One of my great loves is turn of the 20th century "juvenile" literature, and this is an excellent example of the genre.
The four books of the "High School Boys" series tell the story of (to quote): "Dick Prescott, Dave Darrin, Greg Holmes, Dan Dalzell, Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton, six young chums who, back in their days in the Central Grammar School Gridley, had become fast friends, and had become known as Dick & Co.". Like all such books of the time, these books are intended to provide "wholesome" reading and to encourage "manly virtues" by setting proper moral examples. A real example from the blurb of one of the books:
[This book] will be found to be a splendid story of real American boys who know how to get the most out of both work and play, and to make each year of life a preparation for a better year to come.
Who can fail to be morally uplifted by such sentiments?
Despite not understanding at all the sports which these books largely concern themselves with (baseball and American football) I find these to be a wonderful read - a snapshot of the simpler and more innocent world which existed prior to the First World War.
I should note that there are several "companion" series to this which I shall be posting in the near future. These include the "High School Boys Summer Vacation" series, which runs in parallel with this series and tells the stories of what "Dick & Co." got up to in their summer vacations, and series which tell the stories of what the characters involved did subsequent to leaving High School - at West Point Military Academy, Annapolis Naval Academy, and as "Young Engineers" respectively. All in all, these are wonderful books.
Finally, it's interesting to note that, unlike the vast majority of these juvenile books of the time, "H. Irving Hancock" is not a "house name" of a publisher, but a real person. Hancock, who lived from approximately 1866 (his birth date is uncertain) to 1922 was a chemist who produced his vast output of books writing at night.
Anyway, enough digression. The books in this series are:
: "The High School Freshmen" or "Dick & Co.'s First Year Pranks and Sports"
: "The High School Pitcher" or "Dick & Co. on the Gridley Diamond"
: "The High School Left End" or "Dick & Co. Grilling on the Football Gridiron"
: "The High School Captain of the Team" or "Dick & Co. Leading the Athletic Vanguard"
(Many books of this time had "alternate titles", in case you're wondering about the "or" bits)
EDIT: 12 Feb 08
Recreated the book with improved formatting and layout. Uploaded v2.
EDIT: 28 Apr 08
Recreated the book to fix an issue with incorrect paragraph breaks. Uploaded v3.
EDIT: 5 May 08
Proof-read the book and corrected dozens of minor errors. Uploaded v4.
EDIT: 3 Aug 11
Improved the code quality. Replaced the cover. Uploaded v5.
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