Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

The New Press
91
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Since its first publication in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me has gone on to win an American Book Award, the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship, and to sell over half a million copies in its various editions.

What started out as a survey of the twelve leading American history textbooks has ended up being what the San Francisco Chronicle calls “an extremely convincing plea for truth in education.” In Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen brings history alive in all its complexity and ambiguity. Beginning with pre-Columbian history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, and the Mai Lai massacre, Loewen offers an eye-opening critique of existing textbooks, and a wonderful retelling of American history as it should—and could—be taught to American students.

This 10th anniversary edition features a handsome new cover and a new introduction by the author.
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“Every teacher, every student of history, every citizen should read this book. It is both a refreshing antidote to what has passed for history in our educational system and a one-volume education in itself.”
—Howard Zinn

A new edition of the national bestseller and American Book Award winner, with a new preface by the author

Since its first publication in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me has become one of the most important—and successful—history books of our time. Having sold nearly two million copies, the book also won an American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship and was heralded on the front page of the New York Times.

For this new edition, Loewen has added a new preface that shows how inadequate history courses in high school help produce adult Americans who think Donald Trump can solve their problems, and calls out academic historians for abandoning the concept of truth in a misguided effort to be “objective.”

What started out as a survey of the twelve leading American history textbooks has ended up being what the San Francisco Chronicle calls “an extremely convincing plea for truth in education.” In Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen brings history alive in all its complexity and ambiguity. Beginning with pre-Columbian history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, the My Lai massacre, 9/11, and the Iraq War, Loewen offers an eye-opening critique of existing textbooks, and a wonderful retelling of American history as it should—and could—be taught to American students.

“Powerful and important . . . an instant classic.”
—The Washington Post Book World

The award-winning look at an ugly aspect of American racism by the bestselling author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, reissued with a new preface by the author

In this groundbreaking work, sociologist James W. Loewen, author of the classic bestseller Lies My Teacher Told Me, brings to light decades of hidden racial exclusion in America. In a provocative, sweeping analysis of American residential patterns, Loewen uncovers the thousands of “sundown towns”—almost exclusively white towns where it was an unspoken rule that blacks weren’t welcome—that cropped up throughout the twentieth century, most of them located outside of the South.

Written with Loewen’s trademark honesty and thoroughness, Sundown Towns won the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and launched a nationwide online effort to track down and catalog sundown towns across America.

In a new preface, Loewen puts this history in the context of current controversies around white supremacy and the Black Lives Matter movement. He revisits sundown towns and finds the number way down, but with notable exceptions in exclusive all-white suburbs such as Kenilworth, Illinois, which as of 2010 had not a single black household. And, although many former sundown towns are now integrated, they often face “second-generation sundown town issues,” such as in Ferguson, Missouri, a former sundown town that is now majority black, but with a majority-white police force.

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Additional Information

Publisher
The New Press
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Published on
Apr 8, 2008
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Pages
444
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ISBN
9781595586537
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Curricula
Education / Teaching Methods & Materials / Arts & Humanities
History / Social History
History / United States / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This book analyzes the common narrative residing in American History textbooks published in the first half of the 19th century. That story, what the author identifies as the American “creation” or “origins” narrative, is simultaneously examined as both historic and “mythic” in composition. It offers a fresh, multidisciplinary perspective on an enduring aspect of these works. The book begins with a provocative thesis that proposes the importance of the relationship between myth and history in the creation of America’s textbook narrative. It ends with a passionate call for a truly inclusive story of who Americans are and what Americans aspire to become.
The book is organized into three related sections. The first section provides the context for the emergence of American History textbooks. It analyzes the structure and utility of these school histories within the context of antebellum American society and educational practices. The second section is the heart of the book. It recounts and scrutinizes the textbook narrative as it tells the story of America’s emergence from “prehistory” through the American Revolution—the origins story of America. This section identifies the recurring themes and images that together constitute what early educators conceived as a unified cultural narrative. Section three examines the sectional bifurcation and eventual re-unification of the American History textbook narrative from the 1850s into the early 20th century. The book concludes by revisiting the relationship between textbooks, the American story, and mythic narratives in light of current debates and controversies over textbooks, American history curriculum and a common American narrative.
Whitewashing War explores perhaps the most critical issue social studies educators presently face: How do we teach our students about war? In this timely book, Christopher Leahey investigates how the political struggles over the social studies curriculum, the corporate domination of the textbook and testing industry, and the curricular constraints of the No Child Left Behind Act combine to stifle historical inquiry and deprive students of meaningful social studies instruction. Using the controversial Vietnam War as a case study, Leahey holds textbook narratives up to the light, illuminating how the adoption process, interpretive framework, and selection of evidence combine to transform the past into thinly veiled historical myths. By attending to questions traditionally ignored in history education, this dynamic book:

