Customer Reviews for

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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

The Rest of the Story

As most of us know, the winners write the textbooks and if you know much about the textbook industry, it is blatantly obvious that politics plays a huge role in what gets published. There can be absolutely no doubt that this country has refused to acknowledge its own ...
As most of us know, the winners write the textbooks and if you know much about the textbook industry, it is blatantly obvious that politics plays a huge role in what gets published. There can be absolutely no doubt that this country has refused to acknowledge its own sins of the past, particularly where the Native American issue is concerned. As a career educator and administrator in the public sector, I have witnessed (and unfortunately, been guilty of) teaching sketchy, often misleading, and sometimes completely false historical information to public school students. We don't have a choice oftentimes, because to teach in opposition to the adopted textbook, or to even expand on it and give a more multi-faceted view, is controversial and could lead to the loss of a teaching job. Again, politics raises its ugly head, at the expense of the truth. So, Bravo! to Mr. Loewen for having the nerve to present an opposing viewpoint. Those who have been completely indoctrinated into the current radical right wing mindset will have much difficulty with this book, because it would require a major paradigm shift for them. And, as we know, the very term 'conservative' implies sameness, follower, unexcepting of differing views, etc. A paradigm shift requires kicking over sacred cows, and re-evaluating belief systems it requires casting a critical eye on why we believe what we believe. If you are interested in the truth behind the myth of American History, READ THIS BOOK!

posted by Anonymous on September 1, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

42 out of 62 people found this review helpful.

Biased Work Claiming to be Unbiased

I knew when reading this book that I would have to examine my own education in history, which I thought was always subpar. However, none of these 'revelations' Mr. Loewen writes about startled me. I knew our US presidents owned slaves, that the civilizations of the na...
I knew when reading this book that I would have to examine my own education in history, which I thought was always subpar. However, none of these 'revelations' Mr. Loewen writes about startled me. I knew our US presidents owned slaves, that the civilizations of the natives who were here before Europeans (Loewen, for all his PC-ness, still calls them Indians) were wiped out due to violence and disease. But what truly disturbed me was his chapter about contemporary history, specifically the 80s and 90s. I agreed in that recent history is not taught as it should be, preventing students from applying the concept of causality. But, when discussing 9/11, he makes the claim that after the events of that day, we should have not focused on extreme Islamic policies and instead focused on what we did wrong and change our policies. In earlier chapters, he notes many textbooks make the mistake of blaming the victims of history. As a military member and one who is familiar with Middle Eastern culture, the language, and the religion, I took great offense to this. Loewen, at best, is an apologetic. To him, there were no good people in history. Every hero we've ever had was a racist hothead who made sure the white race always stayed above the other races. I realize there are dark points in American history and he is in the right to point them out since many textbooks do not address them. However, going the other extreme is not a way to solve anything. He claims history books are really propaganda, make human beings into gods, and bore children. What he has written is propaganda on the other side of the spectrum, makes human beings into White Devils, and discourages children from seeing any good points about the history of their own country.

posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2007

    Thought provoking

    When I first began reading this book I was very intrigued. It seemed as if every line the author wrote made me pause and question what I have known as truth all my life. It made me wonder if it was actually possible for history itself to be so distorted by white ideas and American supremacy. But as the book progressed I began to feel as if maybe this book was slightly distorted by another set of ideas. The seemingly redundant and often pointless points made against common U.S. history continued, and the book quickly began to lose my trust and enjoyment. It soon became clear that all questions would not be evaluated from both sides, and that this book would be totally on the opposition of every-day fact. It almost seems as if the author is trying to force the reader to revolt and disbelieve American history on every other line, and the countless and meaningless facts he brings up seem to just fill up page space and make the book more difficult for the every day reader to understand. This book would have been a better read if it would have actually examined all angles and opinions, and covered the topic with only hard facts and little speculation. Instead it seems that the author speculates many figures in history¿s opinions and state of mind during history changing events. It seems like he tries to imprint in your head what he feels happened. Now don¿t get me wrong, the author does make some points and cause you to ask yourself some serious questions. Examples of these would be the sections on Woodrow Wilson and Andrew Jackson. But then you get to a section like the one on Helen Keller, and it makes you wonder why he has any reason to change the way she was viewed. Also in one of the sections he examines a roadside marker that briefly describes the movement of Union troops along a road, calls it a complete lie and then begins to tell the exact same story the road mark told, but this time includes that a few people from the town helped. Why does the roadside marker need to include this extra useless fact? It is very obvious that he has done a lot of research, but again it seems as if he has taken the most obscure and least documented accounts of history as being ¿what actually happened¿. For all he knows those could be total lies and scandals set up by a person trying to distort a rivals place in history. But again that¿s just me speculating. Overall the book didn¿t turn out the way I have expected and never quite covered both sides or provided all the evidence I would have liked to read. I am impressed with the obvious amount of research and time the author spent on this book but would like to see him provide a less biased and more neutral look on possible falsities in history.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2005

