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.
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.
“Should be in the hands of every history teacher in the country.”
“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)
These documents have always been there. When South Carolina seceded, it published "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union." The document actually opposes states' rights. Its authors argue that Northern states were ignoring the rights of slave owners as identified by Congress and in the Constitution. Similarly, Mississippi's "Declaration of the Immediate Causes …" says, "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery--the greatest material interest of the world."
Later documents in this collection show how neo-Confederates obfuscated this truth, starting around 1890. The evidence also points to the centrality of race in neo-Confederate thought even today and to the continuing importance of neo-Confederate ideas in American political life. The 150th anniversary of secession and civil war provides a moment for all Americans to read these documents, properly set in context by award-winning sociologist and historian James W. Loewen and co-editor, Edward H. Sebesta, to put in perspective the mythology of the Old South.
From the author of the national bestseller Lies My Teacher Told Me, a completely updated—and more timely than ever—version of the myth-busting history book that focuses on the inaccuracies, myths, and lies on monuments, national landmarks, and historical sites all across America.
In Lies Across America, James W. Loewen continues his mission, begun in the award-winning Lies My Teacher Told Me, of overturning the myths and misinformation that too often pass for American history. This is a one-of-a-kind examination of historic sites all over the country where history is literally written on the landscape, including historical markers, monuments, historic houses, forts, and ships. New changes and updates include:
•a town in Louisiana that was the site of a major but now-forgotten slave uprising
•a totally revised tour of the memory and intentional forgetting of slavery and the Civil War in Richmond, Virginia
•the hideout of a gang in Delaware that made money by kidnapping free blacks and selling them into slavery
Lies Across America is a reality check for anyone who has ever sought to learn about America through the nation's public sites and markers. Entertaining and enlightening, the book also has a serious role to play in contemporary debates about white supremacy and confederate memorials.