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48 Liberal Lies About American History: (That You Probably Learned in School) Hardcover – September 4, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Textbooks have long served as a main battlefield in the culture wars and the latest salvo comes from Schweikart, a history professor at the University of Dayton (A Patriot's History of the United States), who examines leading American history texts and other books that he sees as purveying a distinctly slanted view of American history—one that portrays the United States as oppressive, imperialistic, and evil. Each lie is deliberated in a brief essay. A chapter on the notion that FDR knew in advance that the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor focuses largely on countering Robert Stinnett's Day of Deceit. The belief that Columbus was responsible for killing millions of Indians (drivel) is, he says, based on faulty statistics. In examining the belief that Richard Nixon sent burglars into the Watergate office complex, the author accepts G. Gordon Liddy's account of events over John Dean's. Regarding the Rosenbergs, Schweikart cites Soviet documents proving they were indeed spies. Schweikart marshals an arsenal of statistics and scholarly studies, and while his own biases will limit his reach, he offers an object lesson in the need for scrupulous balance in the writing of history textbooks. (Sept. 4)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Larry Schweikart is the co-author of A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror, and is a professor of history at the University of Dayton. He has written more than 20 books on national defense, business, and financial history.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sentinel HC; First Edition edition (September 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595230513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595230515
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It's been some time since I read this book, so I'm not going to comment on it in detail, but I will share a thought that I had when reading it. The title and premise of the book reflect something we are seeing too much of from both the Right and the Left; the use of the word "lie" as a synonym for "any statement I disagree with". A more appropriate, if less catchy title would have been "48 Liberal Views About American History I Think Are Wrong". As I recall, I agreed with Schweikart that many of the ideas he describes as "lies" are mistaken, or at least open to serious dispute. But they are not "lies" unless the liberals making the statements know *themselves* that the statements are false, and make the statements anyway. I doubt that this is the case; I think all or most of the views Schweikart criticizes are sincerely, even if mistakenly, held by liberals.
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Format: Hardcover
While I think the title of the book is needlessly provocative, I think this a very useful book for anyone who has been subjected to the kind of indoctrination that passes for history education in too many of our public schools and colleges. If you are looking for some quick information on these four dozen issues, this can help you pass on some solid information that probably runs counter to what your friends believe is so. I said the title is needlessly provocative because not all liberals buy into the points of view this book argues against. However, Larry Schweikart is correct that there is a general cultural agenda that supports the liberal view of things. He starts off each article with two or three short quotes from liberal histories that are countered in that article.

The articles cover notions of America's role in the world since the founding, the issues in the various wars we have fought, what FDR knew about Pearl Harbor, Truman and the Atomic Bomb, the JFK assassination, Reagan, key liberal causes such as Sacco and Vanzetti, the Rosenbergs, the Scopes Trial, Columbus and the death of millions of Indians, that pesky wall between Church and State, Women's Rights in early American, the Settling of America and the Indians, and the Robber Barons. Modern issues such as Iraq, 9/11, Global Warming, Media Bias, Educational Bias, and the social theories about our Constitution are also covered. Schweikart admits that saying that the 9/11 conspiracy nuts are liberal is a stretch, but he says he wanted to head off the kind of shoulder shrugs modern texts give to the JFK assassination conspiracy nonsense.

The articles are all relatively short and pack a punch.
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Format: Hardcover
I love doing these reviews. I particularly love the lack of anonymity for most who post their opinions. It is as easy as clicking a link to see the other opinions folks have offered. You can often find that seeing what folks have said about other things is very revealing.

The bottom line is that this book discusses events and issues that have room for the consideration of viewpoints outside the current popular conclusion.

As with any work like this, the proof is in the bibliography. What are the writers sources? Are they primary sources? While you may not agree with some of the conclusions based on the evidence, the author in this case at least makes points that you can follow. You might even go so far as to see how the author has come to his conclusions, even if you do not agree with him.

That is what the free exchange of ideas is all about. Let me suggest that some of the power of the book is not limited to what you are going to specifically read, but rather the books listed as sources that you might want to track down yourself.

For the extremists out there that have just completely attacked this book, let me just suggest that readers simply do a quick click on other opinions written by those folks to get a feel for their bias. In just about every case, you will find that the detractors have a consistent and often intellectually dishonest track record of praising only extreme left offerings (in many cases ones which we now know were filled mostly with incorrect information).

In this case, the author loses a star for some occasionally stale or lackluster writing. However, he does do a good job of keeping your attention on what he is talking about and walking you through his conclusions with references.
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Format: Hardcover
Professor Schweikart has written a valuable and timely book. He takes on rampant political correctness in the writing of history texts and comes through with a five star performance. He is an expert on U. S. economic history but his breadth is apparent when he takes on standard leftist biases in diplomatic history as well as political history. One interesting thing Schweikart notices is that often a liberal slant will emerge on a topic and become entrenched in the texts. Then other historians will test the liberal idea and find many facts to contradict it. However, the history texts do not make the corrections and the bias is passed on to future generations. Schweikart shows this to be the case in the view of the motives in writing the Constitution and also in the Sacco and Vanzetti case (among others). Schweikart is an expert on economic history, but is very capable when exposing biases on Ronald Reagan, JFK, and LBJ. His emphasis is on modern U. S. history, but he is also excellent describing the first Thanksgiving, Thomas Jefferson, and the Mexican and Spanish American Wars.
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