Indiana Jones : A Historical Guide

Read it in French

Indiana Jones crossed the XXth century, being a spectator of History. All the stories told through movies, series, books, comics… are an opportunity to travel in time, alongside real historical characters. Indiana Jones: A Historical Guide is an independent project that aims to analyze these adventures from a historical point of view. Behind the story, let's discover the history.

Affiche "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"

When George Lucas created his character in the 1980s, he was simply an adventurer whose exploits took place in the 1940s, a period that was conducive to finding adversaries equal to him: the Nazis, with whom we often associate a certain interest in esotericism. In the 1990s, the character takes on another dimension, that of the spectator of History, with a capital H.

This is the declared goal of the series The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, which will be declined in novels for young people, and in comics. The idea of a young Indiana Jones started from the development of the prologue of the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, released in 1989, featuring River Phoenix as a 13-year-old Indy.

Lucas himself saw the project as educational entertainment. The expected success never came. The American public did not get hooked on the TV series, which nevertheless had time to remain on the screen for four years, in the form of episodes or TV movies. Enough to sweep the periods 1908-1910 and 1916-1920. The life of Indiana Jones between 1910 and 1916 will be told by different authors of novels for young people, American and French, between 1991 and 1998.

Fiction is a great way to spark interest, and this series should provide a fun way to understand some truly fascinating historical events.

George Lucas
George Lucas

An whole new book

When I first discovered the television series in 2012, I was interested in learning more about the historical facts discussed, how much of it was fiction and how much was fact. I was surprised and disappointed to find that no such work had ever been done, either in France or the United States. If there was a book about the historical facts behind the adventures of the character of Indiana Jones, I would have immediately tried to get it. But there was no such book, so I had to write it.

I decided to approach each story in chronological order, starting in 1908 with the first told adventure of Indiana Jones, until 1920 and the last adventure of the "young" Indiana Jones. Each story is summarized, then the main historical themes are explained. The interest of these documentary summaries is that they are written in the light of the stories that introduce them. Errors are thus noted, while the anecdotes that really happened are mentioned.

The contents of the book

Avant-propos

1908-1912 : The Child

1912-1916 : The Teenager

1916-1919 : The Soldier

1919-1920 : The Student

The analysed stories

The titles below are not necessarily the official titles. The original titles of the episodes of the TV series are all made up of the place and date of the story (e.g. Egypt, 1908), while the titles of the novels have a more traditional form (e.g. Indiana Jones and the Pirate's Treasure). Also, for the sake of consistency, I decided to forge new titles for some stories, sometimes inspired by existing titles given to some adaptations. I will keep in subtitle the mention of the place and the date of the story. Again, the dates have sometimes been subject to change, since the official chronology does not necessarily respect the historical reality.

The Child

La malédiction du chacal (Égypte, mai 1908)

Les périls de l'amour (Florence, septembre 1908)

Les maîtres du Louvre (Paris, septembre 1908)

La princesse autrichienne (Vienne, novembre 1908)

Safari africain (Afrique Orientale Britannique, septembre 1908)

La société théosophique (Bénarès, janvier 1910)

Funestes destins (Pékin, mars 1910)

Escapade chinoise (Chine, mars 1910)

Les esclaves de Tanger (Tanger, mai 1910)

Les fugueurs complices (Russie, juillet 1910)

Voyage avec Père (Grèce, août 1910)

L'aventure du Titanic (Atlantique, avril 1912)

The Teenager

Le trésor des pirates (Maine, juin 1912)

La croix de Coronado (Utah, juillet 1912)

Le fantôme du Klondike (Yukon, juillet 1912)

L'or perdu de Durango (Mesa Verde, août 1912)

L'ampoule radioactive (Paris, novembre 1912)

Le tombeau du pharaon (Égypte, mars 1913)

La météorite sacrée (Canada, avril 1913)

Le trésor de la plantation (Nord-Est des États-Unis, mai 1913)

Les Montagnes de la Superstition (Arizona, juillet 1913)

La princesse fugitive (Caucase, juillet 1913)

L'enfant lama (Tibet, août 1913)

Le violon du Metropolitan (New York, septembre 1913)

Le triangle des Bermudes (Bahamas, septembre 1913)

Les chevaliers fantômes (Pays de Galles, novembre 1913)

Les druides noirs (Amesbury, décembre 1913)

Voyage aux portes des Enfers (Grèce, janvier 1914)

La malédiction de la croix au rubis (New York, mars 1914)

La revanche des Gitans (Provence, mai 1914)

Le roi Zed (Empire ottoman, juin 1914)

La montagne de feu (Hawaï, octobre 1914)

Le visage du dragon (Chine, octobre 1914)

L'oeil du tigre (Inde, décembre 1914)

Le spectre de Venise (Venise, janvier 1915)

La voiture électrique (Princeton, février 1916)

 The Soldier

La révolution mexicaine (Mexique, mars 1916)

Manigances en haute mer (Atlantique, avril 1916)

Les Pâques sanglantes (Dublin, avril 1916)

Une douce chanson d'amour (Angleterre, mai 1916)

Les tranchées de l'enfer (Somme, août 1916)

La grande évasion (Allemagne, août 1916)

Le messager de Verdun (Verdun, septembre 1916)

L'affaire Mata-Hari (Paris, octobre 1916)

Le train fantôme (Afrique orientale allemande, novembre 1916)

L'otage indésirable (Afrique orientale allemande, novembre 1916)

La marche maudite (Congo, décembre 1916)

Oganga, le sorcier blanc (Gabon, janvier 1917)

Les Hommes-faucons (Luxeuil-les-bains / Alhorn, avril 1917)

La lettre secrète (Autriche, avril 1917)

L'espion qui m'aimait (Barcelone, mai 1917)

Révolution ! (Petrograd, juillet 1917)

La ville des fous (Prague, août 1917)

Les cavaliers du désert (Palestine, octobre 1917)

Le visage du démon (Transylvanie, janvier 1918)

Duel romantique (Italie du Nord, juin 1918)

Traitrise au palais (Maroc, juillet 1918)

Mission impossible (Constantinople, septembre 1918)

Le trésor de l'Œil du Paon (Égypte / Pacifique, novembre 1918 - janvier 1919)

Le coût de la paix (Paris, mai 1919)

The Student

Le vent du changement (Princeton, juin 1919)

Le mystère du jazz (Chicago, avril 1920)

La mort du Colosse (Chicago, mai 1920)

Scandals (New York, juin-juillet 1920)

Hollywood Follies (Hollywood, août 1920)

Extract : The Curse of The Jackal

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Un finished project

Indiana Jones : A Historical Guide has been published first in French in 2016. It has been a hardcover book, with beautiful color pages.

The original book

In 2019, I decided to make this book more accessible. After months of work, I create the ePub version, so that it can be properly read on tablets and e-readers. In the process, I also publish a second paper version, more affordable in price, with a paperback cover and the interior pages printed in black and white.

The ebook version, for optimized reading on tablets and e-readers
The paperback cover version

Today, the book has been translated in English, and will be soon available.

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Photo credits:
Raiders of the Lost Ark, (c) Paramount / Lucasfilm Ltd.
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, (c) Paramount / Lucasfilm Ltd.
George Lucas, par Joi Ito from Inbamura, Japan — Taken from Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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