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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrongby James W. Loewen
Synopses & Reviews
The national bestseller and winner of the American Book Award, thoroughly updated for the first time since its initial publication to include textbooks written since 2000 and featuring a new chapter on what textbooks get wrong about 9/11 and Iraq.
Since its initial publication in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me has gone on to win an American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship, and to sell one million copies in its various editions.
What started out as a survey of the twelve leading American history textbooks has ended up being what the San Francisco Chronicle calls "an extremely convincing plea for truth in education" beginning with the pre-Columbian period and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, and the My Lai massacre.
In this revised and updated edition, James Loewen surveys six new high school history textbooks written since the first edition of Lies was published. In his inimitable style, he adds material to each chapter noting where the new books have gotten more accurate and where they are still fatally flawed. Loewen also writes at length about the way these textbooks treat the 2001 terrorist attacks and our "response" in Iraq. In fact, while researching this new edition Loewen made the front page of the New York Times in 2006 when he discovered that publishers were passing off as original virtually identical passages on important recent events in a number of history books. And in yet another example of the failure of American history textbooks, he found that "celebrity" historians whose names appear as authors in some cases have never read, let alone written, the texts attributed to them.
Winner of the American Book Award and the Oliver C. Cox
Anti-Racism Award of The American Sociological Association
Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen 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 this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today's climate and adds an eye-opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War. From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.
Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers, history buffs, and enlightened citizens across the country.
About the Author
James W. Loewen is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Vermont and the author of Lies Across America and Sundown Towns, both available from The New Press. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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