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156584100x Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen. New York. 1995. New Press. 372 pages. Cover illustration by Jeff Danziger. 156584100x.

 

Not only a revealing look some forgotten American history, but at how American history has traditionally been taught in our schools.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

High School students hate history. When they list their favorite subjects, history always comes in last. They consider it 'the most irrelevant' of twenty-one school subjects; 'bo-o-o-oring' is the adjective most often applied. James Loewen spent two years at the Smithsonian Institution surveying twelve leading high school textbooks of American history. What he found was an embarrassing amalgam of bland optimism, blind patriotism, and misinformation pure and simple, weighing in at an average of four-and-a-half pounds and 888 pages. In response he has written LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME, in part a telling critique of existing textbooks but, more importantly, a wonderful retelling of American history as it should - and could -be taught to American students. Beginning with pre-Columbian American history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, and the My Lai massacre, Loewen supplies the conflict, the suspense, unresolved drama, and connection with current-day issues so appallingly missing from textbook accounts. A treat to read and a serious critique of American education, LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME is for anyone who has ever fallen asleep in history class.

 

 

Loewen James W American Book Award-winner James W. Loewen taught race relations at the University of Vermont. In addition to Lies My Teacher Told Me, he has written The Truth About Columbus, and (with Charles Salles) Mississippi: Conflict and Change, the first integrated state history textbook. He lives in Washington, D.C.

 


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