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

by James W. Loewen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5046434,769 (3.99)82
Criticizes the way history is presented in current textbooks, and suggests a fresh and more accurate approach to teaching American history.
  1. 30
    A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (kellyholmes)
  2. 30
    Don't Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis (kaelirenee)
  3. 20
    A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki (themephi)
  4. 10
    The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox by Stephen Budiansky (Othemts)
  5. 10
    How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr (pammab)
    pammab: Immerwahr focuses on history outside the continental US and how everyone in the world conveniently forgets how much US population and territory existed outside the mainland, through telling stories that never made it into the American canon. Immerwahr's book is a much better structured book to my mind than Lies My Teacher Told Me; it has an overarching thesis, and each of the chapters have a subthesis that is well-substantiated and argued. It goes beyond the thrust of Loewen's book, which felt to me like a collection of mostly unrelated facts strung together with nothing more than the idea of "filing off complexities".… (more)
  6. 11
    The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (themephi)
  7. 11
    The Truth (with jokes) by Al Franken (mikeg2)

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» See also 82 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Good base level on why American history classes are fucked, annoyingly milquetoast about its own conclusions at times, bizzarely tries to equate existing white supremacist history courses with hypothetical textbooks that suggest "black people invented everything and white people invented slavery" (which if anything is closer to the truth than what is currently taught). ( )
  robinmusubi | Jun 5, 2020 |
Labai išsamus JAV istorijos vadovėlių turinio tyrimas su įžvalgomis apie tokio turinio poveikį amerikiečių su(si)vokimui.
Sužinojau daug naujo apie Amerikos istoriją.
Būtų įdomu, jei kas padarytų tokią analizę lietuviškų vadovėlių :) ( )
  mantvius | Aug 29, 2016 |
I was hoping it would have more information I didn't know. Some of the information on Woodrow Wilson was new. But I'm already familiar with the information on the Pilgrims, Native American's and the plagues, the founding fathers owning slaves.

I found it light on history information. It was way to preachy. Every chapter he reiterates his feelings on how bad history is taught, why it matters and how it should be changed. I got it the first time. I didn't need over and over and over again. ( )
  nx74defiant | Jul 15, 2016 |
My rating says more about me than it does about the book. One of the key points I've come away from the book with is that I'm not part of the target audience. This book is written for Americans. Those who have gone through or are going through the US education system. Coming from a different country I wasn't raised on US history. Everything I've learned I've had to research myself thereby getting round the majority of problems this book talks about.

I can't say the Australian history I learned in school is free from all the same sort of problems but I do believe it was much better.

This book was interesting but I could only recommend it to those who have experienced the US education system or are interested in it. If you're just interested in actual US history there are books out there which would serve better. ( )
  Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
A decent look at some of the stories behind the stories - the things that don't make it into high school history textbooks. Although bound to be controversial among those who want to keep history clean and tidy, it isn't necessary to accept everything the author says in order to find the stories fascinating and thought provoking. This book just might lead you to do a little further digging on your own, and that can never be a bad thing. ( )
  Devil_llama | May 8, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

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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This LT Work is the original edition of James Loewen's book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (1995). Please do not combine it with either the completely revised and updated edition (2007) or the later new edition (2018). Thank you.
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Criticizes the way history is presented in current textbooks, and suggests a fresh and more accurate approach to teaching American history.

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Book description
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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