Jump to content

- - - - -

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 TEO



  • VibeGuide
  • 24,365 posts

Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:26 PM

Currently reading this book and WOW. Finally U.S. History makes sense. Always felt like something was missing, stuff didn't make sense. Not that I think this book is the ultimate authority, however it presents an interesting perspective.

Not quite half way through and wish I had read this years ago!

"Winner of the 1996 American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship

Americans have lost touch with their history, and in this thought-provoking book, Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying twelve leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past. In ten powerful chapters, Loewen reveals that:

  • The United States dropped three times as many tons of explosives in Vietman as it dropped in all theaters of World War II, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • Ponce de Leon went to Florida mainly to capture Native Americans as slaves for Hispaniola, not to find the mythical fountain of youth
  • Woodrow Wilson, known as a progressive leader, was in fact a white supremacist who personally vetoed a clause on racial equality in the Covenant of the League of Nations
  • The first colony to legalize slavery was not Virginia but Massachusetts

From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring to it the vitality and relevance it truly possesses."


To show a critical review:

From Booklist

When textbook gaffes make news, as with the tome that explained that the Korean War ended when Truman dropped the atom bomb, the expeditious remedy would be to fire the editor. Loewen would rather hire a new team of authors bent on the pursuit of context instead of factoids. In Loewen's ideal text, events and people illuminating the multicultural holy trinity of race, gender, and social class would predominate over the fixation on heroes and acts of government. Such is the mood adopted throughout this critique of 12 American history texts in current use. Vetting 10 topics they commonly address--from the Pilgrims to the Vietnam War--Loewen bewails a long train of alleged omissions and distortions. To account for the deplorable situation, he offers this quasi-Marxist explanation: "Perhaps we are all dupes, manipulated by elite white male capitalists who orchestrate how history is written as part of their scheme to perpetuate their own power and privilege at the expense of the rest of us." Certainly students' appalling ignorance of history is troublesome, and broken families and excessive TV viewing are at least the equals of white male conspirators as the cause. However, libraries located where dissatisfaction with textbooks exists should be interested in Loewen's critique. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

#2 jme

  • VibeTribe
  • 6,095 posts

Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:33 PM

I ordered this after your post to the fBook a few months ago. I got through the forward and whatnot, but haven't yet gotten into the good stuff.

I actually took it off the bookshelf last week. :lol: I might get into in while I'm on vacation next week.

#3 TEO



  • VibeGuide
  • 24,365 posts

Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:38 PM


At some points I am so disgusted I do not want to read any further and at others I do not want to put it down.

#4 alsoa



  • VibeTribe
  • 2,493 posts

Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:42 PM

Another good read, albeit lengthy:

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn