Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Revised and Updated Edition
Prices for book: Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Revised and Updated Edition
Book ISBN: 9781595583260
Author(s): James W. Loewen
Document type: Trade Cloth
Loading latest prices, please wait
This is a revisionist history rant by a left wing sociologist. Loewn, and Zinn, who praises the book, are well known dissenters. They believe any and all dissent is good, regardless of whether it is true to the facts or not. And facts may be fabricated, sources misrepresented, to support their 'progressive' self-loathing drivel.
A Better Bargain than Toilet Tissue
The author's premise is that grade school history textbooks fail to accurately or adequately address all facets of history. The examples cited by the author are good evidence for that premise.
But this book is also a great example of the author's ideologically biased view of history. In as much as one can judge a book by its cover, a lot can be said about what to expect from this book by reviewing the author's biography on Wikipedia or by scanning the dust jacket and the first few pages of the book. The author's other works include "Social Science in the Courtroom," and "A Hidden Dimension of American Racism." Flip to the back for a photograph of the author, looking pensive, with a douchey whaler's beard.
Thus it is no surprise that the author is upset about the "lies" told around Columbus, My Lai, and the war in Iraq, among the other talking points straight from the apologist's playbook. Apparently there are no "lies" to be found when history books put European Americans or the United States in an unfavorable light.
This book is almost the antithesis of the "Politically Incorrect Guide to American History." The author of that book, Dr. Thomas E Woods, has a CV as impressive as Dr. Loewen, but an opposite perspective. I leave it to the reader to evaluate the author's objectivity.
Yes, it is wrong to omit or under represent key facts from history. It is equally wrong to lose all objectivity when recommending a solution.
The author's premise is good
The author does his best to encourage those who may have been discouraged by their high school history books to re-investigate this great subject. He has valid points, including the tendency to ethno-centrism, as well as a lack of honest discussion about the failures of the United States, in history textbooks. He also criticizes the tendency to use 'historical fiction' in textbooks as a teaching tool. While I believe that historical fiction is very valuable, I don't believe that that kind of subjectivism ought to be presented in textbooks.
My criticisms are that the author has a tendency to sway back to his sociological roots. At times he criticize the textbooks for not including enough sociology, which, as history textbooks, is not their purpose, in my opinion. He also writes from a left-wing viewpoint, which is acceptable as long as the reader recognizes the author's bias.
I recommend that you read this book to increase your knowledge about our great country, both its successes and failures. Just be aware of the author's subject and political viewpoints, and take everything with a grain of salt.
S. Sell (Amazon.com)
Loewen's Own Lies
The first thing you need to be aware of before reading this book is that Loewen has a proctologist view of America. Once you understand this the purpose of his writing becomes clear. Also, Loewen is a sociologist, not a historian. Loewen's inconsistencies are the biggest problem. He spends the first half of the book condemning history books for having too much information. Then he spends the second half of the book condemning history books for what they leave out. What he is really upset about is that most history books do not match his interpretation of history. He thinks that items like Woodrow Wilson in WWI are useless, but instead Wilson should be presented as a racist. It isn't really lies he talks about, but events in history that do not match his view. There are plenty of lies Loewen could mention; myths about McCarthy, F.D.R., Kennedy, and even Nixon, but because they do not match his view of the US they are left out. Instead he goes on and on about the lack of importance of historical events traditionally in history book (the lies), and the events that he believes are important that should replace the traditional. He also fails to mention that if you take any college course in history you will get all of these negative perspectives and more. He talks as if alternative perspectives are somehow repressed in history class, as a history teacher I can tell you they are not. They are celebrated.
W. Baker (Amazon.com)
Herofication of the Undeserving
Prior to the abrupt dismissal of Columbus Day as a school holiday, I ignorantly believed that certain historical facts remained constant. Furthermore, I recall a sense of confusion and anger as I reconciled Columbus' tale. In stark contrast with findings from recent publications, my edification suggested that the courageous explorer was rather exceptional; after all, at that time, he was the only person who believed that the Earth was spherically shaped, or so I thought. While analyzing the teaching of American History, James W. Loewen, exemplifies such false archetypes in his factual book, Lies My Teacher Told Me (1996). By comparatively analyzing the curriculum of a dozen American History textbooks, as well as their respective accounts of Columbus' existence, the totality of his research concluded that American History textbooks: offend minority groups, overlook alternative viewpoints, glorify predominant ideologies, while validating their respective subscribers.
Loewen goes on to assert that these falsehoods are a result of history textbooks, published with a primary objective: to convey history while minimizing controversial themes and depictions. Essentially, this bland curriculum ensures a higher volume of sales, while inadvertently resulting in the conception and propagation of false archetypes (misconstrued bits of history). Exemplifying the effects of these false archetypes, Malcolm X's disinterest for curriculum produced by the "collective white man", parallels the apathetic effect presented by Loewen to illustrate the disinterest in schools today. Overall, I was most impressed with Loewen's rationale, suggesting that authors, who claim Columbus as being a scholar, consequently propagate a dangerous archetype, which states, "those who direct collective enterprises are more intelligent than their subordinates." Loewen's book is highly beneficial when it comes to critically evaluating historical episodes and their underlying basis. After reading this book, it seems that we are all victims of an inaccurate account of history and though we can attempt to better understand what really happened, we will always remain dubious to the truth!
Venkatesh Naidu (Amazon.com)
Look no further! You will find millions of the best cheap books online right here. Whether you're searching for used college textbooks, used books, new books or used textbooks for sale we have it!
* Shipping will vary in such stores. Consult the store's website for details.
^ This item is part of an auction and its price might go up at anytime.