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Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus (A Subversively True Poster Book for a Dubiously Celebratory Occasion) Paperback – June 19, 1992

3.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A perfect antidote for the nonsense about Columbus conveyed to our children for generations."
—Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"Absolutely indispensable for at least the next hundred years. This book is a real Discovery and a real Exploration."
—Ariel Dorfman, Walter Hines Page Chair of Literature and Latin American Studies, Duke University

"Every teacher in America could benefit by reading this fine work."
—Bill Bigelow, Co-Editor, Rethinking Columbus

About the Author

James W. Loewen is the bestselling author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, Lies Across America, and Sundown Towns, all available from The New Press, among many other books and articles. He is a regular contributor to the History Channel's History magazine. Loewen is a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Vermont and lives in Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press; 1st edition (June 19, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565840089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565840089
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,113,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James W. Loewen is the bestselling author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America. He is a regular contributor to the History Channel's History magazine and is a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Vermont. He resides in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Everything by the author is well researched, thought provoking, and tells us things we don't want to hear but need to.
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Format: Paperback
What exactly is "history"? Most people would answer, "It's what happened in the past." Some might be more specific and say, "It's the study of what happened in the past." But only a fraction would accurately describe it as "the historian's interpretation of what happened in the past." This is the central question of both James Loewen's best-selling "Lies My Teacher Told Me", and his new book focusing on Columbus.

Up until approximately 50 years ago, history was all about great men and great events. But in their zeal to present iconic figures like Washington and Jefferson as persons to emulate, historians often went too far, portraying them as infallible demi-gods, and great events such as Columbus' discovery of America were always told in the most heroic fashion. But then in the 1960s, reflecting the attitude of the times, the pendulum began to swing back. Suddenly the great figures in American history had all become ambitious opportunists with self-serving ulterior motives. Historians began writing more and more about the long-neglected area of social history, focusing on women and minorities and the downtrodden. James Loewen is clearly a product of this new era of historical thought. As such, he never misses a chance to interpret Columbus' actions in the worst possible light, or ascribe to him the basest of motives.

I am a revisionist historian myself, and I recently wrote a novel about the American Revolution from the point of view of one of the great scoundrels in American history, in which I take a less-than-heroic look at the Founding Fathers.
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Slightly disappointed in this book. I thought it would be a lot thicker. It doesn't have a ton of pages (probably less than (50) and it's very thin. It comes with a free poster inside which has a ton of information and pictures on it, like you would see in a classroom. Wish it had more pages, the author is great! I recommend this book and all of his other books in the LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME Series. It was packaged in clear wrap.
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Format: Paperback
The whole time I read this book, I could only think of the recent (February 2015) movement by Oklahoma lawmakers that banned certain AP history courses because they didn't teach "American' exceptionalism". If there were ever a case of needing a book in American classrooms, this is it and Oklahoma just proved it. I feel this book should most certainly be required for ALL history teachers (and probably for all Oklahoma lawmakers!). The fact that, according to the book, so many teachers of history are ignorant on this subject is frightening. As a teacher (although not of history), I know this to be true. Many teacher's programs do not focus on giving teachers relevant information so much as indoctrinating them into whatever current educational philosophy is in swing. For the past fifteen years, testing has been in vogue and true academic thought and research have gone out the window as American teachers strive to teach kids to bubble in the right answer. This book does what a book should: makes you think and question and argue and rage. And, then think some more.

This is NOT a book of revisionist history, but rather a book of actual history. While many of the stories were old news to me (heinous Christopher Columbus and the genocide of American Indians, for example), many of the items in the book were new for me to read about. That scared me quite a bit. I like to think of myself as an armchair historian, but clearly I've not been getting the full story. It was so disappointing and disheartening to read about the Vietnam War, a topic I have never been taught and only know about from the news. The beauty of the book isn't that it necessarily rewrites American history; rather, it is the questioning the book causes.
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Kind of a "two themes in one" analysis - the brutality and impact of the Columbus voyage and its aftermath on the millions of Americans already living in the Caribbean, intertwined with a devastating critique of what our textbooks say and don't say about that history. The reader should come away with a striking example of how important facts and events become a subjective narrative, how a story can evolve over time, and why much of the history taught in schools is nothing short of propaganda. (Plus you get this big wall poster pointing out various Columbus myths...)
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Many primary sources are cited. This is a great guide that would be especially useful for teachers.
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Format: Paperback
I have read excerpts of this book and I am amazed to find it is a rational antidote to any kind of racial malice.

I am not American but I learnt a lot about America from books, films, friends, and my 2 months accumulated travel in America (Hawaii, California, Colorado).

It is in few countries, including America, that you could have a contrarian view that is allowed to be spread and prosper. It is a reflection of great strength of a great country...and being able to absorb different perspectives to accumulate as knowledge for humanity.

If you want more of an alternative history of America, read "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West" by Dee Brown. I was in Colorado when I was recommended this book by a "white american" and immediately bought it. The American Wild West came alive from within its pages. The book seems to show the Native American point of view from extensive use of original source documents to retell the stories as it happened...but most of the original source documents are written by White Settlers and American officers and infantrymen.
This fact alone, gives me hope that current American global hegemony, while often trampling on many people, is not all a conspiracy but more a matter of badly managed incompetence resulting in collateral damage. Like an elephant trampling through the forest, the elephant is just rambling along, totally oblivious to any damage being done along its path.

Of course, its people like James W. Loewen and Dee Brown who want their fellow countrymen to be aware that there is good reason for the backlash they sometimes experience.

A must see is "Geronimo: An American Legend", a movie based on one of the chapters from Wounded Knee.
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