Lies My Teacher Told Me
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 interesti...more
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Almost everyone knew the world was round before 1492. Columbus's main reason for traveling to the new world to find gold, and he was responsible for killing, torturing and enslaving natives by the millions. Eight million in Haiti alone were reduced to 200 within 60 ...more
“Lies My Teacher Told Me” is for anyone who has ever fallen asleep in history class."
Mr. Loewen’s premise is that history textbooks have been presented to portray a slanted, optimistic and patriotic “dumbed-down” view of America, because this suits the needs of the conservative white people who sit on the textbook adoption boards. By critiquing 12 highly used American History textbooks, the author su ...more
This book is so important to read.
I do not know if there is any other field of knowledge which suffers so badly as history from the sheer blind repetitions that occur year after year, and from book to book.
History is a subject that I haven't taken since high school. Because I, like so many others, found it incredibly boring. I grew up in Canada but largel ...more
The author of this book, a teacher and researcher of history, started looking into this. He'd found among his high school and college students an appalling level of ignorance ...more
But more importantly, and far more interestingly, this book is an indictment of how American history is taught. As the book went forward, even I found myself thinking "yep, that's what I was taught" and wondering if I would have found American history less boring had it ...more
It's a real eye opener, and while you may have a superficial knowledge of some of the events and trends that we were never taught,or taught in such a way that the real issues were glossed over, this book delves into them in depth.
I would highly recommend this book, even if you are not into history.
1. That it is not weird that I hated history/social studies in high school, but now find it interesting.
2. That textbook "authors" can't be bothered to do their own research, so all the textbooks tell the same apocryphal stories (George Washington and the cherry tree, the first Thanksgiving, Columbus as all-round good guy, the US as "international good-guy peacekeeper, with NO ulterior motives), making every factoid on every page suspect.
3. That our history is f ...more
In it, Loewen, a college professor, is constantly frustrated by how little his young, incoming freshmen know about history. So, in the late 90s he wrote a scathing investigation of the most common history textbooks used in secondary classes. He details how poorly these textbooks link events, leaving students ...more
In the 1992 version of this book, Loewen took a close look at the 12 most widely used history textbooks and discovered that their true purpose was less to educate American students about the entirety of their history but instead to acc ...more
First of all, I'm not an American and was not put through the American school system, which means I have no first hand experience of the standard of history teaching referred to by James Loewen. I'm British and count myself extremely fortunate to have attended a very good school at home.
Secondly, I am aware that history in many countries is twisted a little for either feelgood or nationalist purposes, depending on how you choose to ...more
i think the author has a great overall point. especially since my mom is navajo and was raised as a baby in tuba city, az. but c'mon. does anyone out there still believe the shite printed during the cold war anyway?
some of the examples in the book are pure sensationalistic crap. that's ok, it's no worse than the religious right's crap and in this case much more interesting and less mystical.
i find it just as hard to bite at each 'fact' given in this book when the author ...more
This book is very good on a few levels ... It takes the textbook publishers to task for their weak glossing over of American history, and it emphasizes the use of primary documents, which are important and often underutilized by lame teachers. It is also (verbosely) summarizes some very valid criticisms of the general treatment textbooks and by extension, some high school teach ...more
I've read (and enjoyed) some pretty dry non-fiction in my time, but I found this a bit of a drag. In addition, I already knew most of the shocking untruths that were revealed to us.
I feel like this book would only be really beneficial to people who really weren't paying attention, but those people ar ...more
Impartial and unbiased accounts are very difficult. Not even modern day journalists can execute their jobs with the utmost objectivity. It is intangib ...more
Loewen spent a decade reviewing 12 popular high school h ...more
Starts off strong with some alarming but not unheard of characterizations about Senor Columbus, the Founding Fathers and their slaves (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness indeed), witch trials and civil rights struggles and then devolves into the author’s crusading for text book reform. His points are valid to any objective historian but the length to which he goes belaboring these inequalities bec ...more
Did your teacher or college professor ever tell you that Christopher Columbus is not really the hero we all thought, and responsible for genicide of a million people in Haiti, as he "claimed" that territory for Spain? Did you know that Helen Keller was a communist and fought for a socialist America throughout her lifetime, risking charges of treason? Did you know American Indians died off in droves from diseases Europeans brought over on thei ...more