Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong / Edition 1

Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong / Edition 1

3.6 8
by James W. Loewen

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ISBN-10: 0684870673

ISBN-13: 2900684870679

Pub. Date: 11/28/2000

Publisher: Touchstone

Lies Across America looks at more than one hundred sites where history is told on the landscape, including historical markers, monuments, outdoor museums, historic houses, forts, and ships. Loewen uses his investigation of these public versions of history, often literally written in stone, to correct historical interpretations that are profoundly wrong, to tell


Lies Across America looks at more than one hundred sites where history is told on the landscape, including historical markers, monuments, outdoor museums, historic houses, forts, and ships. Loewen uses his investigation of these public versions of history, often literally written in stone, to correct historical interpretations that are profoundly wrong, to tell neglected but important stories about the American past, and, most importantly, to raise questions about what we as a nation choose to commemorate and how.

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Table of Contents

In What Ways Were We Warped?15
Some Functions of Public History25
The Sociology of Historic Sites29
Historic Sites are Always a Tale of Two Eras36
Hieratic Scale in Historic Monuments43
The Far West
1Alaska Denali (Mt. McKinley): The Tallest Mountain -- The Silliest Naming51
2Hawaii Honolulu: King Kamehameha I, The Roman!54
3California Sacramento: The Flat Earth Myth on the West Coast57
4California Sacramento: Exploiting vs. Exterminating the Natives62
5California San Francisco: China Beach Leaves Out the Bad Parts67
6California Downieville: Killing a Man is Not News70
7Oregon La Grande: Don't "Discover" 'Til You See the Eyes of the Whites!74
8Washington Cowlitz County: No Communists Here!76
9Washington Centralia: Using Nationalism to Redefine a Troublesome Statue77
10Nevada Hickison Summit: What We Know and What We Don't Know about Rock Art81
11Nevada Nye County: Don't Criticize Big Brother84
Mountains and Plains States
12Idaho Almo: Circle The Wagons, Boys -- It's Tourist Season89
13Utah North of St. George: Bad Things Happen in the Passive Voice93
14Arizona Navajo Reservation: Calling Native Americans Bad Names99
15Montana Helena: No Confederate Dead? No Problem! Invent Them!102
16Wyoming South Pass City: A Woman Shoulda Done It!108
17Colorado Pagosa Springs: Tall Tales in the West110
18Colorado Leadville: Licking the Corporate Hand That Feeds You113
19New Mexico Alcalde: The Footloose Statue119
The Great Plains
20Oklahoma Oklahoma City: The Oklahoma State History Museum Confederate Room Tells No History123
21Kansas Gardner: Which Came First, Wilderness or Civilization?126
22Nebraska Red Cloud: No Lesbians on the Landscape127
23South Dakota Brookings: American Indians Only Roved for about a Hundred Years130
24North Dakota Devils Lake: The Devil is Winning, Six to One133
The Midwest
25Minnesota St. Paul: "Serving the Cause of Humanity"136
26Iowa Muscatine: Red Men Only -- No Indians Allowed144
27Missouri Hannibal: Domesticating Mark Twain148
28Wisconsin Racine: Not the First Auto151
29Illinois Chicago: America's Most Toppled Monument152
30Indiana Graysville: Coming into Indiana Minus a Body Part157
31Indiana Indianapolis: The Invisible Empire Remains Invisible161
32Kentucky Lexington: Putting the He in Hero164
33Kentucky Hodgenville: Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace Cabin -- Built Thirty Years after his Death!166
34Michigan Dearborn: Honoring a Segregationist170
35Ohio Delaware: Who Menaced Whom?173
The South
36Texas Gainesville: "No Nation Rose So White and Fair; None Fell So Free of Crime"177
37Texas Alba: The Only Honest Sundown Town in the United States182
38Texas Pittsburg: It Never Got Off the Ground186
39Texas Fredericksburg: The Real War Will Never Get into the War Museums188
40Texas Galveston: This Building Used to be a Hardware Store195
41Arkansas Grant County: Which Came First, the Statue or the Oppression?197
42Arkansas Little Rock: Men Make History; Women Make Wives200
43Louisiana Laplace: Suppressing a Slave Revolt for the Second Time206
44Louisiana Colfax: Mystifying the Colfax Riot and Lying about Reconstruction210
45Louisiana New Orleans: The White League Begins to Take a Beating214
46Louisiana Baton Rouge: The Toppled "Darky"220
47Louisiana Fort Jackson: Let Us Now Praise Famous Thieves227
48Mississippi Hazlehurst: The End of Reconstruction230
49Mississippi Itta Bena: A Black College Celebrates White Racists235
50Alabama Calhoun County: If Russia Can do it, Why Can't We?239
51Alabama Tuscumbia: Confining Helen Keller under House Arrest243
52Alabama Scottsboro: Famous Everywhere but at Home246
53Tennessee Fort Pillow: Remember Fort Pillow!250
54Tennessee Woodbury: Forrest Rested Here258
55Georgia Stone Mountain: A Confederate-KKK Shrine Encounters Turbulence261
56Florida Near Cedar Key: The Missing Town of Rosewood266
57South Carolina Beech Island: The Beech Island Agricultural Club Was Hardly What the Marker Implies268
58South Carolina Fort Mill: To the Loyal Slaves273
59South Carolina Columbia: Who Burned Columbia?279
60North Carolina Bentonville Battlefield: The Last Major Confederate Offensive of The Civil War288
61Virginia Alexandria: The Invisible Slave Trade290
62Virginia Alexandria: The Clash of the Martyrs294
63Virginia Richmond: "One of the Great Female Spies of all Times"298
64Virginia Richmond: Slavery and Redemption302
65Virginia Richmond: The Liberation of Richmond305
66Virginia Richmond: Abraham Lincoln Walks through Richmond310
67Virginia Appomattox: Getting Even the Numbers Wrong317
68Virginia Stickleyville: A Sign of Good Breeding320
The Atlantic States
69West Virginia Union: Is California West of the Alleghenies?325
70District of Columbia Jefferson Memorial: Juxtaposing Quotations to Misrepresent a Founding Father327
71District of Columbia Lincoln Memorial: A Product of Its Time and All Time333
72Maryland Hampton: "No History To Tell"338
73Delaware Reliance: The Reverse Underground Railroad352
74Pennsylvania Philadelphia: Telling Amusing Incidents for the Tourists357
75Pennsylvania Valley Forge: George Washington's Desperate Prayer362
76Pennsylvania Lancaster: "You're Here to See the House"367
77Pennsylvania Gettysburg: South Carolina Defines the Civil War in 1965371
78Pennsylvania Philadelphia: Remember The "Splendid Little War" -- Forget the Tawdry Larger Wars377
79Pennsylvania Philadelphia: Celebrating Illegal Submarine Warfare381
80New Jersey Trenton: The Pilgrims and Religious Freedom383
81New York Manhattan: Making Native Americans Look Stupid385
82New York Alabama: Which George Washington?389
83New York North Elba: John Brown's Plaque Puts Blacks at the Bottom!390
84New York Manhattan: The Union League Club: Traitors to Their Own Cause394
85New York Manhattan: Selective Memory at USS Intrepid404
New England
86Connecticut Darien: Omitting the Town's Continuing Claim to Fame408
87Massachusetts Boston: The Problem of the Common413
88Massachusetts Amherst: Celebrating Genocide415
89Massachusetts Boston: What a Monument Ought to Be419
90Vermont Burlington: Shards of Minstrelsy on a Far-North Campus425
91New Hampshire Peterborough and Dublin: Local History Wars430
92New Hampshire Concord: "Effective Political Leader"433
93Rhode Island Block Island: "Settlement" Means Fewer People!436
94Rhode Island Warren and Barrington: Fighting over the "Good Indian"438
95Maine Bar Harbor: At Last -- An Accurate Marker442
Snowplow Revisionism443
Getting into a Dialogue with the Landscape447
ASelecting the Sites455
BTen Questions to Ask at a Historic Site459
CTwenty Candidates For "Toppling"460

