Summary Of Lies My Teacher Told Me

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James W. Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me is an honest approach to early American and modern American history. Loewen sampled eighteen high school history textbooks and personally dissected each book and compared them to one another and his findings as a professional writer for the History Channel’s History magazine. In Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen tackles the misconceptions and inaccuracies that he discovered when reading these popularly taught American textbooks. The book directly covers major events in American history from Columbus’s first arrival in the Caribbean to the Vietnam War and goes into vast detail about the faults that modern textbooks make when describing such events. Loewen’s entire book is focused on presenting the taboo …show more content…

For example, the opening chapter gives an in depth explanation of how many students receive a “white-washed” version American figures. Loewen particularly focuses on how many people are not taught the darker sides of American history such as President Woodrow Wilson’s intense racism or the ‘politically incorrect’ sides of heroes like Helen Keller who was a radical socialist. He bluntly states facts that are glossed over in other texts. In writing such eye opening facts, the book’s purpose is to call to light the fact that history is boring to students when all icons follow the same ‘flawless’ archetypal pattern. Another repeating theme is that American textbooks are blinded by Eurocentric ideas and are written from biased white Americans’ perspective. Loewen attacks such textbooks’ major …show more content…

He says that most textbooks “end… with the same stupid cheer”. (Loewen, 281) His criticism of such optimistic endings is how oftentimes the authors avoid broaching the subject of what Loewen believes to be America’s dark future. He uses the analogy of cows overgrazing a pasture and becoming hindrance to a town. He compares the cows to modern oil companies, fishing companies, and deforestation, which strip the world of its finite natural resources. He gravely points out the dangers of environmental neglect; how all countries are trying to better their economies and in doing so are not paying attention to how they are aggravating the earth. Loewen’s defines his point by stating that textbooks “not only… ignore the looming problems, they also [do] not present the capabilities of modern society. Authors should show trends in the past that suggest… catastrophe and other trends that suggest solutions. Doing so would encourage students to use evidence from history to reach their own conclusions”. (Loewen,

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