Lies My Teacher Told Me Pdf by James W. Loewen critically examines twelve popular American high school history textbooks. The author concludes that the textbook authors propagate wrong, mythologized, and Eurocentric views of American history.
In addition to analyzing the prevailing historical themes presented in high school textbooks, Loewen provides historical themes that he thinks should be presented in high school textbooks.
Lies My Teacher Told Me PDF (Book Overview):
In this Pdf book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, Author Loewen criticizes modern high school American history textbooks for including inaccurate information about events and people such as Christopher Columbus, the inaccuracies and lies in the history books about the dealings between the Native Americans and Europeans, and their often misleading and wrong teachings told about America’s commerce in slavery.
He suggests that when textbooks of American history elevate historical figures to the status of heroes, they unintentionally deliver students the impression that all these figures are some kind of super-humans who live in the irreversible past.
Rather than emphasizing both the negatives and positives of historical figures, Loewen argues that textbooks push students to perceive these figures through a single lens rather than highlighting both the negatives and positives of historical figures.
Loewen asserts that the muting of past clashes and tragedies makes history boring to students, especially groups excluded from the positive histories.
Download Lies My Teacher Told Me (PDF Version):
Lies my teacher told me to resurrect the truth of America’s history, analyze how myths continue to be perpetrated, and contain a new chapter on 9/11 and the Iraq War.
He has concluded that no one does an upright job of making history memorable or engaging.
They were marred by an awkward combination of mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, outright lies, and blind patriotism.
These books skip almost all our past obscurity, passion, drama, and conflict.
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As a small “h” historian (I hold a Masters Degree), I spent years in grad school unlearning all the examples Loewen exposes in ” Lies… ” To make one issue abundantly clear: this is not an insult to teachers. They are the most overworked and underpaid of any profession. There is so much to do that they rely on the textbook to guide them and their students. Rather, this is an indictment of publishing companies, school boards, influential interest groups, and adults with an agenda that withholds the truth from those they disagree with. A well-functioning society must never operate this way. Plus is not an easy read. His scholarship is impeccable. He delves in-depth almost fifteen history textbooks aimed at grade school, middle school, high school, and even some college-level works. This is not a book for those that want simple solutions to the complex issues in how we educate our children and ourselves in American history. From 1492 onwards we have always been a country of contradictions. Teaching a cheerleading approach does nothing but keep citizens from being well informed. This is not a bash America work, it is a work of honesty. Of achievements and disgrace. It is complex as is life. I definitely believe every teacher read this book and for parents to give its due. Loewen has solutions, but it will take the combined resources and commitment from the entire community to enact change. It is a battle worth fighting for.
Loewen lays bare the fundamental flaws of the simplistic and often jingoistic texts learned by high school history students. Sadly, it’s just a start. These notions of our history and culture start much earlier and are taught at every level of the modern school system.. Though Loewen updated this version, his stinging indictments of American ideas on class and culture were prescient when this book first hit the shelves in the 1990s. As a product of early 1990’s high school education, my own history teachers taught me to view these types of works as revisionist hit jobs on our noble nation’s past. Sadly, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We can’t truly know our nation’s history without knowing the good and the bad. While not as radical as Zinn’s seminal work, “Lies My Teacher Told Me” does expose a parade of misunderstandings most have about our past. Some of the main ideas are now spouted regularly in the popular media by those on the political left. But Loewen gives them gravitas by couching them in historical fact. If you want to understand how we arrived at the current moment, this book exposes all the ideas, good and bad, that have made us who we are as a nation.
This book is fantastic. The book does go over the failings of history textbook authors and Americans’ tendency to trivialize or romanticize the past, but he does an excellent job of explaining the true history behind what they get wrong. The first few chapters are dedicated to America’s failure to properly handle race relations with Blacks in America, especially between 1890 and 1940. The book is well-researched, thoughtful, and doesn’t make presumptions or judgments about anyone, forcing you to come to conclusions on your own. I highly recommend it.