    Condescending and Double-Standard

    Everything wrong in the world is the whitemans fault.He also commits the same aggregous acts of omission that he accuses the authors of textbooks of doing , which seemed to be his reason for writing this book in the first place , also very condescending in tone when 'enlightining us to privileged info or heretofore unknown facts' gee thanks for the heads up on basic info and irrelevant b.s.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A must-have, eye-opener for any serious history student or teacher.

    From page 1, this book will challenge everything that you have ever learned in your history classes from grammar school through college. Only a handful of teachers will actually know even a portion of the information in this book. I plan on becoming a history teacher and plan on using a good portion of the information I garnered from this book as some of my teaching material.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    How I got My 7th graders to listen up

    The general consensus amongst my 7th graders on the first day of school was that history is boring. Then I started telling them "the stuff you're not supposed to know" version of history; which as it turns out is far more accurate than the "American Mythology" they have been fed for their academic career.

    Most of them felt like they were then in on a big secret, thus making the year go by VERY smoothly.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2005

    Disappointed.

    I was expecting more out of a book with this title. The author did have valid points but became overly redundant while trying to stress them. Alot of what is written the author tells is common knowledge for most who are into history. I am giving it 2 stars because the book does make a few thought provoking questions.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2004

    An Incredible and Outstanding Read

    James Loewen's book really sends it home to many of us who felt history was boring in high school (which it was and probably still is). With the public school curriculum under so much scrutiny these days with required standard testing, etc., it seems that test results will pre-empt/extinguish true 'learning'. When the 'standardized' history books that nearly all high schools use (and required to use) are published with the same old biased, boring material it is refreshing to know that alternative and often more accurate perspectives exist. This book challenges our way of thinking and forces each of us to evaluate our paradigms and increase our capacity to appreciate others viewpoints. It provides for critical thinking which in many ways has been snuffed out by recent political times. This book is a must read - American history is 'ourstory' and by challenging popular beliefs and including varied perspectives each of us begins to question her/his understanding of America, our place in this country and the world.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2009

    Lies My Teacher Told Me Book Review

    This book was very interesting. It's weird to me how many things textbooks leave out about history! They may not always be very good things, but I would still rather learn about them than be mislead and learn the wrong thing. The book was sort of a slow read though. A lot of the information seemed sort of repetetive, and after the first couple pages of each chapter, I found myself wanting to just skip ahead to the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2009

    Lies My Teacher told me

    Lies my teacher told me is a very mind opening book. this books tells about the most racist presidents, hellen keller, martin luther king, columbus, and many other people. the book tells of social classes and how many teachers in America don't try to help kids that come from poverty succeed in school. the book tells about Native Americans and their stuggles with white man. this is a really good book and it tells the absolute truth about leaders you thought were heros. this book will really help open your mind if you're trying to get rid of your ignorance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    If you love learning about odd facts and secrets about history, you should read this book.

    When you are going through school, learning about history, you just trust that every thing you read in a history text book is right. This book reveals the truth. Most test book writers are so worried about offending some one that they are to scared to write about controversial topics. For example, every one has hared of the great explore Colombes. but what they don¿t tell you is how much of an in packed he had on the native people. In 1496 there were about 3,000,000 natives lived in central America. After Colombes's effect over the entire population took effected there were only 12,000 natives in 1516, and 200 in 1542, and finally 0 in 1555. this was only one of the permanent damages that he had to the native people. there are several of these stories through out this book, and you will learn things about history that you would never believe. <BR/>p.s. these aren¿t just conspiracy in history, all of the stories are backed up with years of research and facts from several sources.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2007

    Eerything You've Ever Learned Was A LIE...

