The Story of Mankind

The Story of Mankind

by Hendrik van Loon

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WHEN I was twelve or thirteen years old, an uncle of mine who gave me my love for books and pictures promised to take me upon a memorable expedition. I was to go with him to the top of the tower of Old Saint Lawrence in Rotterdam.

And so, one fine day, a sexton with a key as large as that of Saint Peter opened a mysterious door. "Ring the bell," he said, "when you come back and want to get out," and with a great grinding of rusty old hinges he separated us from the noise of the busy street and locked us into a world of new and strange experiences.

For the first time in my life I was confronted by the phenomenon of audible silence. When we had climbed the first flight of stairs, I added another discovery to my limited knowledge of natural phenomena that of tangible darkness. A match showed us where the upward road continued. We went to the next floor and then to the next and the next until I had lost count and then there came still another floor, and suddenly we had plenty of light. This floor was on an even height with the roof of the church, and it was used as a storeroom. Covered with many inches of dust, there lay the abandoned symbols of a venerable faith which had been discarded by the good people of the city many years ago. That which had meant life and death to our ancestors was here reduced to junk and rubbish. The industrious rat had built his nest among the carved images and the ever watchful spider had opened up shop between the outspread arms of a kindly saint.

The next floor showed us from where we had derived our light. Enormous open windows with heavy iron bars made the high and barren room the roosting place of hundreds of pigeons. The wind blew through the iron bars and the air was filled with a weird and pleasing music. It was the noise of the town below us, but a noise which had been purified and cleansed by the distance. The rumbling of heavy carts and the clinking of horses' hoofs, the winding of cranes and pulleys, the hissing sound of the patient steam which had been set to do the work of man in a thousand different ways they had all been blended into a softly rustling whisper which provided a beautiful background for the trembling cooing of the pigeons.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420963786
Publisher: Neeland Media
Publication date: 08/27/2019
Pages: 366
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.82(d)

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The story of mankind 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is impossible to read this on the nook. Most characters appear wrong. I think all these badly formatted books should be made unavailable (or else reformatted)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really like this book because it tells a ton of interesting stuff about history. If your a history nut you'll love this book. I got interested in it because i love Newberry Award Books and this book won the very first Newberry Award In 1922.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are so many errors in text and format so it us nearly impossible to be read on any nook :( good thing it was free
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, this digitized copy is too unreadable to be useful. May 2012
flyingmonkey5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I may riff from Lady Caroline Lamb, this book is mad, bad and dangerous to read. I wouldn't have bothered to finish, but I working on all of the Newberys so I suffered through. This is terrible history. Biased, racist, Euro-centric and paternalistic; I would hate to think that someone would read this and think they know more about history. Van Loon provides opinion without any attempt at impartiality.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I saved the worst for last. My final Newbery and what a struggle it was to get through it! This is the story of the history of the world through the ages, written for a young audience. It is said to have been amended and updated and added to, but, if that is so, I can only shudder to think of the awful book that this book was originally. It is, in its present form, chock full of cruel opinions and mean asides about various peoples and their actions through the ages. I had considered keeping this book for my library, but, having read it, I cannot do it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This copy is unreadable not that hard to fix a scan before offering to customers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book that was just... AMAZING!!!! It was also the very first newberry award winner, and im reading all of the winners in chronological order so this is how I found this book! Im reccomending this to everyone I know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg such a good book and i would totally recomend readu,ing it for a book report or project in school!
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