May 18, 2021
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
Posted by James W. Loewen

Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why After surveying eighteen 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, andAmericans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why After surveying eighteen 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 this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today s climate and adds an eye opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9 11 and the Iraq War From the truth about Columbus s historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers, history buffs, and enlightened citizens across the country.

  • Title: Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
  • Author: James W. Loewen
  • ISBN: 9780684818863
  • Page: 282
  • Format: Paperback
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong Americans have lost touch with their history and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts he has concluded that


    This was a great book The first two thirds gives example after example of the many lies, omissions, and half truths found in American high school history books, and the last third speculates why this has happened Here s one example 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 year [...]


    I originally picked this up several years ago because the blurb on the back cover appealed to me 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 successfu [...]


    Ostensibly, Lies My Teacher Told Me Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Loewen is a book about factual inaccuracies found in a survey of twelve popular History textbooks That s a good hook, but unfortunately once the hook gets you the place it pulls you into is slightly different than what you might expect This book might accurately be titled Subtle Biases Created by Questionable Omissions in A Few Textbooks But that, of course, is not quite as bombastic a title and you [...]

    Pouting Always

    James Loewen reviews the history books commonly used in the US public school system and the factual inaccuracies contained in those books The book goes over many of the common practices in publishing history textbooks especially those concerning sanitizing our history for children and what is appropriate for them to know about our country Before reading this I had never actually thought about my own experiences in school with history but I feel like a lot of what he discusses was really valid an [...]


    This book is a TOTAL eye opener about how we re taught cultural prejudices and distorted American history through classroom textbooks I mean, I m pretty liberal, but the perspective of this author totally opened my eyes to things that I just took for granted about how our history was founded, about people we deify who were not the gods we simplify them into being, like Christopher Columbus and the Pilgrims, etc, and how racial inequality and sexual inequality is subtly established in the text in [...]


    The problem with this one is that it has so much content, so much information per page, that it is hard to know where to start I found this book nearly life altering, particularly since I m a week away from studying to become a history teacher If you are in the US this is a very important book for you to read as you are sure to be shocked by some of the myths about your history that are discussed here For the rest of us in the non USA this book is just as important because it serves as a guide t [...]


    Americans need to learn from the Wilson era, that there is a connection between racist presidential leadership and like minded public response.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 largely [...]


    Why does nobody like high school history Or civics, or social studies, or whatever they re calling it these days Why does pretty much everybody hate this class I mean, you have people who can memorize irrelevant sporting statistics for the last fifty years, but they can t name than two nineteenth century presidents.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 in basic [...]


    I love works that give you the uncensored truth about history, but this particular book left me feeling as though the author had something to prove, rather than reveal.


    When I started this book, I thought it would be along the lines of your teacher told you thisbut this is what happened You know like hey columbus didn t discover the new worldblah blah blah and there was some of that.But importantly, and far 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 been as filled with fla [...]


    The thesis of the book is interesting and well supported, however, I found it pretty dry which was disappointing considering a main point Loewen makes is that Middle School High School History books are too boring He goes into too much depth in the first two chapters making the same point over and over again, while quickly and concisely exploring current history, which again is the same criticism he makes of the textbooks he attacks I also thing the extreme liberal tone of the book took away fr [...]


    As a history major in college, I still have an affinity for the subject This book was very interesting, because it challenged many of the things we were all taught in the American educational system.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.


    What I learned from this textbook 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 far rich [...]

    Jan Rice

    Although I bought Lies My Teacher Told Me as a resource book for the author s lecture series Rethinking Our Past Recognizing Facts, Fictions, And Lies In American History, I ve now read the 42 page Chapter 4, Red Eyes, in its entirety He s attempting a look at American history from the Native American Indian point of view He does succeed in his trademark turning of history upside down, with an overriding theme of how Indians became savages in the national consciousness even though Indian experti [...]


    Without question, this is the greatest non fiction book I have ever read To illustrate that claim, let me highlight that it served, in large part, as the inspiration for my master s thesis 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 wit [...]


    Lies My Teacher Told Me is a well written and insightful expose of some of the problems inherent in the teaching of US History in public schools From outdated textbooks to gross distortions of basic events and major figures, Loewen exposes readers to a side of US History that most do not get in high school However, I had a problem with some of his methodology His survey of 12 textbooks didn t seem like enough to make a truly damning critique of education in the country In addition, his judgments [...]


