Henty wrote home from the war were filled with accounts of all he witnessed and were published in the "Morning Advertiser", thus beginning his writing career.
After Henty returned from the war he married Elizabeth Finucane, who bore him four children. Elizabeth died of tuberculosis, as did two of their children many years later. Unable to support his family on a captain's wages, Henty became a war correspondent for "The Standard".
Henty's storytelling career began with his practice of delighting his children with tales of fictitious, courageous lads who met, and sometimes helped, great people in history - people like Josephus, Titus, Hannibal, Robert the Bruce, Sir William Wallace, Robert E. Lee, Coligny, Cortez, Napoleon, and many more. His oral narratives sometimes lasted for weeks!
When a friend of Henty's was present during story time and witnessed the rapt attention of Henty's children, he suggested that Henty write his stories down so others could enjoy them as well. Taking his friend's advice, a secretary was hired and Henty's stories were put to paper. It's said that Henty would quickly pace back and forth in the room, dictating as fast as the secretary could write. Henty became known as "The Prince of Story-Tellers" and "The Boy's Own Historian".
Henty's accounts of battles and other historical events have been noted by historians for their accuracy. His fascinating and exciting style of writing make his stories a terrific addition to any library.
Two of my favorite Henty Titles are:
Winning His Spurs - A Tale of the Crusades
In Freedom's Cause - A Story of Wallace and Bruce.