display | more...
Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W Loewen. ISBN: 0684818868

An expose on how history textbooks--especially those for high school students--have played fast and loose with the truth of American history, mainly by selective omission.

For instance, this book mentions the role of the plagues in decimating the native Americans, that John Brown was not crazy and was fully aware that fighting for the slaves might be a doomed venture, that many of the wars fought and NOT fought have been directly attributable to America's interests in that region (primarily oil), and explains that the people of the Alamo were fighting for the freedom to own slaves.

The author is a history professor, James Loewen, who also wrote The Truth About Columbus, which is also a chapter of this book.

I didn't know:

Loewen basically looks at 10 US high school history textbooks and deconstructs their information. His basic thesis is that history textbook writers are encouraged to lie to maintain a myth of America that is simply foolish. An excellent read.
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

I don't know about the rest of this, but this one is pure drivel. I've read more than one biography of Woodrow Wilson (not glowing ones, either, he's not looked back on with much fondness) and he was certainly not a white supremacist. He was a pain-in-the-ass moral straight arrow and he bungled the post-WWI negotiations (leading directly to WWII), but he wasn't a white supremacist.

He did have some disagreements with his party (Democrats) and the way they conducted business in the south, and I suppose this is where this kooky author gets the twisted idea that he was a white supremacist. As for the League of Nations, that's a very long story with a lot of politics, but no single individual from any nation got to personally veto anything.

Look at it this way, if you were writing a book about lies in other history books, wouldn't you be looking as hard as possible for ways to justify outrageous claims about historical figures?

Slavery has not been Abolished!
This was the first idea that I thought of when I read the title for this book review.
One of the things that I know that my teachers lied to me about is the content and intent of the 13th amendment to the US Constitution.
The 13th Amendment, adopted in 1865, reads as follows:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Upon reading this, it is clear to me that slavery has *not* been abolished, but merely restricted to governmental usage.
At the same time that the United States was lambasting China for using slave-labor in their manufacturing, the United States was doing the very same thing.
The moral of this story is:
Get caught smoking marijuana and you go work for your "Uncle". "Uncle Sam" that is.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.