1996 American Book Award
Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship
Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 1996 American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship
Americans have lost touch with their history, and in this thought-provoking book, Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying twelve 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 ten powerful chapters, Loewen reveals that:
- The United States dropped three times as many tons of explosives in Vietman as it dropped in all theaters of World War II, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Ponce de Leon went to Florida mainly to capture Native Americans as slaves for Hispaniola, not to find the mythical fountain of youth
- Woodrow Wilson, known as a progressive leader, was in fact a white supremacist who personally vetoed a clause on racial equality in the Covenant of the League of Nations
- The first colony to legalize slavery was not Virginia but Massachusetts
From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring to it the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.
"One of the virtues of Loewen's book is that in addition to highlighting some subjects the textbooks neglect, he also examines the topics they emphasize."
San Jose Mercury News
"Every history teacher in the land (including Professor Gingrich) needs to read this book."
"Readers interested in history, whether liberal or conservative, professional or layperson, will find food for thought here."
About the Author
James W. Loewen
James W. Loewen is professor of sociology at the University of Vermont. He is coauthor of the first integrated state-history textbook,
Mississippi: Conflict and Change, and creator of The Truth About Columbus: A Subversively True Poster Book for a Dubiously
Table of Contents
Introduction: Something Has Gone Very Wrong
1 Handicapped by History: The Process of Hero-making
2 1493: The True Importance of Christopher Columbus
5 The Truth about the First Thanksgiving
4 Red Eyes
5 "Gone with the Wind": The Invisibility of Racism in American History Textbooks
6 John Brown and Abraham Lincoln: The Invisibility of Antiracism in American History Textbooks
7 The Land of Opportunity
8 Watching Big Brother: What Textbooks Teach about the Federal Government
9 Down the Memory Hole: The Disappearance of the Recent Past
10 Progress Is Our Most Important Product
11 Why Is History Taught Like This?
12 What Is the Result of Teaching History Like This?
Afterword: The Future Lies Ahead -- and What to Do about Them