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2,338 of 2,484 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for any Student of American History
As a conservative white male who views revisionist history quite skeptically, I did not expect much from this book. As a student of American history, I understood what a woeful job our textbooks and (unfortunately) our teachers do in teaching the actual history of this country, but I never expected both the depth and the level of scholarship Mr. Loewen presents in this...
Published on August 6, 2001

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329 of 391 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent content, excruciating delivery
My initial impression of this was very positive. I was appalled at how much I did not know of my own history. Worse, I am dismayed at how much my ignorance affects my understanding of current affairs. The Haitian response to recent hurricane relief efforts makes much more sense now that I know how recently we invaded that country. I was grateful and enthusiastic at...
Published on April 6, 2010 by Michael Rossander


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2,338 of 2,484 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for any Student of American History, August 6, 2001
By A Customer
As a conservative white male who views revisionist history quite skeptically, I did not expect much from this book. As a student of American history, I understood what a woeful job our textbooks and (unfortunately) our teachers do in teaching the actual history of this country, but I never expected both the depth and the level of scholarship Mr. Loewen presents in this book. It is well researched, well written and much needed. Having grown up near an Indian reservation, my own personal studies in original sources confirm how accurate Mr. Loewen really is. The book is hardly "political correctness" run amuck as suggested by one review. And his point is not to paint America as evil or bash Christian Europeans as two other reviews would lead us to believe. This type of simple minded attack does not tell us anything about the book, but rather betrays the reviewers' own entrenched viewpoints - viewpoints that certainly will not be changed by exposure to the truth. In fact, the criticisms make Mr. Loewen's point almost better than he can as to why history is taught in feel-good myths rather than truth. Yes, Mr. Loewen treats certain issues and not others. He tells us he is doing so several times throughout the book, and makes apologies for it. This is not intended to be a replacement for a full history of the United States. Mr. Loewen makes good and valid suggestions as to such replacements. It is not even intended to be a complete coverage of all the things our history texts get wrong. He would need several more volumes for that, and even then would get some of it wrong. For those who actually read the book (and many reviewers obviously did not), he admits all of this. Mr. Loewen's book is an important start. But it is only a start. One reviewer, in criticising the book, stated that we must learn from our past. But this is exactly the point of the book. We must and can learn from our past, but only if we have the objectivity and moral courage to accept what that past was. As a white Christian Anglo-Saxon male, I feel no need to beat myself up as a result of the deeds done by white Christian Anglo-Saxon males who are long dead. But I do feel the need to move forward with as good an understanding as I can have of the cultural and personal histories that cause people to act as they do - especially those whose backgrounds are so different from my own.
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696 of 738 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why kids hate history (but shouldn't have to), May 5, 2009
By 
History Man (Potomac, Maryland USA) - See all my reviews
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This is a real eye-opener to anyone who thinks they learned about U.S. history in high school. Loewen spent eleven years reviewing the 12 most commonly-used U.S. history textbooks and found all to be seriously wanting. Textbook publishers want to avoid controversy (so, apparently, do many school systems), so they feed students a white-washed, non-controversial, over-simplified version of this country's history and its most important historical figures.

To make his point, Loewen emphasizes the "dark side" of U.S. history, because that's the part that's missing from our education system. So, for example, we never learned that Woodrow Wilson ran one of the most racist administrations in history and helped to set back progress in race relations that had begun after the Civil War. Helen Keller's socialist leanings and political views are omitted and we only learn that she overcame blindness and deafness. John Brown is portrayed as a wild-eyed nut who ran amok until he was caught and hanged, rather than an eloquent and dedicated abolitionist who uttered many of the same words and thoughts that Lincoln later expressed.

Loewen's book vividly illustrates the maxim that "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Ignorance of our real history also renders us incapable of fully understanding the present and coming to grips with the issues of our time. For example, from the Civil War until around 1890, real racial progress was underway in the United States and civil rights laws were Federally enforced in the South. The military was integrated and former slaves had the right to vote, serve on juries and as witnesses in trials, own property and operate businesses. They also received mandatory public education, which was automatically extended to white children for the first time in the south. But, between 1890 and 1920, the Feds gradually disengaged and allowed southern racist governments to strip these rights from blacks and relegate them to virtual non-citizenship. Only within the last half-century has that policy been gradually reversed, again through Federal intervention. This history casts current racial attitudes and issues in a different light than most of our high school graduates are likely to see unless they are taught the complete history of their country, warts and all.

