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Van Loon's Story of Mankind


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#1 mo2

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 03:21 PM

I see that History Odyssey uses this in their Level 2 books. Can anyone tell me more about it? Is it secular? Fairly unbiased? What ages for read alone or read aloud?

Thanks.

#2 plain jane

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 03:35 PM

You can download the audiobook here. The printed version is available online here. :)

I'm not much help with your questions but I hope this will help you with making some decisions. :)

#3 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 03:50 PM

It was originally written in the twenties and was seeking to explain forces in the post WWI world. That should be kept in mind, it focuses almost exclusively on European history. It's been updated several times, some versions are badly edited from what I gather. My version has drawings (not all versions do, the original had drawings) and has been updated through the year 2000 (and some corrections made) by a Yale professor. I'd say the later bits are somewhat left-leaning. eta: It is different than the online version linked above. There are complaints online that some versions are badly edited. The ISBN for my version is: 978-0-87140-175-5

It is secular and there are many complaints out there that he gets bits of Jewish and Catholic history (in particular) wrong and/or doesn't explain them fully enough. You would probably need to supplement those areas from another historical perspective. Even if you aren't religious, religion has had a major impact on world history. I haven't directly compared the complaints to my version of the book, but we did use other resources.

I'd say most kids could read it alone by age 11, with some discussions, as always with history books. :)

Edited by Mrs Mungo, 21 June 2010 - 03:57 PM.


#4 mo2

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 04:29 PM

Thank you for the help.

#5 calandalsmom

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 04:37 PM

It is notably because it is also the first Newbery Award winner.

#6 Spy Car

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 05:57 PM

It is a wildly inaccurate "history" book, but I don't want to talk about it ;)

Bill

#7 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 06:03 PM

Bill,

Would you mind telling me the specific problems you had with this book and which version you read (the online version, above, is a quite a bit different from the one I own)? Via PM, of course. ;)

#8 WishboneDawn

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 06:12 PM

I have Van Loom's book and Gombrich's A Little History of the World. If there's a choice I'd choose Gombrich's book any day.

Van Loom is charming but Gombrich is absolutely magical. It was also updated by Gombrich late in the last century so you won't be stuck with too much in the way of outdated information.

I'm honestly not sure why Gombrich isn't one of the darlings of this board. :) He should be up there with Singapore Math and MCT.

#9 mo2

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 06:20 PM

It is a wildly inaccurate "history" book, but I don't want to talk about it ;)

Bill



Bill,

Would you mind telling me the specific problems you had with this book and which version you read (the online version, above, is a quite a bit different from the one I own)? Via PM, of course. ;)


I am curious too.

I'm honestly not sure why Gombrich isn't one of the darlings of this board. :) He should be up there with Singapore Math and MCT.


I purchased Gombrich's book and do not care for it. I like his conversational style of writing to the child, but I don't like that he assumes his audience to be Christian, and he seems to think that people became *good* after they were introduced to Christianity. I wish I could remember specific quotes but it has been too long since I looked at the book.

#10 Capt_Uhura

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 06:26 PM

After reading some reviews on the Story of Mankind and not knowing enough about history to edit on the fly or catch glaring inaccuracies, and never being sure which edition folks were talking about .... I ditched it. If I use History Odyssey level 2, I will substitute K12's Human Odyssey for Story of Mankind as well as the History in Ancient Times (Is that the correct title?) by Oxford U. Press.

#11 WishboneDawn

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 06:57 PM


I purchased Gombrich's book and do not care for it. I like his conversational style of writing to the child, but I don't like that he assumes his audience to be Christian, and he seems to think that people became *good* after they were introduced to Christianity. I wish I could remember specific quotes but it has been too long since I looked at the book.


I'm going to have to go back and look now. :) I don't remember the Christian stuff but I am Christian so my bias may have gotten in the way although that's unlikely. I'm a fairly prickly liberal Christian so I tend to edit out a lot of what I consider baseless pro-Christian stuff so that may be why I don't remember it as well.

#12 MyFourSons

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:00 PM

I'm going to have to go back and look now. :) I don't remember the Christian stuff but I am Christian so my bias may have gotten in the way although that's unlikely. I'm a fairly prickly liberal Christian so I tend to edit out a lot of what I consider baseless pro-Christian stuff so that may be why I don't remember it as well.


