Lies My Teacher Told Me - Book Report


James Loewen wrote the book "Lies My Teacher Told ME" to help the students of the United States become aware of their true history. This book attempts to show how and why American history has been taught the way it has without regard for the truth. Mr. Loewen had compared twelve different history textbooks they are: The Great Republic, The American Way, Land of Promise, Rise of the American Nation, Challenge of Freedom, American Adventures, Discovering American History, The American Tradition, Life and Liberty, The United States ? A History of the Republic, Triumph of the American Nation and The American Pageant. Loewen has argued his cases for Heroification, Euorcentrism and the first settlers, and Racism in our history. He has done this knowing fully that most people do not want to know the harsh realities of our nations past. The United States has tried to maintain a positive image throughout history. Unfortunately, it has many skeletons in its closet that need to come out to heal this great nation on many levels. If the public at large new the real role of racism in our nations infancy and how men tried to pursue their way of thinking as opposed to what is good for the country they would be ashamed at what the United States has stood for in the past.

Heroification is a degenerative process that makes people into heroes regardless of any type of character flaw they may possess. It appears that Mr. Loewen?s greatest concern about heroification does not revolve around who gets chosen for the history books but what actually happens to them after they do. He cites two examples of people that had led colored lives but in our textbooks show them as people we should strive to become like. These two people are Helen Keller and President Woodrow Wilson. (Lies?19) Mr. Loewen feels that heroification has distorted the lives of Keller and Wilson and that we can no longer think straight about them. He does not just think this of these two but many other people throughout history. When it comes to Keller we think of someone who, throughout her entire life has struggled to overcome her disabilities. I feel that no one would dispute this but in reality Miss Keller was a radical Socialist for most of her life. This in itself is not so bad but her condemnation of the country into which she was born to and lived in could be considered treasonous. (Lies?20) President Wilson is also an example Loewen used in his book "Lies My Teacher Told Me". Current textbooks say that Wilson led the United States reluctantly into World War 1 and associate him with helping progressive causes. (Lies?22) Under his administration Wilson intervened in Latin America more often than at any other time in our history. He also led us into an "Unknown War" (Robert Maddock) that not even one of the twelve textbooks Loewen reviewed mentions. (Lies?24) Racial problems also plagued Wilson throughout his Presidency abusing power as Chief Executive he segregated the Federal Government. He appointed whites to offices that were traditionally reserved for black Americans. Also during his second term in office a wave of antiblack race riots swept the country and many blacks had lost their lives. Again these are only two examples amongst countless others which show how the textbooks do not show flaws in historical figures but heroifies them.

Euorcentrism is a term that is used in this book to describe how history has been written with its influence mainly from Europe or a European perspective. This unfortunately bases the way history is written and taught for example, textbooks use Christopher Columbus and 1492 as the day the Americas were "discovered" and by whom. Quite to the contrary the Vikings had landed in North America in approximately 1005 AD, but have been neglected when it comes to being given credit for the "discovery". (Lies?43) The real catcher to all of this is that the Americas had been inhabited during all of this by Native Indians who supposedly lived here for thousands of years prior to its "discovery". (Lies?70) One of the big questions that the book tries to answer was why Columbus had been given the credit for the "discovery" and why the Americas became a place to colonize. The book goes on telling