Despite some of the reviews posted here, it is clear to me that Loewen is NOT out to bash the United States or offer up an equally one-dimensional, negative version of its history. He gives a balanced account of many of the figures whose weaknesses he exposes. Thus, we learn that, although Columbus was an unimaginative fortune hunter, a racist tyrant and slave trader, he (and Spain) were not much different than most people at the time. He points out that all societies, including Native Americans and Africans, kept slaves, for example (the very antithesis of "revisionist" or "post modern" approaches) and that it is unfair to single out Columbus as singularly evil.

The problem is that our kids never learn both sides of these stories, so history becomes a bland repetition of non-confrontational "events" that appear to have had no or vague causes. Historical events are not related to issues that people disputed or serious conflicts that placed them at irreversable odds with one another, the very stuff that drives history. No wonder kids are bored and uninterested. They are left with the distorted impression that, down deep, the United States always means well (rather than acting in its own best interests, like any other country) and, in the end, is always "right." With that view of our history, these students become putty in the hands of politicians who appeal to that dumbed-down, distorted view.

Loewen has presented fair accounts of key events in our history and indicated why our high school graduates know and care so little about it. He also suggests ways to correct this serioius shortcoming and every American ought to applaud that.
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340 of 370 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest History Does NOT Diminish America in Any Way, January 15, 2003
By 
Maginot "It Just Doesn't Matter" (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
In this superb book, James Loewen argues what most Americans have understood since childhood, namely that our American History textbooks, are, boring, theme-driven, inaccurate and largely ineffective at imparting the richness of their subject. While the book�s title and argument may seem like a leftist gerrymander, they are not. Loewen, a professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont (who spent several years analyzing ten high school American History textbooks totaling more than 8,000 pages), is not out to reverse the traditional cast of heroes and villains in American history. Instead, Loewen advocates an honest and inclusive history that simply reveals events as they actually happened. While this may expose some dark truths about �heroic� people and events in American history, and may cast historical �villains� in a new light, Loewen does not believe it will cause students to despise their country. On the contrary, he argues that revealing conflicts and problems that our text books ignore or conceal will make American history come alive and will almost certainly enhance students� appreciation for their country. Ironically, while many textbook editors and teachers fear that altering their inaccurate and theme-driven content will cause students to despise their country, they miss the fact that this is precisely what the specious, vapid nature of the textbooks already accomplishes. Some of Loewen�s interesting observations are contained below:
COLUMBUS
Columbus was almost certainly not the first European to discover or colonize North America. He tortured and mutilated the native population of Haiti and eventually exterminated it by working the inhabitants to death searching for gold. All of these facts are available in the journals of Columbus and his colleagues.
NATIVE AMERICANS
Prior to the arrival of white settlers, North America was thickly settled with tens of millions of Indian tribes that formed a complex civilization consisting of advanced agricultural techniques (guess where white settlers learned it from), trade, roads, villages, and government. The white settlers wiped out most of these people at first inadvertently by spreading disease, and then deliberately through wars of extermination. History text books often present Indians as sparse, primitive, violent (it was actually white people who scalped Indians), and inevitable victims of progress.
RECONSTRUCTION
For more than one hundred years, history textbooks have characterized post-Civil War Reconstruction as a combination of white corruption and black ineptitude. Few mention that the ultimate cause of Reconstruction�s failure was the terrorism that some white southerners perpetrated against black people and white�s who favored reconstruction. Many of the so called carpetbaggers and scallywags were in fact anti racists who attempted to help rebuild the south along egalitarian lines. And when given even minimal opportunities (most of which were subsequently dismantled by the government), blacks were able to build successful businesses and to win the Kentucky Derby a few times.
LABOR AND SOCIAL CLASSES
High school textbooks never admit that America even has social classes. They treat labor problems as something that happened a long time ago and which the government fixed of its own good will.
PROGRESS
The textbooks also present the United States as the vanguard of social progress while failing to admit that many of the social issues we still strive for such as equality between men and women have already been accomplished by other nations or people in history.
CIVIL RIGHTS
According to American history text books, the government spontaneously decided to give civil rights to blacks and other oppressed minorities, but this decision did not result from a populist struggle that was initially met with state sponsored violence and brutality.
VIETNAM
Similarly U.S. history textbooks argued that the Vietnam War sort of happened and sort of ended. They don�t examine why the U.S. got involved in the war and why it stopped fighting. They also overlook the brutality of the war that was waged largely against civilians on whom the United States dropped three times as much bomb tonnage as all theatres of World War II combined including Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
WHY IS HISTORY TAUGHT THIS WAY
Perhaps the most fascinating part of Loewen�s book is his examination of why high school history books are permeated with boredom and lies. Surprisingly, Loewen does not blame this phenomenon on the power elite that ultimately controls the publication of these books. Instead, Loewen concludes that a number of damaging, but less insidious processes are at work. For example, since many history teachers don�t really know their subject, they are afraid to challenge or teach outside of the textbooks, which become a source of pedagogical authority. Even qualified and highly motivated teachers are often afraid to deviate from the textbook because they believe that failing to paint a rosy picture of America will somehow hurt students. Finally, there is the textbook publishing industry that is understandably motivated to sell books more than it is to tell the truth.
Loewen correctly concludes that when you unmask many of the lies in U.S. History text books, America does not suddenly become odious, and while people like Columbus may become more controversial, they are not transformed into villains. Instead American history is full of conflict that displays the richness and fascination of its history. Concealing and distorting this conflict is sort of like telling a child that his/her parents are perfect. The child will not only get bored with these themes but will quickly learn that they are false. If the child learns that his/her parents made mistakes, then far from hating them, the child will probably appreciate their humanity and learn more from them. History is the same way.
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139 of 154 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important book to read, but..., June 22, 2010
This review is from: Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (Hardcover)
This is one of the books that changed the way I look at history and modern current events. So much of what I thought I knew about American History was overturned or cast in a new light, and some aspects of modern life make a lot more sense now. At times it can feel like you're getting beaten over the head with negativity, but if you can get past that you'll gain some valuable knowledge and insight. It's well worth the read.

