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

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 199 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2008

    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 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.

    44 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    Politics searching for history

    Everyone has an opinion about the past and will carefully select what they want to justify their world view. Be wary of someone claiming to present an unbiased and therefore more intellectually honest portrait of history. As just one example of the author's illogic, how can one glorify a murderer and traitor 'i.e., John Brown' and vilify a president like Woodrow Wilson, who was admittedly a flawed individual, but hardly an anti-woman, racist, ideologue? There is always more to people and history than can be captured in a book but to assert that yours is the true version of what happened is just silly.

    19 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2005

    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 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!

    18 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2005

    Michael Moore's American History

    A distortion of the truth and out-of-context assertion of American History. If you liked Fahrenheit 911 you'll love this. If you prefer your history objectively rendered, look elsewhere. Ward Churchill undoubtedly gives this book 2 thumbs up!

    15 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    History as it SHOULD be taught.

    Enlightning beyond belief. The belief that if we were told it in school by someone of authority, then it HAD to be true. BUT SO MUCH OF IT WASN'T! This book will set you straight on many aspects of our country's "history" as nothing else I've ever read. An important and necessary book for all people no matter what your race, social background or age. If it isn't required reading for high school students, then we can only hope that one day it will be. Not the fast-paced kind of read that fiction can provide but has facts so startling new and true, for many of us, that you will be amazed at what you find out.

    13 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    What began as an interesting description of the history not included in most US History textbooks quickly degraded into a primer on left-wing socialist philosophy. Though it seemed through the first half of the book that the author was truly attempting to give a non-biased look at history, even then his politics kept squeezing through. I don't mind reading an author with whom I may disagree however, I was looking for a book about historical facts, not philosophy. I would have much preferred having the history laid out accurately but sans commentary so that I could draw my own conclusions.

    13 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2002

    Brilliant

    The most brilliant book I've ever read on US history. This is US history as I learned it in Europe. Why do Europeans learn the truth and Americans don't? You have nothing to be ashamed of, not even of the truth. Yes, it is brutally honest, but the history of every country is full of extremely brutal things. We can't make anything better in the future if we aren't aware of our past. In order to be proud of our heritage, it is absolutely necessary to also know the negative things our native country did. No country on this planet only did good things, that's just not human nature. You can be proud of your country anyway. So this is an absolute must read book, not only for Americans.

    13 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2010

    Biased, False and Boring - Very Poorly Written!

    One of the worst books I've ever read. Chapter 1 starts off strong. It discusses what may not commonly be known about such well known individuals as Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson. The remainder of the book is biased, false and boring. Did you know that Bill Clinton got 54.7% of the popular vote in the 96 Presidential election? Well he didn't. Feel free to Google for the correct number. I'll bet it's closer to 49.2%. Did you know that almost a quarter of Dr Loewen's students thought South Korea fought in the Vietnam War. He was stunned. He was also wrong. Our Vietnamese adversaries learned the hard way not to attack the South Korean troops that were in South Vietnam. I could continue citing his erroneous information, but I'll stop there. There's are several valid points that may be made about History textbooks. He fails in that respect. His arguments are biased and unconvincing. Dr Loewen does not seem to be a skilled writer, nor is he a Historian. Dr Loewen stick to Sociology, and hire a ghost writer.

    10 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2006

    A nice chaser for a standard history course.

    Picture the American history as a pitcher of water. Typically, the author sugars the mixture into the ground. What Loewen has done here is provide us with a nice, tart packet of Kool-Aid mix. Lies My Teacher Told Me is an interesting, if very deliberately angled, window on what some might call 'revisionist history.' Taken on it's own, the book may be seen as incredibly biased (to overextend an already ridiculous metaphor, Kool-Aid made without sugar is bitter indeed), but any such criticism of the book must take into account the fact that it is not MEANT to be taken on it's own. Lies My Teacher Told Me labors under the challenge of having to examine almost 6 centuries of history's accumulated misconceptions and omissions, which generations of Americans have had drilled into them over thirteen years of primary school, and counterbalance them all in the span of a single one-or-two hour read. He really goes out on a limb with some of his conclusions, but if the volume in general comes off as abrasively liberal and revisionist, it is only because he has given himself so little space to challenge (radically) so many two-dimensional historical notions. Challenge may not be the right word, though-- little of what Loewen has to say will be news to anyone but junior-high and high-school kids just starting to realize that history's grand heroes were real, flawed men and women, and not the marbleized demigods and easily defined villians laid out in their inoffensive grade-school texts. The funny thing here is that, in writing a book whose obvious intent is to shock the reader into a broader awareness of history, the author uses many of the same techniques he rails against- specifically, the charicaturization-by-omission of key historical figures and events. An eye for an eye? Fair enough, but to revisionist readers he's singing a song they already know by heart, and to many of the more moderate readers, like myself, the picture of history provided here is left jagged and distorted unless one keeps firmly in mind that it is best read as a counterbalance to traditional history, and not an intended replacement.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2004

