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 Walkthrough is an independent project that aims to analyze these adventures from a historical point of view. Behind the story, let's discover the history.
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 Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, 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
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
1908-1912 : The Child
1912-1916 : The Adolescent
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 Loot). 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 Curse of the Jackal (Egypt, May 1908)
The Perils of Cupid (Florence, September 1908)
Masters of the Louvre (Paris, September 1908)
The Austrian Princess (Vienna, November 1908)
African Safari (British East Africa, September 1909)
The Theosophical Society (Varanasi, January 1910)
Journey of Radiance (China, March 1910)
The Runaway Adventure (China, March 1910)
Tangierian Slaves (Tangiers, May 1910)
The Accomplice Runaways (Russia, July 1910)
Travels with Father (Greece, August 1910)
The Titanic Adventure (Atlantic, April 1912)
The Pirates' Loot (Maine, June 1912)
The Cross of Coronado (Utah, July 1912)
The Specter of Klondike (Yukon, July 1912)
The Lost Gold of Durango (Mesa Verde, August 1912)
The Radioactive Flask (Paris, November 1912)
The Tomb of Terror (Egypt, March 1913)
The Holy Meteorite (Canada, April 1913)
The Plantation Treasure (Northeastern United States, May 1913)
The Mountains of Superstition (Arizona, July 1913)
The Princess of Peril (Caucase, July 1913)
The Young Lama (Tibet, August 1913)
The Metropolitan Violin (New York, September 1913)
The Bermuda Triangle (Bahamas, September 1913)
The Ghostly Riders (Wales, November 1913)
The Circle of Death (Amesbury, December 1913)
Journey to the Underworld (Greece, January 1914)
The Curse of the Ruby Cross (New York, March 1914)
The Gypsy Revenge (Provence, May 1914)
King Zed (Ottoman Empire, June 1914)
The Mountain fo Fire (Hawaï, October 1914)
The Face of the Dragon (China, October 1914)
The Eye of the Tiger (India, December 1914)
The Ghost of Venice (Venice, January 1915)
The Electric Car (Princeton, February 1916)
The Mexican Revolution (Mexico, March 1916)
Sheming on the High Sea (Atlantic, April 1916)
Bloody Easter (Dublin, April 1916)
Love's Sweet Song (England, May 1916)
The Trenches of Hell (Somme, August 1916)
The Great Escape (Germany, August 1916)
The Courier of Verdun (Verdun, September 1916)
The Mata-Hari Affair (Paris, October 1916)
Phantom Train of Doom (East German Africa, November 1916)
The Undesirable Hostage (East German Africa, november 1916)
The Death March (Congo, December 1916)
Oganga, the Giver and Taker of Life (Gabon, January 1917)
Attack of the Hawkmen (Luxeuil-les-bains / Alhorn, April 1917)
The Secret Letter (Austria, April 1917)
The Spy who loved me (Barcelona, May 1917)
Revolution! (Petrograd, July 1917)
City of the Insane (Prague, August 1917)
Daredevils of the Desert (Palestine, October 1917)
Face of Evil (Transylvania, January 1918)
A Romantic Duel (Northern Italy, June 1918)
Treachery at the Palace (Morocco, July 1918)
Mission Impossible (Constantinople, September 1918)
Treasure of the Peacock's Eye (Egypt / Pacific, November 1918 - January 1919)
The Price of Peace (Paris, May 1919)
Winds of Change (Princeton, June 1919)
Mystery of the Blues (Chicago, April 1920)
Death of the Colossus (Chicago, May 1920)
Scandals (New York, June-July 1920)
Hollywood Follies (Hollywood, August 1920)
Extract : The Curse of The Jackal
Un finished project
Indiana Jones : A Historical Walkthrough has been published first in French in 2016. It has been a hardcover book, with beautiful color pages.
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.
Today, the book has been translated in English, and will be soon available.
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Raiders of the Lost Ark, © Paramount / Lucasfilm Ltd.
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, © Paramount / Lucasfilm Ltd.
George Lucas, par Joi Ito from Inbamura, Japan — Taken from Flickr, CC BY 2.0