Modern Library Chronicles
2000 - 2011

The Modern Library currently (in 2016) describes the Chronicles series thus: "Modern Library Chronicles feature the world’s great historians on the world’s great subjects. Lively, accessible, and brief (most under 150 pages), these authoritative short histories are designed to appeal to general readers as well as to students in the classroom."

While the Chronicles works are concise,  averaging a little over 200 pages, not a single title has fewer than 150 pages (wording that the Modern Library has not changed in over a decade).  The shortest MLC is Sturmer's German Empire at 154 pages.  The longest is Starr's California with 370 pages.

Thirty-four titles were released between 2000 and 2011, as shown in the Modern Library Chronicles Index.

Characteristics of the Chronicles:

  • Hardcover, dust jacket, and paperback spines all have a 'book number' displayed on the spine

  • A torchbearer is also present on hardcover, dust jacket, and paperback spines.  The first design is what looks like the binding #9 torchbearer (bindings C-001 to C-028 and C-031, jackets C-001 to C-027).  This was changed to the original flying torchbearer, as seen on the front of binding #4 (bindings C-029, C-030, and C-032 to C-034, jackets C-028 to C-034)

  • Bernhard endpapers

  • Torchbearer blind stamped on book front cover, similar to binding #17 (see example below)

  • When initially issued on the first ten titles in the series, the jackets were see-through (translucent) and each pictorial book cover was different, tailored to the subject of the book.

  • List of Chronicles titles shown on the jacket rear cover on early editions, then inside the book on the first page after the front fly. Through 2006 all titles published and planned were listed together. Starting in 2007 there were two lists, "Currently Available" and "Forthcoming."

  • All titles were published in both hardcover and paperback, and a few had book club editions

  • Book size varied.

An example of a Chronicles cover, jacket, and paperback are shown below for MLC #14, Fussell's Boys' Crusade.


Images for the various book covers and dust jacket styles are displayed on the Modern Library Chronicles Covers page.

Many "ghost" titles (titles planned but never published) exist in the Chronicles series.  Authors of these works were even assigned, but for some reason the projects never commenced or, in two cases (on Feminism and on the Holy Land), were published outside the series.  These ghost titles are shown at the bottom of the Chronicles Index page.

One error in this series is the numbering on Chronicles Inventing Japan and The CompanyInventing Japan has #12 on the book spine and #11 on the jacket spine.  The Company has #11 on the book spine and #12 on the jacket spine.  At ModernLib, we have designated Inventing Japan as #11 and The Company as #12.