Book Review #256
The Story Of Mankind by Hendrik Willem Van Loon
Rating: zero stars (out of four)
I struggled through 408 pages of this book and have actually been reading it for the past several weeks, only it has felt like months. I really wanted to finish this book because it was the First Newbery Medal, but I had to force myself to sit down and read it and my family was starting to wonder why I was putting myself through such misery.
From almost the first page of this book I was getting annoyed, the facts were boring and put in such a patronizing way that I was immediately irked. The story of Moses was horrific. It felt like the author had taken the whole story and chopped it up into little pieces and then only used a couple of the bigger pieces for this book, making it a different and inaccurate story that didn't even make sense because of the left-out parts. I was very disgusted with his rendition.
I couldn't stand the tone that the author used throughout the story, he was constantly telling the reader that he was getting ahead of himself and that you would hear about those people in the "next couple of pages" that you just had to be patient. Um, excuse me, but you are the one that is getting ahead of yourself, I am not sitting here reading the book going, "why on earth isn't he telling me about the romans?" No, I am just reading what is on the page and having the author tell me that he's going to get to that story, "a bit later" just makes me angry when I read it every chapter.
I was not pleased with this book in the least and I know that I would never recommend it. Mostly though, I was so disappointed that this is the first Newbery Medal. It was definitely a let down from all the wonderful Newbery books I've read.