Ancient Lives

Yale Universtiy Press, 2022-

A new history series by Yale commenced in late 2022 with regular publications promised. These are moderate-length (c. 200 page) books by experts and some academic writers, mostly American or American-based. The series is supervised by Yale US, not Yale UK. Yale says about the series, “The Ancient Lives series unfolds the stories of thinkers, writers, kings, queens, conquerors, and politicians from all parts of the ancient world. Readers will come to know these figures in fully human dimensions, complete with foibles and flaws, and will see that the issues they faced—political conflicts, constraints based in gender or race, tensions between the private and public self—have changed very little over the course of millennia.”

Bedford Historical Studies

Jonathan Cape, 1952-?

This is a very early series of serious history titles in hardback, the first of which was a reprint of J.E. Neale’s ‘Queen Elizabeth I’. Other titles were by well-known historians C.V. Wedgwood, Garrett Mattingly, A.L. Rowse and Duff Cooper. The series seemed to be, or at least include, reissues of popular and respected works which may have passed out of print but brought back into print especially for the series. The series title is taken from the publisher’s address, 30 Bedford Square in London, near the British Museum.

Blackwell Classic Histories of Europe

Blackwell, 1999-

“This series comprises new editions of seminal histories of Europe. Written by the leading scholars of their generation, the books represent both major works of historical analysis and interpretation and clear, authoritative overviews of the major periods of European history. All the volumes have been revised for inclusion in the series and include updated material to aid further study”.

The series brings back into print in a new edition current works by experts in the period covered.

Bloomsbury Reputations Series

Bloomsbury Academic, 2000-2008

A short-lived series of concise (c. 250 pages) biographical studies by prominent academic historians of famous names in politics and history. British history is represented by titles on Disraeli, Cromwell, Chamberlain, Becket, Thatcher and Edward IV.

British History in Perspective

Palgrave Macmillan, 1988 - 2009 (?)

General Editor: Jeremy Black.

A long-running series with more than sixty titles on a wide range of English history topics and biographies of individuals. It may have been discontinued  some time after the 2000 merger of the US publisher St. Martin's Press and the UK publisher Macmillan. Perhaps the last commissioned books in the series took a few years to see print as the series seems to have ceased about 2009. A less than helpful (and ungrammatical) note on the UK site of the publisher promises that "A substantial programme of new titles and new editions are under way", but neglects to say when this might come to pass.

Classic History Series

The History Press, 2016-

A new series of reprinted titles on various topics. The first releases are for the most part biographies but with a few titles looking at events and themes (Gunpowder Plot, The Vikings and The Crusades, for example). The Edward V and Richard III titles were by Michael Hicks. The publisher describes him as “the leading expert on Richard”. The author has also written the 2019 Yale biography of Richard III - see the Richard III page in this website for the details. The History Press seems to have lost interest in the series - it no longer appears in their website catalogue. Instead, interested readers need to search to find titles in the "series".

Cambridge Medieval Textbooks

Cambridge University Press, 1988-2017

The series of twenty-nine books describes itself as "a series of specially commissioned textbooks for teachers and students designed to compliment the monograph series 'Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought" [see below]. The first book in 1988 was 'The Hundred Years War' by Christopher Allmand, author of the English Monarchs title Henry V.

Cambridge Perspectives in History

Cambridge University Press, 1997-2002

“A range of textbooks and advanced history courses, focusing on key periods and themes in British and European history”.

24 titles.

Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History

Cambridge University Press, 1977-2002

Described by CUP as a series which aims to “...illuminate the character of the period as a whole. In particular they focus attention on a dominant theme within it, the interplay of continuity and change as they are presented by the continuity of medieval ideas, political and social organization, and by the impact of new ideas, new methods and new demands on the traditional structures”.

31 titles

Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought

Cambridge University Press, 1921-

"The series brings together outstanding work by medieval scholars over a wide range of human endeavour extending from political economy to the history of ideas." So far over one hundred titles on very specific topics of European medieval history, much in the style of journal articles but of book length (around 200 pages).

European History in Perspective

Macmillan Education/Palgrave, 1996 -

Described by the publisher as “Concise, well-written accounts of core topics in European history”. The series has a mix of biographies of kings, queens and leaders but also general studies on nations during specific periods.

The Fontana History of Europe

Fontana, 1966-87

Thematic history of Europe 1320-1945 in twelve titles, one of which was by Geoffrey Parker, Yale's biographer of Philip II of Spain.

The Fontana History of France

Fontana, 1983 - ?

General Editor Professor Douglas Johnson (1925–2005).

At least five titles, covering 1483-1610, then 1789-1914 plus general surveys of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Twentieth Centuries. No further information was found.

Foundations of Modern Britain

Routledge, 1983 - 1997

Four books, covering spans of time: 1370-1529; 1529-1660; 1722-1783; 1870-1992.

A General History of Europe

Longman, 1960s - 1970s (?). Current and updated editions published by Routledge.

Editor: Professor Denys Hay.

Eleven titles for university and school students as well as general readers. Each title covers a distinct period of European history from the decline of Rome to 1945. Most of the titles are available from Routledge and in new printings.

The Governance of England Series

Stanford University Press, then Cambridge University Press, 1984/1987/2012.

Only three books, but one by W.L. Warren, the author of the English Monarchs books on Henry II and king John.

Great Lives

Weidenfeld and Nicolson (1974-75). 14 volumes.

General Editor Elizabeth Longford (Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford).

A popular history series of high quality with diverse subjects. The strength of the series is the copious and well-chosen illustrations in each book. The most prominent author in this series in the classicist Michael Grant.

