James Loewen

James W. "Jim" Loewen is an American sociologist, historian, and author, best known for his 1995 book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, which was republished in 2008.
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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 in the summer of 2006.

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.

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)

“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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