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Andrew Langley (1949–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights

england london illustrated oxford

Born 1949, in Bath, England; Education: London University, B.A. (English literature; with honors).

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Raintree/Heinemann, Halley Court, Jordan Hill, Oxford OX2 8EJ, England.

Career

Children's book author. Penguin Books, London, England, marketing assistant, 1974–78.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Explorers on the Nile ("In Profile" series), Silver Burdett (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1981.

Working in the Army: A Guide for Young People, National Extension College, 1983.

The Superpowers, Wayland (London, England), 1983.

The First Men 'round the World, Silver Burdett (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1983.

Ian Botham (biography), illustrated by Karen Heywood, Hamilton, 1983.

Cleopatra and the Egyptians ("Life and Times" series), illustrated by Gerry Wood, Wayland (London, England), 1985, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Doctor, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1985.

Energy, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1985.

Passport to Great Britain, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1985, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1986.

John F. Kennedy (biography), illustrated by Richard Hook, Wayland (London, England), 1985, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Librarian, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1985.

The Making of the Living Planet, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1985.

Peoples of the World, Wayland (London, England), 1985, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1986.

The Army, Wayland (London, England), 1986.

Combat Pilot, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1986.

A Family in the Fifties ("How They Lived" series), illustrated by John James, Wayland (London, England), 1986.

The Search for Riches, Wayland (London, England), 1986, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1997.

The Royal Air Force, Wayland (London, England), 1986.

The Royal Navy, Wayland (London, England), 1986.

Sailor, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1986.

Airports, illustrated by James Dugdale and others, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1987.

Cars, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1987.

Genghis Kahn and the Mongols ("Life and Times" series), illustrated by Clyde Pearson, Wayland (London, England), 1987.

Travel Games for Kids, illustrated by Alisa Tingley, W. Foulsham, 1987, Berkshire House, 1992.

The World of Sharks, Wayland (London, England), 1987, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Twenty Names in Pop Music, illustrated by Gary Rees, Wayland (London, England), 1987, Marshall Cavendish (Tarrytown, NY), 1988.

Travel Quizzes for Kids, W. Foulsham, 1988.

Twenty Explorers, illustrated by Edward Mortelmans, Wayland (London, England), 1988, Marshall Cavendish (Tarrytown, NY), 1990.

Twenty Names in Crime, illustrated by Gary Rees, Wayland (London, England), 1988.

(With Maira Butterfield) People, illustrated by Norman Young, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 1989.

Sport, Wayland (London, England), 1989.

Sport and Politics, Wayland (London, England), 1989, Rourke Enterprises (Vero Beach, FL), 1990.

(With others) World Issues, two volumes, Bowker (New York, NY), 1990.

Trucks and Trailers, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1991.

Young Sailor, illustrated by Robin Lawrie and Bob Mathias, Sheridan House (Dobbs Ferry, NY), 1993.

Grasslands, illustrated by Neil Bulpitt and others, J. Morris, 1993.

The Illustrated Book of Questions and Answers, Kibworth Books (Leicester, England), 1993, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1996.

Wetlands, illustrated by Neil Bulpitt and others, J. Morris, 1993.

The Industrial Revolution, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.

The Age of Industry ("See through History" series), Hamlyn (London, England), 1994.

Medieval Life, photographs by Geoff Brightling and Geoff Dann, Knopf (New York, NY), 1996, revised edition, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2004

(With Philip de Souza) The Roman News, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

Victorian Factories, illustrated by James Field, Heinemann (London, England), 1996.

Victorian Railways, illustrated by James Field, Heinemann (London, England), 1996.

(With Gerald Wood) Life in a Victorian Steamship, Heinemann (London, England), 1997.

Tudor Palaces, illustrated by Mark Bergin and James Field, Heinemann (London, England), 1997.

Food and Farming, Heinemann (London, England), 1997.

Hans Christian Andersen: The Dreamer of Fairy Tales, illustrated by Toni Morris, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1997.

Alexander the Great: The Greatest Ruler of the Ancient World ("What's Their Story?" series), illustrated by Alan Marks, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1997, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Amelia Earhart: The Pioneering Pilot ("What's Their Story?" series), illustrated by Alan Marks, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1997.

Trade and Transport, illustrated by Mark Bergin, James Field, and John James, Heinemann (London, England), 1998.

Castle at War: The Story of a Siege ("Be an Eyewitness" series), illustrated by Peter Dennis, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1998.

Renaissance, Knopf (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Alan Brown) What I Believe: A Young Person's Guide to the Religions of the World, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1999.

Leonardo, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1999, published with "treasure chest" materials, Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Shakespeare's Theatre, illustrated by June Everett, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.

Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age (published with "treasure chest" materials), Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.

