by James W. Loewen
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 Institute 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 books 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, 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.