From the 1910s until his death, Van Loon wrote many books, illustrating them himself. Most widely known among these is The Story of Mankind, a history of the world especially for children, which won the first Newbery Medal in 1922. The book was later updated by Van Loon and has continued to be updated, first by his son and later by other historians.
However, he also wrote many other very popular books aimed at young adults. As a writer he was known for emphasizing crucial historical events and giving a complete picture of individual characters, as well as the role of the arts in history. He also had an informal and thought-provoking style which, particularly in The Story of Mankind, included personal anecdotes.
After having revisited Germany many times in the 1920s, he was banned from the country when the Nazis came to power. His 1938 book Our Battle, Being One Man's Answer to "My Battle" by Adolf Hitler earned him the respect of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in whose 1940 presidential campaign he worked, calling on US-Americans to fight totalitarianism.
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