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The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Van Loon


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I am browsing curriculum for next year and was looking at History Odyssey Level 2 Ancients-- and for the required reading it lists this book as 'polarizing' and therefore optional. Can anyone tell me why?

Has anyone who has completed this curriculum know if it is do-able with a different reference spine, like SOTW Ancients (I know that is more of a grammar stage book and might not work)?

Edited by JessBurs
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I haven't read The Story of Mankind, but my son started it at the beginning of the year, got a few chapters in, and hated it. We're subbing in readings from the series The World in Ancient Times from Oxford University Press. I found most of the volumes used on eBay at a substantial discount. It does require a little extra work from me, but I've found it pretty simple to look at the HO guide and correlate appropriate readings. 

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  • JessBurs changed the title to The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Van Loon

I can think of three things that could be polarising, just by looking at the description (I've never read it):


1) The original was written in 1921, thus may have some ideas that have either been debunked or ceased to be mainstream. I do not, however, know what those things could be.

2) The book emphasises civilisation-changing events and character portraits. Some people prefer different emphases in their history.

3) The author intermingled personal anecdotes with the general history. Some people consider that method of doing history unacceptable. Others might allow for the method, but disagree with the opinions those anecdotes implied, or the connections made between anecdote and historical event.


Unfortunately, I cannot answer your other questions.

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