One Hundred Things You Should Know about Pirates, Miles Kelly (Great Bardfield, England), 2000, Mason Crest (Broomall, PA), 2003.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Viking Explorer: Voyages You'd Rather Not Make, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 2001.

One Hundred Things You Should Know about the Wild West, Miles Kelly (Great Bardfield, England), 2001, Mason Crest (Broomall, PA), 2003.

(With Fiona Macdonald and Jane Walker) Five Hundred Things You Should Know about History, Miles Kelly (Great Bardfield, England), 2001.

First Fun Atlas, Miles Kelly (Great Bardfield, England), 2001, Mason Crest (Broomall, PA), 2003.

Pirates, Miles Kelly (Great Bardfield, England), 2002.

Barbara Hepworth ("Creative Lives" series), Heinemann (Oxford, England), 2002.

Mikhail Gorbachev ("Leading Lives" series), Heinemann (Oxford, England), 2002, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 2003.

Pablo Picasso, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2003.

Michelangelo, Raintree (Chicago, IL) 2003.

An International Rugby Union Star, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 2004.

"BEHIND THE SCENES" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Radio Station, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1983.

Hotel, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1983.

Car Ferry, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1983.

Football Club, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1983.

Supermarket, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1983.

Police Station, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1983.

Post Office, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1985.

Newspapers, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1985.

"ORIGINS" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

A Cup of Tea, Wayland (London, England), 1982.

The Meat in Your Hamburger, Wayland (London, England), 1982.

The Paper in Your Home, Wayland (London, England), 1982.

"TOPICS" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Great Disasters, Wayland (London, England), 1985, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Under the Ground, Wayland (London, England), 1985, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Television, Wayland (London, England), 1986, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Jungles, Wayland (London, England), 1986, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1987.

"FOCUS ON" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Focus on Wool, Wayland (London, England), 1985.

Focus on Vegetables, Wayland (London, England), 1985.

Focus on Timber, Wayland (London, England), 1986, published as Spotlight on Timber, Rourke Enterprises (Vero Beach, FL), 1987.

"SPOTLIGHT ON" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Spotlight on Airports, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1987.

Spotlight on Aircraft, illustrated by Peter Bull, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1987, published as Aircraft, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Spotlight on Dinosaurs, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1987.

Spotlight on Spacecraft, illustrated by Christopher Forsey, Michael Roffe, and others, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1987.

Spotlight on the Moon, illustrated by Christopher Forsey, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1987, published as The Moon, 1988.

Spotlight on Trees, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1987.

"LET'S LOOK AT" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Let's Look at Bikes, Wayland (London, England), 1988, published as Bikes and Motorcycles, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Let's Look at Trucks, Wayland (London, England), 1988, published as Trucks, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Let's Look at Circuses, illustrated by D. Bowles, Wayland (London, England), 1989.

Let's Look at Aircraft, Wayland (London, England), 1989, published as Aircraft, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Let's Look at Trains, illustrated by Mike Turner, Wayland (London, England), 1989, published as Trains, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Let's Look at Racing Cars, illustrated by Mike Atkinson, Wayland (London, England), 1990, published as Racing Cars, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Let's Look at Monster Machines, illustrated by Mike Atkinson, Wayland (London, England), 1990, published as Monster Machines, Bookwright Press (New York, NY), 1990.

"THE STORY OF" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

(With Stella Alcantara and Josefina Dalupan Hofilena) The Story of the Philippines, World Book International (Chicago, IL), 1989.

The Story of Singapore, World Book International (Chicago, IL), 1990.

(With Garry Bailey) The Story of India, World Book International (Chicago, IL), 1990.

"RESOURCES" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Copper, Wayland (London, England), 1981.

Paper, Wayland (London, England), 1991, Thomson Learning (Stamford, CT), 1993.

Steel, Wayland (London, England), 1992, Thomson Learning (Stamford, CT), 1993.

"HISTORY OF BRITAIN" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

The Tudors, 1485 to 1603, Hamlyn (London, England), 1993.

The Stuarts, 1603 to 1714, Hamlyn (London, England), 1993.

Georgian Britain, 1714 to 1837, Hamlyn (London, England), 1994.

Victorian Britain, 1837 to 1901, Hamlyn (London, England), 1994.

Modern Britain, 1901 to the 1990s, Hamlyn (London, England), 1994.

Queen Victoria, illustrated by James Field, Hamlyn (London, England), 1995.

The Blitz, 1939–1945, illustrated by John James, Hamlyn (London, England), 1995.

The Home Front, Hamlyn (London, England), 1995.

Elizabeth I, illustrated by Mark Bergin, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 1996.

Shakespeare and the Theatre, illustrated by John James, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 1996.

"GREAT EXPLORERS" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Discovering the New World: The Voyages of Christopher Columbus, illustrated by Paul Crompton, Kibworth Books (Leicester, England), 1994.