Loewen makes a very good point that we shouldn't unthinkingly accept what textbooks teach us, but we shouldn't unthinkingly accept what Loewen teaches us either. He's not immune from his own historical misrepresentations and simplifications in service of making his point. I'm a liberal and his digs at Bush Sr. were tiresome even to me. The whole truth isn't here--the whole truth is best learned from multiple books, sources, and viewpoints. But, please don't let the above criticism stop you from reading. This book gives a great starting-off place for finding out more of the whole truth about American History.
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84 of 96 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A noble attempt, but just more bias from a postmodern angle, December 27, 2001
By A Customer
As a historian, I found Lies My Teacher told me an informative and fascinating book. However, I do have problems with a number of things. On the one hand, it is comendable of Loewen that he brings to light many of the actual situations and circumstances of American history. Teaching the beauty and the horror of American history is a necessity. However, my problems with the book are more with Loewen's objectivity and research methodology. Loewen is pushing for a more objective, truthful teaching of American History, yet it seems very difficult for him to remain objective in the the presentation of the facts. He uses polemical and inflamatory remarks as in stating that George Bush was born with a silver senate seat in his mouth. Or the use of the word persecute in regards to Wilson's relationship with the IWW. A person who is pushing for a more truthful, objective teaching of history should work a bit harder to not let his own left leaning bias enter his work.
Another problem is with his research methodology. He commits a fairly large blunder in the very begining of the book in stating that many of the early settlers of New Mexico were Jews from Spain trying to escape the inquisition. Unfortunately the historical facts regarding Jews hiding from the inquisition in New Mexico have turned out to by largely myth and hoax. Yet Loewen presents it as fact.
Along with this and a number of other places, Loewen cites magazine interviews and articles among other more respectable citations as the basis for historical fact. My contention is that if you are going to make a historical assertion in a book about history, you need to back it up with more than a magazine article. An example of this is the statement that the Reagan/Bush administration attempted to reprise the racial policies of the Wilson administration. This is an extremely provocative assertion and the work Loewen cites to back this up is an interview in Modern Maturity magazine with Studs Terkel. So in reality there is no historical basis for the statement. It is simply Loewen's opinion.
As much as I liked the book and many of the sources Loewen cites for the basis of the book, I am disappointed with Loewen's inability to remain objective in preventing his own bias from influencing the facts he is presenting. The list of works cited in creating the book read as a who's who of historians and authors who basically hold to the same social and political agenda as Mr. Loewen. There is a desperate need to dismantle the heroic mythology of American history and present reality and fact. However, the sad irony is that in attempting to dismatle the heroic/traditionalist bias of much of American history, Loewen commits the same errores in bias, but from the opposite end of the political arena.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great First Half, Good Second Half, March 6, 2005
I loved the first half of Lies, which is basically just "Interesting Things You May Not Have Known About American History."