Challenges educators to rethink their pedagogical approaches to military conflict, American and otherwise.
Calls on teachers to develop students’ critical sensibilities to ask questions, conduct research, evaluate evidence, and make meaning of the past.
Provides classroom lessons for history educators and students to engage in rich, intellectual encounters with the historical record.

Christopher R. Leahey teaches world history in upstate New York. His articles have appeared in Social Education and The Social Studies.


“If students are to be prepared for the challenges of the 21st century, then we need to provide inspired, interdisciplinary instruction that can provide the skills, values and knowledge to enable our future citizens with the possibility, promise, and perspective to transform their world. Whitewashing War provides that solid interdisciplinary framework for teachers and students to teach and learn about the myth of war.”

—Critical Education


“Leahey echoes a concern expressed by others that history textbooks fail to address the realities of war.”

—CHOICE


“The crowning achievement of Whitewashing War is that it clearly illustrates the necessity of pursuing rational answers about why things are as they are (or were as they were). It becomes clear upon reading this book that, if we help our students pursue rational answers in the course of creating personally meaningful understandings of the world, they will figure out just what it is that needs to be done.”

—From the Foreword by E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia


“The author has done a masterful job of exploring issues of historiography, pedagogy, textbook debates, and critical thinking. Through a deep examination of two historical turning points in the Vietnam War, he has contrasted the known facts of these periods with the accounts contained in the textbooks.”

—Rick Ayers, Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley


“A passionate and powerful analysis. Christopher Leahey provides penetrating insight into how Americans teach about their wars. As such, his book is an invaluable aid to understanding the past and its connection to our current predicament.”

—Fredrik Logevall, Cornell University


“Whitewashing War challenges the fundamental assumptions underlying the corporate regime of standards, textbooks, and testing and exposes the distortions, manipulation, and lies that result. Leahey builds a compelling case for critical inquiry and dialogue. Highly recommended!”

—Ronald W. Evans, San Diego State University, author of The Social Studies Wars

James Loewen has revised Teaching What Really Happened, the bestselling, go-to resource for social studies and history teachers wishing to break away from standard textbook retellings of the past. In addition to updating the scholarship and anecdotes throughout, the second edition features a timely new chapter entitled “Truth” that addresses how traditional and social media can distort current events and the historical record. Helping students understand what really happened in the past will empower them to use history as a tool to argue for better policies in the present. Our society needs engaged citizens now more than ever, and this book offers teachers concrete ideas for getting students excited about history while also teaching them to read critically. It will specifically help teachers and students tackle important content areas, including Eurocentrism, the American Indian experience, and slavery.

“Should be in the hands of every history teacher in the country.”
—Howard Zinn

“This book should be required reading for every history teacher in the land.”
—Sam Wineburg, Stanford University

“In the sequel to his bestseller, Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen has crafted a critique of how history is being taught in public education that should be in the hands of every practicing and pre-service social studies teacher in the United States.”
—The History Teacher (from the first edition)

“Loewen challenges us to critically reflect on the essence of what social studies and history education is and what social studies and history educators do. Doing so can only improve the experiences our students have.”
—The Social Studies (from the first edition)

"This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially—statistically speaking—there aren't any people like that. Geniuses get made once-a-century or so, yet good art gets made all the time, so to equate the making of art with the workings of genius removes this intimately human activity to a strangely unreachable and unknowable place. For all practical purposes making art can be examined in great detail without ever getting entangled in the very remote problems of genius."
—-from the Introduction

Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. The book's co-authors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, are themselves both working artists, grappling daily with the problems of making art in the real world. Their insights and observations, drawn from personal experience, provide an incisive view into the world of art as it is expeienced by artmakers themselves.