Exploring the Pacific: The Expeditions of Captain Cook, illustrated by David McAllister, Kibworth Books (Leicester, England), 1994.

The Great Polar Adventure: The Journeys of Roald Amundsen, illustrated by Kevin Barnes, Kibworth Books (Leicester, England), 1994.

Journey into Space: The Missions of Neil Armstrong, illustrated by Alex Pang, Kibworth Books (Leicester, England), 1994.

"ONE HUNDRED GREATEST" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

One Hundred Greatest Tyrants, Dragon's World Children's Books (Limpsfield, England), 1996.

One Hundred Greatest Inventions, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Men, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Women, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Sports Champions, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Manmade Wonders, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Medical Discoveries, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Explorers, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Disasters, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Natural Wonders, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Amazing Animals, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

One Hundred Greatest Archaeological Discoveries, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1997.

"TIME TOURS" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Medieval Castle, illustrated by James Field and others, Victoria House (Bath, England), 1998.

Spanish Galleon, illustrated by Mark Bergin and others, Reader's Digest Children's Books (Bath, England), 1998.

Egyptian Tomb, illustrated by Mike Smith and others, Reader's Digest Children's Books (Bath, England), 1999.

Roman Arena, illustrated by Donald Harley and others, Reader's Digest Children's Books (Bath, England), 1999.

"OXFORD FIRST ENCYCLOPEDIA" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Oxford First Encyclopedia, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1998.

Earth and the Universe, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.

Science and Technology, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.

People and Places, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.

My Body, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.

Animals and Plants, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.

Oxford First Book of Space, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

"HISTORY IN ART" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Ancient Egypt, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2005.

Victorian Britain, Raintree (Oxford, England), 2005.

Ancient Greece, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2005.

"GREAT CITIES OF THE WORLD" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Cape Town, World Almanac Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

St. Petersburg, World Almanac Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

Athens, World Almanac Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

"LIVE ACTION" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Swimming, Chrysalis (North Mankato, MN), 2004.

Running, Chrysalis (North Mankato, MN), 2004.

Walking, Chrysalis (North Mankato, MN), 2004.

OTHER

(Editor with John Utting) The Village on the Hill: Aspects of Colerne History, Colerne History Group, 1990.

Glenfiddich: Made without Compromise since 1887, photographs by Philip Sayer, Good Books (Melksham, England), 1995.

London Pride: 150 Years of Fuller, Smith, and Turner, 1845–1995, Good Books, 1995.

(With Adam Hargreaves) Mr. Mean's Guide to Management, Egmont World (Hanforth, England), 2000.

(With Adam Hargreaves) Mr. Lazy's Guide to Fitness, Egmont World (Hanforth, England), 2000.

(With Adam Hargreaves) Mr. Greedy's Guide to Food, Egmont World (Hanforth, England), 2000.

Rupert Murdoch: An Unauthorized Biography, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 2001.

Sidelights

British writer Andrew Langley has dedicated his career to penning educational books that meet the needs of young readers. Langley's first books were primarily straightforward works designed to explain day-to-day facts; in his "Behind the Scenes" series, for example, he explores what goes on at various familiar locations, such as a hotel, a police station, and a post office while his "Origins" series explains where things like as hamburger meat come from. As his career has progressed, Langley has increasingly focused on the subject that most interests him: namely history. Mining the world's past, he has produced biographies of a broad range of people from history as well as historic overviews such as The Roman News, Medieval Life, Renaissance, and Ancient Egypt. In addition to these fact-based works, Langley joined with author Alan Brown to write What I Believe: A Young Person's Guide to the Religions of the World. A comprehensive book, What I Believe provides readers with what Booklist reviewer Ilene Cooper praised as a "knowledgeable, friendly … overview of eight world religions." Told from the point of view of eight young people, the book discuses the history and practices at the core of Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism.

In his biographical work, Langley focuses on individuals from the broad historical spectrum. The ruler of Macedonia who conquered much of the ancient world is profiled in Alexander the Great: The Greatest Ruler of the Ancient World, while in John F. Kennedy he focuses on a popular U.S. president of the mid-twentieth century. Profiles of individuals who have chosen similar walks in life are the subject of such volumes as Twenty Explorers, Twenty Names in Pop Music, and Twenty Names in Crime, while in Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Hans Christian Andersen: The Dreamer of Fairy Tales delve into the life story of people who have contributed to the world's cultural fabric. In Shakespeare's Theatre Langley focuses on the life of a building rather than a person, creating what a Publishers Weekly contributor dubbed a "factual, focused and lively" history of the theatre in which William Shakespeare's famous plays were first produced. When the first structure burned down in 1613, it was rebuilt but survived only until 1644; it was finally rebuilt in a ten-year construction project that concluded in 1997, inspired by the vision of Shakespeare fan Sam Wanamaker.