The second half is more theoretical, though -- it focuses largely on *why* certain things are seldom taught in High School. While the author's arguments are good, they're stretched out and sometimes repetitious. And they're simply not as gripping as the first-hand accounts of grave-robbing pilgrims, etc, that fill earlier chapters.

Incidentally, don't believe the reviews that say Lies is anti-white-male: the author explicitly asserts that freedom-loving people have good reason to admire Thoreau, Lincoln, John Brown, and even the racist Woodrow Wilson, not to mention thousands of unsung individuals of all races.

Loewen also clearly states that he is calling for textbooks simply to HAVE a point of view, whether it is left- or right-wing. He is arguing against mere compendiums of unrelated facts, characterized by passive sentences like "War broke out." On this point he even approvingly quotes the conservative Lynne Cheney (Dick's wife). Above all, he is calling for textbooks that cover less ground in greater detail, and which encourage critical thinking.

He even notes that, despite his best efforts, there are bound to be mistakes in his own book; that it's right to point them out; and that he is continually learning and revising his own ideas -- which is what high-school history students should be doing as well.

Definitely worth reading.
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150 of 176 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for parents and educators., December 26, 2000
In *Lies My Teacher Told Me*, sociologist James W. Loewen looks at twelve popular American history textbooks used in public high schools today and concludes that they are inexcusably inaccurate and biased. He shows that, in addition to their being sloppy and error-prone due to incompetence, textbooks oversimplify historical facts and causes, obscure the process by which historical interpretations are made and revised over time, perpetuate national myths and even willfully lie. Often, Loewen reveals, this is done in the service of promoting blind patriotism in students or in capitulation to various interest groups and other pressures that work to undermine the professionalism and integrity of the textbook industry itself. A multitude of examples from actual textbooks used today will likely disabuse many lay readers--including many high school teachers, according to cited studies of their expertise in their own field--of cherished but wrong beliefs.
Some readers will object to Loewen's obvious "liberal bias." There is a case to be made for this. I, for one, would like to see a deconstruction of textbooks' pervasive anti-capitalistic mentality. Is it honest history, for example, to mention the antitrust suit against Standard Oil but not to mention the fact that its business practices did not harm consumers but benefited them? Or that many of the reforms of the Progressive Era--the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act, to name but two--were lobbied for by "big business" (appropriate here, but what a loaded term!) to throttle their competitors? Or that there is more than one theory of the causes of the Great Depression--and that Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal only prolonged it?
But, no matter. Such criticisms are beside the point. False and careless statements like "President Truman 'easily settled' the Korean War by dropping the atomic bomb"--a real example from a textbook--are simply not open to dispute on grounds of ideology. And while some of Loewen's other examples of textbook distortion (or his proposed remedies) are questionable, enough are valid that he makes his general case. All of us, liberals, conservatives or otherwise, should be able to agree that to teach a one-dimensional, "Disney version of history" (as Loewen calls it), in which complexities and controversies are smoothed over or ignored and students' understanding of causality in history is impaired, is plain wrong.
Loewen also tries--and not necessarily with an outsider's perspective, as he himself is a high school history textbook author, who knows firsthand the near futility of publishing a textbook of integrity--to explain the causes of our American history textbook troubles. In this connection, I must say that the *Booklist* editorial review that Amazon.com has posted to this webpage is misleading. The review states that "To account for the deplorable situation, he [Loewen] 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.'" But even Dr. Loewen is not *that* bad. Contrary to the review's implication, he ultimately dismisses this "elitist" explanation as an oversimplification, stating that "power elite theories may credit the upper class with more power, unity, and conscious self-interest than it has." He then discusses other explanations, such as the way textbooks are chosen--often by state-appointed adoption boards, which are sensitive to organized interest groups out to promote textbooks that further their own agendas, and which never have time to read 800+-page textbooks, in any case. Blame is also laid on textbook publishers, which have a financial incentive to copy success (i.e., traditional, mediocre textbooks) and to refrain from rocking the boat by being original and, thus, possibly arousing controversy; textbook authors, who for a variety of reasons have no incentive to do quality work; and teachers, many of whom aren't as expert in their subject as they should be or are afraid (not without good reason) of getting into trouble with parents and administrators should they teach against the book. Loewen's full account, which is fairly complex and discerning, of the various factors that interact to produce our high school American history textbooks, I leave for the reader to examine.
In closing, I would like to observe, in regard to the aforementioned ridiculous review by *Booklist*, that if one looks at *Booklist's* webpage, one sees that the publication itself is responsible for the review of textbooks that are used in public schools. Given this fact, the disrespectful, dismissive, even dishonest, treatment it accords *Lies My Teacher Told Me* should not surprise us. How ironic it is that Dr. Loewen's point has been made for him here, in this very forum, by his opponents.
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329 of 391 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent content, excruciating delivery, April 6, 2010
By 
My initial impression of this was very positive. I was appalled at how much I did not know of my own history. Worse, I am dismayed at how much my ignorance affects my understanding of current affairs. The Haitian response to recent hurricane relief efforts makes much more sense now that I know how recently we invaded that country. I was grateful and enthusiastic at getting a new perspective on history.