This is not your typical self-help book. This is a book written by artists, for artists -— it's about what it feels like when artists sit down at their easel or keyboard, in their studio or performance space, trying to do the work they need to do. First published in 1994, Art & Fear quickly became an underground classic. Word-of-mouth response alone—now enhanced by internet posting—has placed it among the best-selling books on artmaking and creativity nationally.

Art & Fear has attracted a remarkably diverse audience, ranging from beginning to accomplished artists in every medium, and including an exceptional concentration among students and teachers. The original Capra Press edition of Art & Fear sold 80,000 copies.

An excerpt:

Today, more than it was however many years ago, art is hard because you have to keep after it so consistently. On so many different fronts. For so little external reward. Artists become veteran artists only by making peace not just with themselves, but with a huge range of issues. You have to find your work...

"We loved the book. The information was well paced and concise enough not to overwhelm. Any beginner would definitely benefit from having this book, and it's a great reminder for those who might have forgotten details or are looking for them.” -- Nimal De Silva, The Music Garage (Singapore)

"Plenty of detail that goes into posture, hand position, thumb position, etc. The notation and strumming is really good here because it builds up in stages. In a lesson, you can introduce it in this way piece by piece and not overwhelm the student." -- Michael Hanna, Grade 8 RS.Guitar - Larne Guitar School (N.Ireland)

Learn to Play Guitar is comprehensive and clear with over 180 photographic examples, illustrations and purpose made diagrams. This guitar book includes 42 downloadable mp3 tracks of full band demo and backing track with the guitar removed for you to play over. Learn to Play Guitar bridges the gaps explaining guitar techniques that can be taken for granted by more experienced guitar players.

Melodies: To get you straight into playing music, numbers have been added underneath guitar tablature to assist with the rhythm. Later on, the rhythmical aspect of conventional music notation is covered so you can use it in conjunction with tablature.

Rhythm Guitar: Changing between chords and strumming are presented as separate subjects initially, so that you can develop coordination in each hand independently. They are then brought together starting basic and getting more advanced until there is a rhythm guitar musical piece to play.

Music theory: The major scale, minor scale, major and minor pentatonic scales and basic major and minor chord construction are explained in terms of the fret-board and reinforced by musical pieces in various styles to make the learning process practical and enjoyable.

What else?: Fret-board layout, power chords, barre chords, how to string a guitar, how to practise guitar, palm muting and basic lead guitar techniques.

Please Note: The eBook includes musical pieces so is not suitable for smaller screens.

"This top value eBook and MP3 package covers a wide range topics essential for all guitarists. Over 100 pages with plenty of information and solid advice that a player can dip into as needed. Evans does not gloss over the often neglected area of reading notation for rhythm. There are many examples to practice (melodies and rhythm patterns) with the backing tracks. I was especially interested in the final section of exercises to keep your body guitar-ready. A very useful tool to help you progress with your guitar playing." -- Hedley Timbs BA(Mus), Grad.Dip. Teaching (New Zealand)

"Awesome. Well laid out, easy to look at and there is the supplemental material to top it off. The theory may get tedious for some, it's hard to not teach theory but most people seem to have an aversion to it, the idea of discipline I think." -- Gernot Schlegel, Professional Guitarist & Teacher (Canada)

"There’s two ways of learning the guitar – the first is two learn enough of the basics to fly towards playing your favourite songs competently, and the second is to intensively gain an understanding of the instrument by forming a solid foundation through taking your time with it in the early stages. The book titled “Learn to play Guitar” by Gareth Evans is of the latter approach. Through reading and learning from this book, players can discover a deep, extensive and in-depth approach to the technique, theory and everything else related to being a good beginner guitarist. Newcomers can learn positive and productive exercises to train their body to better play the guitar (not just their fingers) and across the 120 or so pages within, it’s clear that the writer has put a lot of time into figuring out the right approach for starters to take when adjusting to the standard 6-string. Would recommend this for anyone who is looking to get a really solid grip on how to play the guitar, and also to tutors who are looking at ways to improve their own tutoring abilities." -- Logan Ellis, Mgr. Spiderhands Productions Ltd (New Zealand)

"Learn to play Guitar is an ideal companion to support the beginner on their new found musical journey. Highly recommended." -- Liam Cain, BMus (hons) Professional Guitarist (UK)
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