Not So!: Popular Myths about America's Past from Columbus to Clinton

Overview

As he did in his bestselling They Never Said It, Boller provides us with a cornucopia of historical correction, debunking myths that range from the trivial - for instance, George Washington did not have false teeth made of wood (they were made of ivory) - to the pernicious (FDR did not know in advance that the Japanese planned to bomb Pearl Harbor). Boller doesn't simply debunk each myth, but instead provides us with much fascinating history surrounding each case, so that the reader is treated to intriguing ...
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Overview

As he did in his bestselling They Never Said It, Boller provides us with a cornucopia of historical correction, debunking myths that range from the trivial - for instance, George Washington did not have false teeth made of wood (they were made of ivory) - to the pernicious (FDR did not know in advance that the Japanese planned to bomb Pearl Harbor). Boller doesn't simply debunk each myth, but instead provides us with much fascinating history surrounding each case, so that the reader is treated to intriguing discussions of many singular episodes in American history, including the Kennedy assassination, the McCarthy hearings, the events leading up to Pearl Harbor, and Watergate. And finally, if the book provides many eye-opening surprises and amusing passages, there is also a serious side of Boller's exploration of American myth. As he shows, much misinformation has been cooked up for political or ideological reasons. By debunking these tales, Boller warns us to question what we hear and what we think we know about America and about our leaders, past and present.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A superior package of intellectual bonbons....Oh, conspiracy theorists won't like Boller's work, but the rest of us will."--Booklist

"The writing is lively, and readers will come away knowing--or thinking they know--something they didn't."--Publishers Weekly

From Barnes & Noble
This cornucopia of historical correction debunks myths ranging from the trivial to the pernicious, while providing information about many singular episodes in American history, from the McCarthy hearings to the Kennedy assassination and from Yalta to Watergate. A candid look at our country's past that gives us the real "skinny" on long-held beliefs surrounding Columbus's voyage, the dirtiness of presidential campaigns and scandals, George Washington's false teeth, American Puritanism, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom, the Pledge of Allegiance, much more.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195109726
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 7.94 (w) x 5.25 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Paul F. Boller, Jr., is Professor of History Emeritus at Texas Christian University. He is the author of many popular books on American history, including the bestselling Presidential Anecdotes, Congressional Anecdotes, Presidential Campaigns, and They Never Said It (with John George).

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Table of Contents

1 Columbus and the Flat-Earthers 3
2 Pre-Columbian America 7
3 The Puritans and Religious Freedom 13
4 Roger Williams's Soul Liberty 16
5 Sex and the American Puritan 19
6 The Second and the Fourth of July 25
7 George Washington's Prayer at Valley Forge 29
8 George Washington's False Teeth 33
9 The Founding Fathers and Democracy 35
10 The Declaration, the Constitution, and Natural Rights 39
11 The Religion of Thomas Paine 42
12 Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings 45
13 Thomas Jefferson on Government 49
14 James Madison and Congressional Power 52
15 The War of 1812 and Vietnam 55
16 President Fillmore's Bathtub 61
17 William T. Seward and the Higher Law 63
18 Uncle Tom as a Black Hero 66
19 Sexual Preferences: Abraham Lincoln and James Buchanan 72
20 Abraham Lincoln's Defense of His Wife 77
21 Abraham Lincoln's Religion 79
22 Senator Lodge and the League of Nations 86
23 President Harding's Strange Death 95
24 Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression 98
25 Justice Holmes and President Roosevelt 102
26 Presidential Ghostwriters 104
27 FDR and Soviet Recognition 110
28 President Roosevelt and the Attack on Pearl Harbor 117
29 Eleanor Roosevelt's Love Life 127
30 FDR and Yalta 135
31 Harry Truman and the Vice Presidency 144
32 Hiroshima and the American Left 147
33 Losing China 154
34 McCarthy and the Commies 161
35 JFK and Vietnam 167
36 The Kennedy Assassination 173
37 President Nixon's Domestic Policies 183
38 Watergate 188
39 The Pledge of Allegiance 195
40 Presidential Salutes 198
41 Presidential Campaigns 204
42 Presidential Wives 213
43 Presidential Scandals 222
44 President-Bashing 232
Notes 247
Index 271
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    Let Me Change One Thought!

    Boller IS a total FDR apologist/excuse maker. One would have to be a total idiot to buy all his "debunking" of supposed "myths" surrounding Franklin D. Roosevelt. One notices that, when it comes to anything regarding FDR, Boller goes way out of his way to write near treatise length rebuttals of the supposed flaws/faults and other mistakes and misguided manuevers of the Roosevelt Presidency/Regency. This was/is common to those who, still living, remain admitted or closet Rooseveltian-era apologists. In some ways they are much like the Clinton apologiste of today; despite everything, they can see no wrong in the man and will defend each and every one of his ugly deeds to the death. The more one reviews the lengthy attempts at debunking everything ever thought to be bad about FDR and/or Eleanor, the more one suspects that the man "doth protest too much". One suspects the potential TRUTH in the "myth" and the LIE in the "debunking" of same. Which does, of course, make one suspect that maybe Boller DOES have an agenda after all and causes one to have to suspect and re-examine his debunking of other myths, even the obvious ones. Much like in the short story/parable, "The Pearl" one wonders if the character flaw that might have run through Roosevelt, as it clearly does with Clinton, runs through Boller as well.

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