The fascinating historical content, however, was undercut by the repetitive and pedantic delivery. High school history textbooks are inadequate - okay, I got that after the first fifteen times. I don't need to be beaten over the head with endless quotes proving and reproving the point.

This was not so much a corrective history as a diatribe against history textbook authors. Rants have a place but that's not what I hoped to get from the text.

I also found the author to be a bit hypocritical in his criticisms. He repeatedly accuses textbook authors of having a single reason (heroficiation) for their biased and inadequate coverage. He never strays from his own narrative that the textbook authors are bigots. He never acknowledges that, like history, the real story is probably more complex - that a textbook may be inadequate without the textbook author being evil.

For example, he repeatedly berates the textbooks for oversimplifying and removing controversy. He argues persuasively that textbooks need more and deeper content. That's a wonderful ideal - if you are unconstrained by space, teaching capacity or time. Real textbooks have practical limits on the feasible size and scope and are written for a specific audience. These are high-school texts, after all, not graduate-level material. The material is meant to be digested in one class of one year by students with a reading level that's... Well, that's a different rant. My point is that history textbooks must take the available time, reading level and cognitive skills of the students as a given. Some simplification is essential. High school physics textbooks include lots of simplifying assumptions and reduced detail which college texts then revisit, correct and expand upon. That doesn't make the high school versions evil or inadequate - merely appropriate to their respective audiences. The author of this seemingly endless rant never suggests how a teacher can realistically get through his proposed version of the material in the classtime available.