Langley has received high praise for his "History of Britain" series, which covers the fifteenth century through modern times in titles such as The Stuarts, 1603 to 1714, Modern Britain, 1901 to the 1990s, and The Blitz, 1939–1945. In these works, the historian describes all aspects of British history—social, military, political—thoroughly and in a way that is understandable to young readers. Each book in the series contains illustrations as well an index, glossary, and time chart to help readers navigate Britain's past. A Junior Bookshelf critic called the "History of Britain" an "important" series that would be a useful library acquisition.

Langley's books range across the historical spectrum, and he delves into the increasingly distant past in Medieval Life and The Roman News. In sixty-four pages, Medieval Life provides readers with an overview of European life from the fifth through the fifteenth centuries.

While some reviewers felt that the overview approach does not present an adequate picture of medieval life and society for young students, others had high praise for the book, citing Langley's realistic portrayal of these interesting times. Norton Hodges, writing in School Librarian, praised in particular Langley's technique of giving credit to the roles played by women and the importance of Islamic cultural influences during the medieval era, and "wholeheartedly recommend[ed]" the book to "teachers, librarians and young readers."

Moving further back in time, The Roman News, which Langley co-wrote with Philip de Souza, represents a creative approach to teaching history to youngsters by covering historical events as if they were articles in a modern-day newspaper. Not only are far-reaching events such as the assassination of Julius Caesar and the Spartan invasion covered, but also items of social interest, such as slavery, sports, and clothing fashions. Advertisements and advice columns also appear, adding an element of fun and humor. For example, one article wryly suggests that you should always designate just one room in your home as a vomitorium. The book's "readable style, and interesting selection of subjects, makes it a good introduction to Roman history for older juniors and younger secondary children," suggested a Junior Bookshelf reviewer, while a Booklist contributor predicted that The Roman News will "encourage creative projects" and be useful to "students having difficulty with standard textual materials." Other ancient civilizations are covered in a more traditional fashion in books such as Ancient Egypt, which reveals Egyptian society through its artifacts. Part of the "History of Art" series, Ancient Egypt was praised by School Arts contributor Ken Maratz for its "clearly-written texts" and Langley's inclusion of timetables, index, and glossary.

Discussing his reason for dedicating his career to teaching young people about history, Langley once told SATA: "The study of history is endlessly fascinating and frequently enthralling, but an area of staggering ignorance for a huge number of people (especially Americans). Only by understanding the past can we hope to understand the present. I hope that my books—in a very modern way—aid that understanding."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Appraisal, winter, 1988, p. 67; summer, 1985, p. 49; fall, 1993, pp. 85-86.

Booklist, January 1, 1991, pp. 917, 919; October 1, 1996, review of The Roman News, p. 345; August, 1998, Carolyn Phelan, review of Alexander the Great, p. 1995; July, 1999, Randy Meyer, review of Shakespeare's Theatre, p. 1944; October 1, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of What I Believe: A Young Person's Guide to the Religions of the World, p. 371.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 1988, p. 45.

Growing Point, January, 1988, p. 4919.

Junior Bookshelf, February, 1985, review of Georgian Britain, p. 38; August, 1994, p. 145; October, 1994, pp. 181-182; August, 1995, pp. 145-146; December, 1996, review of The Roman News, p. 270.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1996, p. 746.

Publishers Weekly, August 12, 1996, p. 84; July 12, 1999, review of Shakespeare's Theatre, p. 94.

Resource Links, October, 1999, review of Renaissance, p. 19.

School Arts, March, 2005, Ken Marantz, review of Michelangelo, p. 72; April, 2005, Ken Marantz, review of Ancient Egypt, p. 47.

School Librarian, May, 1988, p. 60; August, 1996, Norton Hodges, review of Medieval Life, p. 112; autumn, 1999, review of Animals and Plants, p. 131, and Shakespeare's Theatre, p. 160l.

School Library Journal, February, 1990, p. 96; January, 1995, p. 127; July, 1996, p. 92; January, 1999, Esther C. Ball, review of Hans Christian Andersen, p. 117; April, 1999, Megan McGuire, review of Castle of War, p. 150; September, 1999, Barbara Buckley, review of Renaissance, p. 236; October, 1999, Sally Margolis, review of Shakespeare's Theatre, p. 171; February, 2000, Linda Beck, review of What I Believe, p. 108; February, 2001, John Peters, review of The Oxford First Book of Space, p. 113; August, 2003, Barbara Auerbach, review of First Fun Atlas, p. 110; January, 2004, Judith Constantinides, review of Athens, p. 150.

Science Books and Films, May, 1997, p. 120.

Times Educational Supplement, November 25, 1983, p. 29; March 9, 1984, p. 51; June 12, 1985, p. 21.

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