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Lies across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book because the premise sounded promising (ie correcting historical sites incorrect data) even though the reasoning behind it was rather weak. (The author claims that a huge chunk of the public gets its info from these sites when in actuality it is more likely to get its info from school and movies since most people only visit a handful of historical sites.) The book was disappointing to say the least and enraging to say the most. The first few pages give the reader what he/she can expect in the rest of the book, namely inaccuracies and a legion of half-truths. An example of the former is that the author stated Nathan Bedford Forrest founded the KKK. In reality, Forrest did not. He was a leader after the founding and later ordered the group disbanded. An example of the half-truths is the author listing a speech from a Dakota Indian decrying Mount Rushmore as a symbol of conquerors. In actuality the Dakota TOOK the Black Hills area from other tribes, notably the Crow. Thus it is more than a bit hypocritical to complain about conquerors. The author was under an obligation to point that fact out since the purpose of his book was supposedly to tell the whole truth about information historical sites don't list. However, he doesn't. (This in itself is surprising since the author complains at the start of the book about being 'warped' by inaccurate historical sites and yet by not telling the whole truth the author is doing that same thing with unintiated readers of his book.) Another problem with the book is the author's extreme biases which pop up again and again such as his dealing with Nathan Forrest. He decries Forrest having more monuments built to him than anyone else and leaves the reader thinking that this is obviously because Forrest was a racist. However, the author never mentions Forrest's Civil War record which shows that Forrest was arguably the best cavalry commander of the war, North or South. To be fair, there are some nuggets worth reading but frankly it just isn't worth what the reader has to wade through to get to them. By his biases and refusal to tell the whole truth, the author destroyed what had the makings of a great book.