Books: Silent Sea

THE STORY OF THE PACIFIC—Hendrik Willem Van Loon—Harcourt, Brace ($3).

Hendrik Willem Van Loon is a big, cheerful, childlike Dutchman with a flair for historical baby talk. He illustrates his genial versions of the horrors of human history with squiggly, screwy pen-&-ink drawings; spices them with amiable prejudices (sample prejudices: against Bushmen, missionaries, Painter Paul Gauguin). In 1921 Author Van Loon hit his historical stride with The Story of Mankind. Last week he confined himself to The Story of the Pacific.

For readers to whom, as geography or politics, the Pacific is still a great waste of water filled with hidden reefs,...

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