The subjects are Charles Darwin, Napoleon Bonaparte, Francis Drake, Louis XIV, Vincent Van Gogh, Lord Byron, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick the Great, Marie Antoinette, Lord Nelson, Marco Polo, Leonardo Da Vinci, T.E. Lawrence. This series was issued at the same time by the same publisher as the Kings & Queens of England series and the two series share a house style. The Kings & Queens series was edited by Antonia Fraser, the eldest daughter of Elizabeth Longford.

The Kings & Queens of England

Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1972-1981. General Editor Antonia Fraser.

31 volumes, including general volumes on the Saxon kings and the Norman Kings. Individual studies commence with Alfred the Great then Richard I. Some titles were written by English Monarchs authors.

All monarchs have a volume except the first four Henrys, Henry VI, Edward VI, George II, Edward VIII, and Elizabeth II.

Medieval World Series

Longman, then Routledge, 1992 -  

The founding editor was David Bates, author of the new William the Conqueror English Monarchs title. The series looks at the current scholarship and debates concerning each subject.

The Middle Ages Series

University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985 -

Founding Editor: Edward Peters; Series Editor: Ruth Mazo Karras,

An astoundingly comprehensive output for thirty years on many topics in European history, though only a few are biographies of a single subject.

The New Oxford History of England

Oxford University Press (1992-  )

General Editor: J. M. Roberts

This series is the successor to the Oxford History of England (1934–86) and aims to cover English (and British) history from the end of the Roman period to the 1990s. The first volume, published in 1992, was a paperback version of a hardback first published by The Clarendon Press in 1989. Eleven volumes have been published to date, with at least five known to be forthcoming. Two English Monarchs authors have books in this series: Michael Prestwich and Simon Keynes (see the Aethrelred page).

The Norton Library History of England

W.W. Norton & Co. (1961-1975)

General Editors: Christopher Brooke and Dennis Mack Smith

The Norton Library was an initiative of the New York office of the publisher. This history series in the Library consisted of seven books about the period 55 BCE to 1955 CE, designed for the general reader or beginners and covering a large period of time in each volume, or as Preofessor George Holmes put it in the "Later Middle Ages" volume, "My aim has been to write an intelligible introduction to this period of history for those who are reading about it for the first time". What is intriguing about this series is that it is contemporaneous with the start of the English Monarchs series and a renewed interest in publishing history at every level of interest. 'The Tudor Age, 1485-1603' by Margaret Bowker seems not to have been issued, although it was listed as forthcoming in some of the later volumes.

Oxford History of England

Oxford University Press (1936 - 1965, with a revised volume 1 in two parts in 1981 and 1986)

Edited by Sir George Clark.

A 15 volume series of studies of English history from the Roman settlement to 1945, with contributions by some of Britain’s most senior historians. Names such as Frank Stenton, Maurice Powicke and A.J.P. Taylor would be instantly familiar with history readers. The fourteenth volume (1936) took the history up the the beginning of the First World War. The final volume (1965) updated the series to the end of the Second World War. The series was succeeded by the New Oxford History of England. 

The Pelican History of England

Pelican, 1955-1965.

An influential early series of general histories from Roman Britain to the 20th Century. Ten books in the series from 1955 to 1965, and the volume called ‘The Late Middle Ages’ was written by A.R. Myers, one of the historians commissioned to write an English Monarchs book (Edward III) which was never completed. 

The Penguin History of Britain

Penguin, 1996-2018.

This nine book series is published to update the 1955-65 Pelican series. The third book, covering 1066-1284, was written by David Carpenter, the author of the  English Monarchs Henry III book.

Penguin Monarchs

Penguin, 2014-2018.

A series of brief (100 page) biographies of the English monarchs for beginners and young readers. Some titles are written by English Monarchs series authors: Jeremy Black, Chris Given-Wilson, John Gillingham, Edmumd King, and most of the other authors will be familiar to seasoned history readers.

Problems in Focus

Springer (1969-2002)

“This well-established and authoritative series offers a group of essays on key topics by leading historians in each field”.

This series has a mixture of general discussions and historical biographies. Titles include studies of Henry VIII; ; James I, Charles II; James II; Wars of the Roses; Elizabeth I. English Monarchs authors in the series are Jeremy Black, Jennifer Loach and John Miller.

Profiles in Power

Routledge, 1988 - current

Nearly fifty biographies of world leaders, mostly modern but with some from the 15th and 16th Century. Pearson (Publishers) UK describes the series “...ambitious and wide-ranging series provides critical studies of key figures in international political history since 1500. The books are not biographies, though inevitably they contain much biographical material; rather they are succinct interpretative essays, analysing the major features of the career within the context of its own time”.

Routledge Historical Biographies

Routledge, 2002 -  

“Routledge Historical Biographies are concise, accessible introductions to key historical figures. Written by experts in their fields they are designed to help students either starting out on a course, or revising before exams. Far from being dry, academic texts however, they are also perfect, affordable books for the history buff.”

Series has over thirty titles including some of interest to English Monarchs readers: Henry V; Henry VI; Henry VII; Edward IV; Richard III; Henry Viii; Mary Tudor; Elizabeth I; Mary Queen of Scots; Charles I; Oliver Cromwell; Queen Victoria - not to mention Wolsey and Cranmer.

Other Series of History Books

The English Monarchs series is the pre-eminent series of biographical political biographies, but by no means the only history series worth investigating. The following are some other series - mostly biographical titles but some are are collections of more general studies.