Book Review: The Story of Mankind

by Charlotte Mason

Parents' Review, Vol. 33, 1922 p. 899

Book Review: The Story of Mankind. By Hendrik Van Loon

Dr. Hendrik Van Loon, a Dutch American, has added one other to the notable books of history with which we must credit the United States. It is no slight thing to afford not only a readable but a fascinating review of the history of mankind in less than five hundred well-displayed and well-printed pages. We are told that the author wrote and drew The Story of Mankind for his boys in order that they might find history a fascinating story. We want to hear about the author's 'boys' in order to understand the illustrations which are entirely unconventional and are the sort of thing that a boy would attempt for himself. "Louis XVI. looking over revolutionary Paris from his balcony" proclaims all the pathos of the French Revolution. All England is discovered in the two sentries who watch the coming of the Armada. In fact the art of these illustrations is like that single tooth from which we were told Professor Owen could construct a mammoth.

Every page affords matter for quotation, history told racily, but with that very dignity which he disclaims in his preface, and with wide embracing scholarship which is rarely caught tripping. The 'Animated Chronology' which closes the book will be spelt over with delight by thousands of children the world over. Nor need we speak only of children, grown up people who have been baffled by the vast extent of world history will find here an introduction which will enable them to plant their feet with the pleasure of intimacy upon any section of it which comes their way. A Christmas gift for any member of any family.

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