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 a year at the Smithsonian Institution 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 textbooks 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 connections 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.
"Although he sometimes adopts a tone of high political correctness, [Loewen] often proves the textbooks and teachers wrong. For readers who are children at heart, what could be more appealing?"