    Not too long ago a shocking realization hit me. People really don¿t know, understand, or are taught true history. One day I was talking to a friend of mine, who is a couple forty years older than me, and we got on the subject of the Vietnam War. Though I am an attentive history student I realized I knew so little about the Vietnam War. I didn¿t understand how that happened? How could someone who plans on being a history professor and has spent much time outside of school studying history, be ignorant of such an important event? And more importantly, if it had slipped by me, what about others like me? This experience really made me want to dig deeper and that brought me to the novel, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School Textbook Got Wrong, by James Loewen. James Loewen told me the answers to all of my historically related questions! It turns out that 90 percent of high school history classes never even mention Vietnam ¿ and those that do paint an incomplete and misleading picture. Loewen believes American students are being systematically lied to and misinformed in their history classes. Though its bold left-wing perspective makes it unlikely to appeal to our country¿s conservative schools, this book should be a wake-up call for anyone interested in history or education. This book is concise and to-the-point. All people should read this because it allows our minds to be opened to all the things we don¿t know.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    You can always tell the people who will have a problem with this

    You can always tell the people who will have a problem with this book. When history shows us the wrong we have done as a nation, some people get upset, but we have no problem pointing our finger at other nations. It's like the big lie like how Christopher Columbus discovered America, how do you discovered the New World, how do discover and claim land with close to a million people on it? It's the great whitewashing of history and lies we all were taught at school. I hope more people would correct history and it's taught in schools, so children will learn people of all races helped to build this country. No the United States has not always been the nice guy like any nation we have flaws. Enough with the &quot;PC&quot; being pc is the values that were taught to most people growing up it's called treating people with common respect. It's the golden &quot;Do unto others as you would have them do unto you&quot; plan and simple.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    The book serves best at critical thinking. The author is not ver

    The book serves best at critical thinking. The author is not very versed with political Philosophies such as
    democracy and beyond. Moreover the author is ill informed about Economics. Nevertheless the authors nails
     at the flaws of history teaching as well as notions and the diseases of patriotism, nationalism and &quot;stateism&quot;.
     Author make excellent points about the notion of blind obedience under the influence of patriotism.
    He makes single most valuable point about herofication. However the author has clearly not read or studied
     &quot;Human Action&quot; and &quot;Socialism&quot; (Available free online) by Murray Rothbard. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2013

    The Truth

    Everything in this book is either true or false. For that is up to you. If you want to believe it u can, if you don't is also up to u. But know this i beileve it every word

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    this is a lousy book. The author distorts ideas to promote his

    this is a lousy book. The author distorts ideas to promote his own personal views. This is a perfect example of revisionist history defending the indefensible while denigrating any positive parts of American history. It is an excretory work having all of the validity of a Michael Moore film.
    I wasted my money purchasing it and wasted my time by reading it. Giving this book a rating of one star is being overly generous.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Tarah

    I had to restart my nook

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    Amazing read

    Really explains some things about u.s history i've always believed we tried to make our countrymen look too good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    The Truth: U.S. History

    I loved this book. I am a huge history buff and this book shed a lot of light on and validated some of my own thoughts about the glorification that has been presented to us in U.S. History. Such as: Thanksgiving, the plight of the native americans, Columbus and his ruin of nations, etc, etc. I would suggest this as a much read even to teens in high school.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    Truth James W. Loewen told me!

    If, like me, you've sat in history class with an average history textbook, tearing your hair out in incredulity, depressed by it's portrayal of America's "greatness", while you're cognizant of the truth (the eradication of civilized Native Americans, by the real savages, the European settlers, the human nature of our founding fathers and leaders, the prevarications they submited when confronted with their own hypocrisy, the nefarious means of securing the resources we think we need), read this book. No, beyond that, if you're an American citizen, nay, an occupant of this Earth, you should pick up a copy. If you desire a record of the past and present that correlates with reality, read this book. If you just wish to know whats really going on, READ THIS BOOK. These pages contain enlightenment, and if you shun that, you're bound to repeat the same mistakes our ancestors did (mistakes that are detailed in this book), and the destruction of our planet and ourselves will insue. Like Neil deGrasse Tyson said: "The only thing worse than a blind believer is a seeing denier". Do not be either. Be a questioning but accepting when appropiate sponge. And live by another Tyson maxim: "Every day, do two things: know something you didn't yesterday, and make sombody's life better somhow. You'd be surprised how far that gets you."

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  • Posted December 18, 2012

    poor

    very poor

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Worthwhile reading

    The information was presented clearly . Some of the facts given was eye opening.The author gave me a new look at history. Young people should read this book along with their textbooks. The book discusses many historical events that are not brought up in the classroom. Students are not encouraged enough to think for themselves or question the facts about what happened in American history.

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