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Yes, it really is politically correct garbage with some history thrown in
on December 16, 2007
Let me start off by saying that I am liberal. But I have absolutely no patience for intellectual dishonesty, especially not from those teaching history to others. They have a duty to give a fair account of history, as what they teach becomes truth in the minds of those taught history. The perspective of the authors is anything but fair. The authors of this book should be ashamed. Before reading this book for a history course, I read the reviews here. I was hoping that the reviewers claiming this to be liberal propaganda were simply misguided conservatives who take offense at anything conflicting with their world view. Turns out they were right. I realize that many wrongs have been committed by the white majority of society in American history, but this is not all of what history is about.
The authors of this book are staunch supporters of conflict theory. They spend an unfairly large portion of each chapter on the plight of the underprivileged, and especially on minorities and women. The authors seem to view all of society's problems as the fault of the social/governmental/economic system. The concept of personal responsibility apparently is a lost cause. The authors seem to not only subscribe to the social belief of equal opportunity, but also equality of outcome.
Almost every chapter has a large amount of text devoted to the plight of minorities and women. Minorities are always blameless in this book, and the big bad white men can never seem to do anything with moral integrity.
The first chapter of this book, "The Union Reconstructed", is intended to tell the history of the Reconstruction Era, or post Civil-War era. It ends up talking more about the plight of blacks than it does on actual Reconstruction. Every single photograph/painting in this chapter, save for one, has to do with the plight of blacks, usually in the form of being exploited by whites. Ridiculous.
While most other chapters are not this bad, it still sets a tone that will last throughout the book. Near the end of the book, the authors even have the audacity to claim that opposition to affirmative action is rooted in racism (page 1087). If that's not an unfair account of history, then I don't know what is. The authors let their bias cloud the truth, and it is a travesty.
I would also like to note that this last chapter (which tells of the history from 1992-2002) spends not even a full three pages talking about the economy, and then goes on for almost five pages talking about the plight of minorities. Actually, let me break down, page by page, what this chapter discusses, just so you can see how people can get the impression that this isn't a history book, but liberal propaganda. 1074-1077 talks about immigration into the US. 1077-1079 talks about the Census of 2000, where it spends much time talking about... you guessed it, women and minorities. 1079-1081 talk about the economy. 1081-1082 talks about the plight of the lower classes. 1082, 1083, and 1086 talks about "Aging and Illness", which deals with the increase in the elderly population, the health concerns and social pressures that come with that, and the AIDS epidemic. (pages 1084 and 1085 are one of the "Recovering The Past" features which serve to break up the pace of the text a little bit) 1086 to 1092 talks about, what else, minorities and women! A paltry two pages is then spent on the revival of the Democrat party with Bill Clinton. 1093-1095 deal with some general political history. 1095-98 deal with the rise of George W. Bush. 1098-1102 deal with foreign policy. And then a paltry two pages are spent on September 11th, the War of Terrorism, the Afghanistan War, and the impending conflict in Iraq. And, that's the end of the chapter. It's almost as if little happened in the 1990s except blacks getting persecuted! Sounds like a fair telling of history, doesn't it?
Other examples of flagrant unfair history telling is in Chapter 17. The Native Americans are portrayed as this collection of nice little idyllic, Utopian societies that was suddenly torn to pieces by the evil white men. The whites slaughtered the Native Americans while the Native Americans were not guilty of any atrocities. Sorry, this isn't how it happened. There were atrocities on BOTH sides, and yet not once does this text mention any atrocities committed by any Native American tribes. I will concede, however, that the white settlers were probably more at fault than the Native Americans, but the Native American tribes were by no means blameless like this book would like you to think.
"But their bravery and skill could not permanentally withstand the power of the well-supplied, well-armed, and determined U.S. Army." (page 592) Their "bravery and skill"? Give me a break. Another quote: "The [buffalo slaughter], which had claimed 13 million animals by 1883, was disgraceful in retrospect. The Indians considered white men demented. " - page 592. A historian should always strive to have a neutral point of view, not call things "disgraceful".
This book is just completely unbalanced history telling. It conveniently neglects any facts which do not corroborate the authors' racist views. Not enough time is spent on what happened outside of the suffering of minorities and women. The history text that is here skips over all sorts of events, trends, people, and dates so it can fit in more diatribes about the persisting ills of society.