Van Loon's Lives
by Hendrik Willem van Loon Author
Van Loon's Lives is a book by the Dutch-American writer Hendrik Willem van Loon published in 1942. Loosely based on the Classical Plutarch's Lives, it recounts the biographies of various famous historical characters, and like Plutarch often pairing together characters from different times and places whose life, careers or personalities seemed to Van Loon to bear a similarity to each other (e.g. William the Silent and George Washington who led the Wars of Independence of their respective countries; the philosophers Descartes and Emerson; Empress Theodora of Byzantium and Oueen Elizabeth I of England; Torquemada and Robespierre, of both of whom Van Loon had less than a flattering view...). In the book the author imagines he is living in his summer home in the town of Veere on the island of Walcheren in the Dutch province of Zealand. He has the ability to summon the famous (and sometimes infamous) great men and women of history to come to dinner.