Lies My Teacher Told Me

  • by James W. Loewen
  • Narrated by Brian Keeler
  • 14 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This national best seller is an entertaining, informative, and sometimes shocking expose of the way history is taught to American students. Lies My Teacher Told Me won the American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship.James W. Loewen, a sociology professor and distinguished critic of history education, puts 12 popular textbooks under the microscope, and what he discovers will surprise you. In his opinion, every one of these texts fails to make its subject interesting or memorable. Worse still is the proliferation of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, and misinformation filling the pages.
From the truth about Christopher Columbus to the harsh reality of the Vietnam War, Loewen picks apart the lies we've been told. This is a book that will forever change your view of the past.

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What the Critics Say

"Lies My Teacher Told Me goes beyond recounting fallacies of history and correcting American image: it surveys social issues misreported, ideas misrepresented, and encourages students of history to think about not only the facts, but the reporting which embellishes and colors their presentation. An invaluable guide for the reader." (Midwest Book Review)
"An extremely convincing plea for truth in education." (San Francisco Chronicle)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Of course he has an agenda. He wrote a book!

I agree with the criticism that the author has an agenda, but I disagree that it is so clearly biased. While his examples often include commentary and opinion, the reader should be able to filter through that to the real point: there is a lot of missing information or outright lies told in high school history books used today.

I especially like the reviewer here who expresses the sentiment that Americans be proud of their history. That reviewer misses the main point which is that you don't only tell the positives without any of the negatives because you deprive the student from understanding that history, both the people and the events in it, are not one dimension things which can be glossed over.

I challenge any reader/listeners of this book to think about whether the way Americans are taught history is accurate for all students. If you are native American, African, or any other racial group other than white, are the stories accurate or is American history just supposed to make white Americans feel good about how great they are?

I am white and no apologist. History is history and none of us are responsible for what others did, especially in the past. The point is that history should help us understand why our world is the way it is today. If it's just a feel good fiction story, what is the point?
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- Timothy

I Thought everyone who could think already knew

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes it is worth a read, and what is written is true, I myself thought that most already knew most of the facts within this book. You may have to plow your way though some of the book.


What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The conclusion could be seen long before the ending of the book. I do go along with the idea put forth that too much is covered in the teaching of our history, and that more important than remembering dates and names would be to open up the minds of the student to what was their take on the information put before them. Teach history as an interesting story and the student will learn and take an interest in it.


Any additional comments?

History can be the most interesting class that a high school student would take. It is up to the teacher to make it so. Our present school systems do not allow our teachers to do this. Don't teach to test teach to Think!

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- Ira

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-18-2004
  • Publisher: Recorded Books