Jack Kirby and the X-man's Reviews > The Story of Mankind

The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon
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it was ok
bookshelves: didn-t-finish, 1920s, author-us, award-us-ala-newbery-winner, childrens, history, library_book, nonfiction
Recommended to Jack Kirby and the X-man by: Children's Books Group

I only got up to page 75 of this 500+ page book... Why, well basically there are a lot better books out there to spend my time reading.

I feel that if I were an 8-12 year old in 1921 I would have really loved this book. With a school librarian as a mother I'm sure I would have been introduced to it, and I would have lapped it up. I liked how accessable the writing style was (but it is now difficult to determine what the author included as jokes, and what was really believed). The short chapters were great - meaning an approapriate time between 'lights out at the end of the chapter' and actual sleep.

The history presented in the book may have been up-to-date in 1921 (maybe) but certainly the same book written with what we know now would be different. The weird mix of religion and history would be replaced by hard(ish) historical facts. Important areas missed by Van Loon would be incorporated - things like the modern understanding of the evolution of Homo sapiens, our better understanding of prehistory (Stone, Iron and Bronze Age), the importance of the Agricultural Revolution in the development of Civilisations. Also the strong focus on Mediterranean civilisations would be broadened to include a stronger focus on the pre-Colombian American civilisations (Aztec, Maya, Inca, etc), a stronger focus on the Chinese, the Ankor civilisation of South East Asia, etc, etc. I think that if this book had a complete rewrite taking these factors into consideration then I'd pick it up in a flash.


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Reading Progress

February 1, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
February 23, 2009 – Shelved as: 1920s
February 23, 2009 – Shelved as: author-us
February 23, 2009 – Shelved as: award-us-ala-newbery-winner
February 23, 2009 – Shelved as: childrens
February 23, 2009 – Shelved as: history
February 23, 2009 – Shelved as: library_book
February 23, 2009 – Shelved as: nonfiction
February 23, 2009 – Finished Reading
April 14, 2017 – Shelved as: didn-t-finish

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