    this guy must be friends with micheal moore

    Very biased attack of popular american beliefs and history. Maybe some of it was true but alot of it just pissed me off. Kind of boring read too, you can only take so much of 'the white guys screwed everything up and then rewrote history' story line. I ended up just putting it down towards the end, I only give it stars cause it at least makes you question things

    8 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    TEACH YOUR KID RIGHT

    This book was recommended to me by a highly-respected professor who truly wanted his students to have a well-rounded understanding of our history. Textbooks make great outlines but leave out the juicy details of events that fueled the fire behind revolutions, revolts, etc. The book itself is revolutionary in reshaping history as we know it - as we were taught it - by presenting an unbiased perspective of world events (rather than pushing a thesis).

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    Well written and very informative

    I found this book to be very informative and a must read for all high school students. I think this book illuminates the dark history that the United States has effectively hidden. I agree with the author that showing historical persons flaws along side their positive attributes is very important to show that they were actually humans. I can see that many might see Loewen's writings as slanted but that being said I still find the information in the book to be very valuable. Overall this book is a great read and very informative, it offers many solutions to huge problems in American History classes.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2004

    a disappointment

    I was required by my teacher to buy this book, to be used in seminars and debates. While some of what the author says IS enlightening, I found that I disagreed with much of it. But then again, that should be the purpose of a piece of literature, to get a person thinking. Just as a warning to anyone interested in reading this: IT IS VERY VERY BIASED to the complete other side of the spectrum. In fact, at times you would think he is anti-American.

    7 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Terrific

    "Lies My Teacher Told Me" shoots holes in several preachy myths about how great America is. This book speaks the truth.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2002

    Book is as Biased as Those it Criticizes

    The book contains some interesting points, but it is no more objective than the history textbooks it criticizes. The author implies that all white men are dishonest, stupid, greedy and cruel. This is as ludicrous as his complaints that European/Americans are depicted as universally virtuous. I believe the book is worth reading, but it should be read with with caution, and taken with more than a grain of salt. Virtue and vice are individual characteristics that have nothing to do with race, nationality, gender or economic postioning.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    A Horrible Book

    This book is awful. I am a history teacher and a history major. Everything that he has in the book is wrong. He claims that people in history such as Woodrow Wilson a bad person. Why would he say that? What justifies that? All this book does is divide people among racial lines, and taint an already positive view of history.

    5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2007

    A reviewer

    All in all, this book is a very enlightening piece--however, once it reached its end, I found that it became a bit too liberal for my taste. Quite frankly, I was very disappointed with the ending, because the rest of the book was clean, and UNTAINTED by liberal-ness. But, I would still recommend this book to any person who is interested in history (and, if you don't agree with it, you can read it to see what the 'other half' is saying).

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 1999

    Nothing new from the Liberal press.

    This book provided no new information, just a bunch of 'Right Wing' conspiracy theories. The 'lies' Loewen presented are universally known to anyone with half a brain. It seems that Loewen's main intent is to point emphasis where it doesn't belong. All intelligent individuals are aware of the Liberal agenda which we are bombarded with in school. We are aware of the Government is good liberal slant we are taught, Loewen attempts to point the politally correctness teaching styles toward the right. Loewen had an opportunity to inform us as a society, instead he rehashes already known information and levels the Clinton's charge of a 'vast right wing conspiracy'

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    The American History Book I Shoulda Read First

    I sincerely recommend that every American of middle school age and above should read this book! Packed with facts and explanations about our country's history that puts into a proper perspective all that school textbooks at the secondary and college level get all twisted up with misinformation and way too much ethnocentricity to make it plausible, yet I know I perceived my history as I was taught in grades 1 to 12 and at college as the valid word. What an eye-opener on many historical topics. I particularly enjoyed the thorough research and bibliography which pointed me to other interesting history books which have given me what I now feel is a much more solid knowledge of my country's history, scars, scandals, and all. Bravo!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Lies, lies, can't believe a word you say!

    I found this book to be extremely enlightening and somewhat scary. It's important for us to remember that so much of what we learn is what "someone" chose to teach us. I highly recommend reading it.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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