Could the high school textbook authors do a better job? Absolutely. Is this the recipe to doing it better? Hardly. This book defines the problem but offers little in the way of practical solution to the better teaching of history. Personally, I would have been much happier with a Cliff Notes version of this book that presented the historical content and context without all the editorializing about textbook failings.
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103 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well-researched Roasting of Textbooks, June 24, 2002
By 
Jonathan Marin (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
The author, a professor at the University of Vermont, spent ten years exhaustively analyzing and fact-checking the twelve American History textbooks most widely used in U.S. high schools. He documents hundreds of errors, distortions, disputed hypotheses presented as fact, critical omissions, and outright fabrications. These flaws are partly due to slipshod work by second-rate historians and by publishers' employees who are not historians at all. For the most part, however, they are systematic -- well-chosen in service of an agenda of boosterism. Regarding America, its government, and its pantheon of heroes, the rule seems to be: If you can't say something nice, don't say it. The textbooks are intended as propaganda; that is why it is fair for the author to call the flaws "lies".
Why should students bother studying history at all? Among the reasons must be their development as citizens, their understanding of live present day issues, and their ability to evaluate sensibly the claims of politicians and others advocating causes.
In the interest of developing good patriotic citizens, the texts ignore or paper over anything that might reflect badly on government or invite questioning of authority. From Columbus to Viet Nam, they treat history as the annals of the acts of government and benign authority. Their idea of good citizenship seems to be: pay taxes, vote regularly, and support the actions of government. Chronologically as they were enacted, they present Emancipation, women's suffrage, child labor laws, and civil rights laws as if they had been foreordained and inevitable. They ignore the struggles that led up to them, and eschew any suggestion that the efforts of the Abolitionists, Suffragettes, labor organizers, or civil rights workers might have helped bring them about, or that these people had effectively exercised their rights as citizens.
Race is an aspect of many live issues and is itself a live issue, at least in the sense of white fear of black violence and black fear of white prejudice. But from the end of Reconstruction on, practically anything to do with race is taboo in the texts. Students' first and only exposure to segregation, Brown v Board of Education, enables the books to dismiss it as a thing of the past -- a rather peculiar attitude for a history book. Loewen exhaustively documents the pervasive, official antiblack racism that lasted from the end of reconstruction until the 1930s and beyond. He provides countless instances of racist laws and incidents, sufficient to support the generalization that a black had no rights that a white was obliged to respect. The textbooks omit any reference to any of this. The author emphasizes the disempowering effects these omissions and distortions have on black students, but I believe that they know better; the really harmful effect is on the white students. Absent any knowledge of the history of racism, the whites have no basis for understanding blacks' suspicion of white motives and of government; they can be expected to dismiss the concerns as groundless and irrational, and forgiven for doing so.
It is impossible in a short review to do justice to this wonderful book. The section on the texts' treatment of John Brown is alone worth the price. Some readers will find many of its opinions too "PC" for their tastes, but the facts are there for you to draw your own conclusions. Some readers may find the endless catalog of facts and errors a bit tedious. Strong conclusions require strong evidence, however, and America's American History textbooks warrant very strong conclusions indeed.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping children in a bubble, May 31, 2005
By 
E. David Swan (Denver, Colorado USA) - See all my reviews
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The title is a bit of a misnomer. The real title should be `Omissions in Twelve History Textbooks'. At this point most Americans know that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had slaves but few probably realize than Patrick "Give me liberty or give me death" Henry also owned slave. It's no secret that Columbus was unkind to indigenous people but the depth of his brutality is still shocking. Mr. Loewen kicks over the shiny stone of carefully crafted American mythology to reveal the mud and worms beneath. Beyond just glossing over character flaws many history books create such blandness as when several popular textbooks describe the debate between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas focusing on their attire and posture ignoring the content of their speeches.

History books aren't simply glossing over details. They are omitting THE defining characteristic of American history that being the pursuit of hegemony, first continental then global. Without understanding the primary American foreign policy how can Americans understand why the U.S. would engage in the destabilization of democratically elected governments and assassinations of leaders? In Iran, for instance the United States helped to overthrow PM Massadegh and install the despised and oppressive shah. This kind of stuff happens all the time particularly in Central and South America and the Middle East meanwhile uninformed Americans cry out `why do they hate us?'. The history books also omit causation as if things just happen as in `...and war broke out' as if war were a rash that occasionally flares up without reason. History is about causation and context and students are taught neither,

The central problem, as Mr. Loewen points out, comes from the very structure of our education system. History is the most politically charged of all subjects in primary education. One person's hero is another person's heel. Northern states may prefer the term "Civil War" while Southerners prefer "War between the states" or even "War for southern independence". In order to satisfy all potential markets history books are written bland like elevator music neither castigating true villainy nor celebrating actual heroes. The good news is that history books have improved to some extent although it's more a reflection of changing attitudes in society and acceptance of some of the more unpalatable details of our past.

What impressed me the most about this book was how complete it is. While I was reading the book I thought about related topics and before the book was over Mr. Loewen ended up touching on each one. For instance he mentions the absurd afro-centrism which was intended to empower young blacks but instead credited blacks with creating everything good while whites were left creating only slavery and theft. The book also mentions the various right wing groups that unashamedly work towards creating a sanitized history. He even mentions Lynne Cheney by name. Meanwhile in an age where information is increasingly accessible it's becoming quite naïve to believe that students can be kept in bubble. Instead students are becoming cynical and disinterested which may explain why teaching history is often being relegated to gym teachers.
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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
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