The Story of Mankind revolutionized former methods of telling history. It received the first Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Nevertheless, critics and public alike hailed it as a book for all ages. Van Loon recounts history as living news, relating everything in the past to the present. He writes informally, making world history wonderfully alive and exciting. Of this book the author writes, the entrance of America upon the scene of international politics as the most important actorconvinced me that proper and reasonable understanding of historical cause and effect was the most important factor in the lives of the rising generation. And so my book treats the entire history of the human race as a single unit. It begins with the dim and hardly understood realm of the earliest past; it can be contained forever.