Currently Reading

  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • Patience & Fortitude by Nicholas A Basbanes
  • Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman
  • a People's History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My History Teacher Lied!

Lies my Teacher Told me should be required reading in high school. The only problem? It shows how error ridden and just plain full of lies the average high school history book is. Loewen studied 12 different highschool textbooks, and discusses his findings in this amazing book. The first ten chapters discuss history as told by the textbooks he studied, and how events actually played out. Quite a bit of ink is also devoted to events key to understanding history and current events that these books simply ignore. For example the plagues that crippled a thriving native american presence in the years before Columbus arrival, and the fact that President Wilson started numerous wars to take over Latin America. These books also minimize Helen Keller's contributions to history. The woman who is famously used as encouragement for children to work hard and succeed was a radical socialist and highly active in the women's suffrage movement. The last two chapters discuss why history is taught the way it is, and the result of such practices.

I honestly found the book a bit slow in the last two chapters, but the first ten make for amazing reading. In a book much shorter than most high school textbooks Loewen manages to create a much more intriguing history of the US. Even if the book lacked the last two chapters, I would still recommend it, but the last two, the last chapter especially, make this an even more important read, as unlike Religious Literacy Loewen explains not only how we've gone astray, but why we need to fix the problem.


Erin said...

As a high school teacher, I now must buy this book! Thanks for the review!

Kathleen said...

Hmm I never heard of this, but it does sound interesting!