The Story of Mankind

by Hendrik Willem van Loon Author

(From Amazon): History is the mighty Tower of Experience, which Time has built amidst the endless fields of bygone ages. It is no easy task to reach the top of this ancient structure and get the benefit of the full view. There is no elevator, but young feet are strong and it can be done. -Hendrik Van Loon, in the Foreword to The Story of Mankind It was intended for children, and of course much of the science is hopelessly out of date, but this ambitious, even audacious attempt to offer an overview of the entirety of human history remains a breathtaking work today.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. AUTHOR BIO: Dutch-American author and educator Hendrik Willem van Loon (1882-1944) sold more than six million books during his lifetime, including The Story of the Bible (1923), Tolerance (1925), and America (1927). After studies at Harvard, Cornell, and the University of Munich, he had a diverse career as a popular professor of European history at Cornell and of social sciences at Antioch College, an Associated Press correspondent in revolutionary Russia and World War I Belgium, and associate editor of the Baltimore Sun from 1923 to 1924. In appreciation for his dedicated anti-Nazi writing during World War II, he was awarded the Order of Knight of the Netherlands Lion.

Additional Details

Resource Type
Print Status
In Print
Suggested Grades
4th - 8th
Historical Setting
500,000 BC - 2000 AD
Cosimo Classics


  • 1 The Setting of the Stage
  • 2 Our Earliest Ancestors
  • 3 Prehistoric Man Begins to Make Things for Himself
  • 4 The Egyptians Invent the Art of Writing and the Record of History Begins
  • 5 The Beginning of Civilisation in the Valley of the Nile
  • 6 The Rise and Fall of Egypt
  • 7 Mesopotamia, the Second Centre of Eastern Civilisation
  • 8 The Sumerian Nail Writers
  • 9 The Story of Moses, the Leader of the Jewish People
  • 10 The Phoenicians, Who Gave Us Our Alphabet
  • 11 The Indo-European Persians Conquer the Semitic and the Egyptian World
  • 12 The People of the Aegean Sea Carried the Civilisation of Old Asia Into the Wilderness of Europe
  • 13 Meanwhile the Indo-European Tribe of the Hellenes Was Taking Possession of Greece
  • 14 The Greek Cities That Were Really States
  • 15 The Greeks Were the First People to Try the Difficult Experiment of Self-Government
  • 16 How the Greeks Lived
  • 17 The Origins of the Theatre, the First Form of Public Amusement
  • 18 How the Greeks Defended Europe Against an Asiatic Invasion
  • 19 How Athens and Sparta Fought a Long and Disastrous War
  • 20 Alexander the Macedonian Establishes a Greek World-Empire
  • 21 A Short Summary of Chapters 1 to 20
  • 22 The Semitic Colony of Carthage on the Northern Coast of Africa
  • 23 How Rome Happened
  • 24 How the Republic of Rome, After Centuries of Unrest and Revolution, Became an Empire
  • 25 The Story of Joshua of Nazareth, Whom the Greeks Called Jesus
  • 26 The Twilight of Rome
  • 27 How Rome Became the Centre of the Christian World
  • 28 Ahmed, the Camel Driver, Who Became the Prophet of the Arabian Desert
  • 29 How Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, Came to Bear the Title of Emperor
  • 30 Why the People of the Tenth Century Prayed the Lord to Protect Them from the Fury of the Norsemen
  • 31 How Central Europe, Attacked from Three Sides, Became an Armed Camp
  • 32 Chivalry
  • 33 The Strange Double Loyalty of the People of the Middle Ages
  • 34 But All These Different Quarrels Were Forgotten When the Turks Took the Holy Land
  • 35 Why the People of the Middle Ages Said That City Air Is Free Air
  • 36 How the People of the Cities Asserted Their Right to Be Heard in the Royal Councils of Their Country
  • 37 What the People of the Middle Ages Thought of the World in Which They Happened to Live
  • 38 How the Crusades Once More Made the Mediterranean a Busy Centre of Trade
  • 39 People Once More Dared to Be Happy Just Because They Were Alive
  • 40 The People Began to Feel the Need of Giving Expression to Their Newly Discovered Joy of Living
  • 41 But Now That People Had Broken Through the Bonds of Their Narrow Medieval Limitations
  • 42 Concerning Buddha and Confucius
  • 43 The Progress of the Human Race is Best Compared to a Gigantic Pendulum
  • 44 The Age of the Great Religious Controversies
  • 45 How the Struggle Between the Divine Right of Kings and the Less Divine but More Reasonable
  • 46 In France, on the Other Hand, the Divine Right of Kings Continued
  • 47 The Story of the Mysterious Muscovite Empire
  • 48 Russia and Sweden Fought Many Wars to Decide Who Shall Be the Leading Power
  • 49 The Extraordinary Rise of a Little State in a Dreary Part of Northern Germany
  • 50 How the Newly Founded National or Dynastic States of Europe Tried to Make Themselves Rich
  • 51 At the End of the Eighteenth Century Europe Heard Strange Reports
  • 52 The Great French Revolution Proclaims the Principles of Liberty
  • 53 Napoleon
  • 54 As Soon as Napoleon Had Been Sent to St. Helena
  • 55 They Tried to Assure the World an Era of Undisturbed Peace
  • 56 The Love of National Independence, However, Was Too Strong to Be Destroyed
  • 57 But While the People of Europe Were Fighting for Their National Independence
  • 58 The New Engines Were Very Expensive and Only People of Wealth Could Afford Them
  • 59 The General Introduction of Machinery Did Not Bring About the Era of Happiness
  • 60 But the World Had Undergone Another Change
  • 61 A Chapter of Art
  • 62 The Last Fifty Years
  • 63 The Great War
  • 64 As It Ever Shall Be
  • 65 After Seven Years
  • 66 The United States Comes of Age
  • 67 The Axis Partners
  • 68 Isolationism and Appeasement
  • 69 The Atlantic Charter
  • 70 Global War
  • 71 The United Nations
  • 72 A Turbulent Peace
  • 73 An Old Order Gives Way
  • 74 Spaceship Earth
  • 75 The Earth as a Global Village
  • 76 Approaching the Year 2000

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