Book Review



Title: Lies My Teacher Told Me

Author: James W. Loewen

ISBN: 1-56584-100-X     pgs.372

Copyright:  1995

Not sure where to begin with this book. It was gift from my daughter so I knew I would have to read it. There were a number of occasions while reading it I thought the trash can would be a good place for it. I lingered on through  and finished it. I guess in many respects I am glad I did. Being a student of history I have learned , like many other areas of study, the author can determine the angle they want to go with in their writings. His bias does not take long to surface and depending on your convictions that will either be a good or bad thing.

He did what I would consider a decent amount of research and what he reveals will unsettle many. He basically cuts right to core of what we have been “traditionally” taught concerning the foundation of this great nation and exposes areas that have been intentionally/inadvertently left out of text books. Below is a sampling of my thoughts.

Chapter 1  deals with the issue of Heroification. Rather than address all of the flaws, character traits, ambitions, policies and so forth the author contends that many of the history books write with a slant to accentuate the positive with a bit of license of course. For example generations of young people grow up thinking Woodrow Wilson was a great democratic president. Of course what you don’t know is that of his involvement with  the KKK (this organization by the way dominated the Democratic party) and his  tendencies towards what we now call racism.

Helen Keller another prominent individual who was both deaf and blind, but became a hero for efforts, among other things, with woman’s suffrage issues. However, Hellen Keller was a radical socialist.  She sang the praises of socialism. The author stated that she joined the Socialist part of Massachussets in 1909. Of course during this time that was a definite problem. Today it is a different, I mean we have Democratic Socialist running for president. My, what has this country come to!

Chapter 2  His treatise on Columbus was startling to say the least. Columbus was not a nice man. I am putting that mildly. What happened to the Arawak Indians (slavery and sex trade) was inexcusable and not behavior that would a mark a man as a hero to be praised.

Chapter 3 Thanksgiving will never be looked at the same after reading this work. This chapter deals with the plagues brought here and the devastation it caused to the indigenous people already here is heartbreaking. He of course deals with other issues surrounding this now national holiday.

Of course the remainder of the book goes along these lines. Taking on the tough questions in areas of character and history that we were taught growing up and revealing the other side.  I would imagine the author got some hate mail after this one.

Will everyone benefit from this, probably not, but the history buffs will. It will help form another notch in the belt of historical knowledge and take you a step further from being a dilettante.  To all HAPPY READING! – Pastor Tim