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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your…

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got… (1995)

by James W. Loewen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
This was an enjoyable book that displays the underlying politics of printing a History textbook. Along with that, the book also discusses the whitewashing of history to preserve the status quo and not hurt feelings. It does this by alluding to things but not explicitly stating them in 18 high school level history texts that the author reviews. The texts referred to spread lies and outright misinformation. It almost seems as though taking High School Level United States History is a massive waste of time and resources.

This is further illustrated by the fact that once these students get to college, they commonly have to unlearn what they have learned. Rather than understanding that History is pretty much guesswork from primary sources, they are taught that Rote recitation of facts and dates is the only thing necessary to be a historian or to prove that you know history at all. There are many scholars that just throw up their hands and admit that they don't know.

Most of the books reviewed have a few problems; they are commonly over 600 pages in length, they focus on the wrong idea, they misrepresent the facts, and worst of all they make history seem boring.

So one of the things that history books do is remove the flaws from former Statesmen or Presidents. Take Woodrow Wilson for instance. There is no doubt that he did a lot of good things, but Wilson was also a horrible and unapologetic racist. He was the one that started Segregation in the Federal Government and indirectly encouraged the KKK. He also instituted the Federal Income Tax, so you have Wilson to thank for that too if you don't like Taxes in the US Government.

Talking about Columbus doesn't count since I already knew how much of a terrible person he was. In any case, if you only read your High School History text, this will be an illuminating and enjoyable experience. I really wish I could remember the Textbook that I used as a Sophomore in High School, but that is neither here nor there. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
I'm nearly 5 hours into this book and he's still ranting about how the Indians were mistreated. Got it. Do you have any other points? Don't know, too bored to continue. ( )
  SSolheim | Jan 4, 2019 |
I was excited to read this book and was completely let down. The author is just as inaccurate and deceptive with his wording as the history books he tries to refute. That being said did he do this intentionally or out of ignorance or perhaps he has his own agenda? Whatever it may be, it was a huge disappointment and I'm sorry I bought it. ( )
  VhartPowers | Dec 27, 2018 |
I appreciate having someone who is willing to share the whole story, even if it isn't always popular. I may not agree with all of Mr. Loewen's reasons for why our textbooks so often get it wrong, but I agree with him completely that they are doing our children (and ourselves) a huge disservice by doing so. ( )
  snotbottom | Sep 19, 2018 |
I hated history until a friend gave this to me. It changed not only my outlook on the topic, but developed my perspective on life, society, and my country. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Sep 9, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Loewen, James W.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keeler, BrianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It would be better not to know so many things than to know so many things that are not so. — Felix Okoye
American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it. — James Baldwin
Concealment of the historical truth is a crime against the people. — Gen. Petro G. Grigorenko, samizdat letter to a history journal, c. 1975, USSR
Those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat the eleventh grade. — James W. Loewen
Dedicated to all American history teachers who teach against their textbooks (and their ranks are growing)
First words
High school students hate history.
Which came first, civilization or the wilderness?
Students who have taken more mathematics courses are more proficient at math than other students. The same is true in English, foreign language studies, and almost every other subject. Only in history is stupidity the result of more, not less, schooling.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This LT Work is the original edition of James Loewen's book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (2007). Please do not combine it with the completely revised and updated edition (2007). Thank you.
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Introduction: Something has gone very wrong--
Handicapped by history: the process of hero-making --
1493: the true importance of Christopher Columbus --
Truth about the first Thanksgiving --
Red eyes --
"Gone with the wind": the invisibility of racism in American history textbooks --
John Brown and Abraham Lincoln: the invisibility of antiracism in American history textbooks--
Land of opportunity--
Watching big brother: what textbooks teach about the federal government--
See no evil: choosing not to look at the War in Vietnam --
Down the memory hole: the disappearance of the recent past --
Progress is our most important product--
Why is history taught like this? --
What is the result of teaching history like this? --
Afterword: The future lies ahead--and what to do about them.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684818868, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Criticizes the way history is presented in current textbooks, and suggests a more accurate approach to teaching American history.

» see all 3 descriptions

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