Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen | Teen Ink

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen MAG

July 5, 2011
By SaddleShoeGal PLATINUM, Granite Canyon, Wyoming
SaddleShoeGal PLATINUM, Granite Canyon, Wyoming
23 articles 42 photos 71 comments

Favorite Quote:
"History is the key to the future"--Melinda Emerson
"Never tell the truth to those unworthy of it"--Mark Twain


Lies my Teacher Told Me is an informative book about what high school textbook authors have left out, lied about, or distorted when describing our nation's past. James Loewen spent 11 years researching this book that “Every teacher, every student of history, every citizen should read,” according to Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States. Loewen covers a wide range of topics, from the truth about Christopher Columbus to racism in our country.

U.S. history has been distorted until the real stories are almost unrecognizable. Textbook authors want students to respect the past and learn from it, so they write about the good things that have happened. However, humans learn from mistakes, so it is helpful to learn what mistakes not to make, but that is exactly what authors usually leave out.

They don't write about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington being slave owners because that's not what anybody wants to hear about our founding fathers. These authors turn history into boring facts and dates that students must memorize. They fail to engage students' interest or encourage them to ask powerful questions like “Why?”

This is exactly what Loewen wants the world to learn. History textbooks have left out many facts that give insight into our past. Some of these authors even make up stories and rarely write about the recent past. They depict heroes as people who never did a single bad thing. This is not real history! According to writer Mary Mackey, this book is “An extremely convincing plea for truth in education.”

The last two chapters, “Why is History Taught like This?” and “What is the Result of Teaching History Like This?” debate why nobody has changed the textbooks. “Could it be that they just don't know the truth?” Loewen asks. As a result, students are not engaged in history; they just study for tests and soon forget the information. “Students will start learning history when they see the point of doing so, when it seems interesting and important to them, and when they believe history might relate to their lives and futures,” he writes.

This book is for all of us who want to know the truth about America's past and uncover what our high school textbooks lied about. It contains a lot of information, and you will learn much that is contrary to what you were taught in school.


The author's comments:
I read this book because I love history, and my teacher recommended it to me. It was pretty good, but dry in parts.

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This article has 3 comments.


on Jan. 8 2012 at 1:29 am
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

I think this is a great article, but is getting bad reviews because people don't want to believe everything they've been taught is wrong, or at least biased. Excellent job; this definitely deserved to be in the magazine!

on Oct. 25 2011 at 8:40 pm
SaddleShoeGal PLATINUM, Granite Canyon, Wyoming
23 articles 42 photos 71 comments

Favorite Quote:
"History is the key to the future"--Melinda Emerson
"Never tell the truth to those unworthy of it"--Mark Twain

I have been getting quite a few bad reviews on this article. If you could help me out and let me know why you gave me a bad review, that would be great! Thanks!

on Jul. 31 2011 at 12:58 pm
futurerousseau BRONZE, Vienna, Virginia
3 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Not all those who wander are lost - Tolkien

This sounds like a really interesting book! The topic is definitely important. Thanks for writing a review of it!


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