The Story of Mankind (A Liveright Book)

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9780871401564: The Story of Mankind (A Liveright Book)
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The Story of Mankind, van Loon's renowned classic--originally published in 1921--was the winner of the first John Newbery Medal. With warmth, simplicity and wisdom, The Story of Mankind sweeps from the origins of human life to contemporary times. Drawings and maps.

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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

From the Back Cover:

It was intended for children, and of course much of the science is hopelessly out of date, but this ambitious, even audacious attempt to offer an overview of the entirety of human history remains a breathtaking work today. A 1921 bestseller, The Story of Mankind won the first Newbery Medal in 1922, and it is no wonder: the book--which begins with the origin of life itself on our planet and the arrival of the earliest protohumans on the scene and ends with "The Last Fifty Years, Including Several Explanations and an Apology"--is abundant with an offbeat charm and packed with the author's own beautiful illustrations and maps that are alive with a fresh, delectable humor. As a document of early modern science writing, it is invaluable. As a delightfully entertaining read, it is not to be missed.

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