I am waiting for this book (A Little History of the World) to arrive via inter-library loan, so I haven't read it myself, but I did read the reviews on Amazon. From what I gathered, the "pro-Christian" could be misinterpreted because his emphasis was on Western culture. As this is a "Western" history, it is to be expected that large portions will have to include the focus on Christianity as a major influence, since the Church was the dominant force in Europe for a large chunk of that history. Those who defended the book said this was less of a bias and more just putting the historical facts into their proper context. But as I said, I haven't read it myself, so I don't know who is correct.

I do find the Christian bias claims interesting in light of the fact that the author himself was Jewish, and his son went on to become a scholar of Buddhism and a professor of sanskrit.

Edited by MyFourSons, 23 June 2010 - 12:02 PM.


#13 MyFourSons

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:04 PM

I purchased Gombrich's book and do not care for it. I like his conversational style of writing to the child, but I don't like that he assumes his audience to be Christian, and he seems to think that people became *good* after they were introduced to Christianity. I wish I could remember specific quotes but it has been too long since I looked at the book.


This is interesting, especially considering Gombrich came from a Jewish family and fled to England to avoid the Nazi's.

#14 mo2

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:13 PM

This is interesting, especially considering Gombrich came from a Jewish family and fled to England to avoid the Nazi's.



I'm going to have to make time to pull my book out and find some quotes. I'll try to post again later today.

#15 johnandtinagilbert

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:27 PM

It was originally written in the twenties and was seeking to explain forces in the post WWI world. That should be kept in mind, it focuses almost exclusively on European history. It's been updated several times, some versions are badly edited from what I gather. My version has drawings (not all versions do, the original had drawings) and has been updated through the year 2000 (and some corrections made) by a Yale professor. I'd say the later bits are somewhat left-leaning. eta: It is different than the online version linked above. There are complaints online that some versions are badly edited. The ISBN for my version is: 978-0-87140-175-5

It is secular and there are many complaints out there that he gets bits of Jewish and Catholic history (in particular) wrong and/or doesn't explain them fully enough. You would probably need to supplement those areas from another historical perspective. Even if you aren't religious, religion has had a major impact on world history. I haven't directly compared the complaints to my version of the book, but we did use other resources.

I'd say most kids could read it alone by age 11, with some discussions, as always with history books. :)

Thanks. This is a nice perspective that shows neutrality AND personal experience.

#16 WishboneDawn

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:42 PM

This is interesting, especially considering Gombrich came from a Jewish family and fled to England to avoid the Nazi's.


*shrug* You don't have to be a Christian to exhibit a Christian bias.

#17 momto2Cs

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 11:54 AM

I am waiting for this book (A Little History of the World) to arrive via inter-library loan, so I haven't read it myself, but I did read the reviews on Amazon. From what I gathered, the "pro-Christian" could be misinterpreted because his emphasis was on Western culture. As this is a "Western" history, it is to be expected that large portions will have to include the focus on Christianity as a major influence, since the Church was the dominant force in Europe for a large chunk of that history. Those who defended the book said this was less of a bias and more just putting the historical facts into their proper context. But as I said, I haven't read it myself, so I don't know who is correct.

I do find the Christian bias claims interesting in light of the fact that the author himself was Jewish, and his son went on to become a scholar of Buddhism and a professor of sanskrit.


I can't say I noticed that much of a Christian bias either, having read A Little History fairly recently. Yes, there is some focus on the Christian religion and how people thought about it at the time, but as myfoursons said, it is a "Western" history and that was a big part of their world.

#18 4besitos

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 02:24 PM

This book is used in Mater Amabilis for 6th & 7th grade. My son was able to read it alone. As with all history books (and others:001_smile:), we discuss the things that are contradictory to our faith/beliefs. I think it is very hard to find unbiased history books.

#19 MyFourSons

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 03:38 PM

I'm going to have to make time to pull my book out and find some quotes. I'll try to post again later today.



Thank you, I greatly appreciate it! I am trying to find an alternative to A Child's History of the World and I was really hoping this would work.


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