    It is all well and fine for people to criticize historians for being snobs about who writes the history books but this book is a great example of what goes wrong when non historians try to write history Everything in this book is taken out of context and is therefore at best skewed and at worst just wrong Context is everything Nothing happens in a vacuum historical events out of context are just stories and usually not very good ones at that.


    In LMTTM, sociology professor James Loewen takes a close look at the subject of American history and why it is that high school students tend not just to loathe the subject but also come out of that class so badly informed His verdict the textbooks are to blame.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 accomp [...]


    I learned a lot from this book But I gotta tell you, its depressing as hell Mankind is basically crap and have always treated each other badly and then lied about it.The atrocities in this book are horrible Genocides, prejudices, tortures, so many horrors If you re looking for a book that will make you feel good about the kindness of our fellow human beings and the strength of our historical heroes, this ain t it But if you want to know the evil sides of the many names in our history books, this [...]


    Before I get into this review, a couple of disclaimers, if I may.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 [...]

    Lisa Bell

    GREAT title Really makes you think about all those HS History Classes you sat through and wondered what they were leaving out of the discussion For example how come we never discussed Vietnam History magically ended at WWII we always assumed that it just coinsided with the end of the school year oops no time to discuss anything after Have a good summer kids This book really explores how the top 10 American History Textbooks taught in 95% of American High Schools present readers with the feel goo [...]

    Whitney Archibald

    This biggest reason I m rating this book so high is that it was so thought provoking Loewen reviewed 12 common American history textbooks and analyzed the content based on historical accuracy and bias Unsurprisingly, they all presented a very sanitized and rosy view of American history His argument is that most of the textbooks in use 1 are very Euro centric, marginalizing minorities especially african americans and native americans 2 heroify major historical figures so much that they ignore any [...]


    great cocktail fodder 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 interesting and less mystical i find it just as hard to bite at each fact given in this book when the author has in fact w [...]

    Michael Finocchiaro

    While not as good or revolutionary of A People s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Loewen writes an entertaining and eyebrow raising book about the hidden catastrophes in American history that your teachers did not tell you about I would personally read Zinn first but this is an excellent followup and much shorter if the length of Zinn initially intimidates you It is highly readable and once again in the current context of fake news and flag waving ignorance, a critical book to see th [...]


    UPDATE 2 OK, so now I am at a different school district which places a lot emphasis on using the textbook and coverage, and I can better understand what Loewen is talking about So, I m finishing the book to revise my criticism 12 17 UPDATE After reading the first 150 pages, now I just sorta have this book on my shelf and pick it up from time to time.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 [...]


    This is a book I assigned my students It is not easy reading, but informative The one aspect of the book that I found unnecessary was the author s recount of exactly which high school history textbooks get which facts right, or which they leave out Overall, this text uncovers aspects of American history that many of us don t know For example, I associated President Woodward Wilson with being involved in the founding of the League of Nations I didn t know that Wilson was a white supremacist who t [...]

    Ross Blocher

    This is an important book for anyone living in the United States James Loewen takes a look at some of our shared national history, primarily through the lens of the textbook He has combed thoroughly through 18 of the top selling American history textbooks and 6 additional ones as of the 2007 update I read In those textbooks, he has found a pervasive Euro centrism, in which the accomplishments of white people are given undue weight, drowning out the other peoples and cultures who have participate [...]


    Wonderful read for students of American History and sociologists Loewen conducted a fabulous study of American History textbooks in the late 80s and early 90s What he found was a narrative lacking much depth, diversity, and frankly, any excitement He was right Most texts still adhered to the great white father s narrative of American history that our parents and grandparents learned throughout the 20th century Much of American history, from Columbus to Lincoln to Vietnam and anything in between, [...]


    I love history I love reading about it, I love memorizing it, I love questioning it, I love finding new interpretations of major events So you would think I and this book would get along famously.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 are not [...]

    Daniel Gonçalves

    Writing occupies an important place in humanity s journey It allows for ideas, thoughts and emotions to be easily transmitted over centuries In western civilization, history relies heavily upon the written word We must rely on the veracity of such writings if we want to know about the past Yet, there is a crucial problem than trust Impartial and unbiased accounts are very difficult Not even modern day journalists can execute their jobs with the utmost objectivity It is intangible.The same happ [...]

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