Title: The Story of Mankind
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Binding: Audio CD
Book Condition: Fair
Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Bookseller Inventory # G1441783474I5N10
Synopsis: [Audio CD Library Edition in vinyl case]
[Read by Sneha Mathan]
The Story of Mankind revolutionized former methods of telling history. It received the first Newberry Medal award for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Nevertheless, critics and public alike hailed it as a book for all ages. Van Loon recounts history as living news, relating everything in the past to the present. He writes informally, making world history wonderfully alive and exciting.
Of this book the author writes, ''The entrance of America upon the scene of international politics as the most important actor, destined to 'play the lead' for the next five hundred years, convinced me that proper and reasonable understanding of historical cause and effect was the most important factor in the lives of the rising generation. And so my book treats the entire history of the human race as a single unit. It begins with the dim and hardly understood realm of the earliest past; it can be continued forever.''
Review: Anyone who can chronicle world history from 500,000 B.C. to present times--and do so in a lively, entertaining style--deserves a medal. Luckily, the bestowers of the very first Newbery Medal in 1922 thought so, too. The warm, personable tone of Hendrik Willem van Loon's writing lends itself to true learning in a way that stern, dry textbooks never do. In the introduction, he describes climbing a tower in Rotterdam in his youth. Years later, the perspective at the top inspired the author to develop a metaphor of history as a "mighty Tower of Experience, which Time has built amidst the endless fields of bygone ages."
This genuinely enjoyable charmer, for history buffs and the historically challenged alike, covers human history from prehistoric times, when our earliest ancestors were learning to communicate with grunts, right through to the issues of the latter 20th century: gay rights, Arab-Israeli conflicts, and health and fitness. Revised and updated several times since 1921, van Loon's inviting classic is filled with stories (and witty parenthetical asides) that bring history alive. His pen-and-ink illustrations, maps, and animated chronology contribute to the cozy, round the fireplace aspect of the book. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter
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