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.


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

A ghastly bore full of unintended irony

High school history text books walk a fine line, and they have to in order to be acceptable in such a diverse nation as ours. But if you were to put in everything Dr. Loewen wants, the book would be too heavy to carry. I agree that high school american history is boring. I certainly thought so at the time. Unfortunately, Loewen ends up often doing the exact same thing he accuses the textbooks of doing: inserting an agenda. And what is wrong with trying to make Americans feel good about their nation? As students mature, they will make up their own minds about a whole range of subjects, including history. By relying on dry facts, history books attempt to sidestep sensitive political issues.

Loewen seems to want history written as an editorial, and not let the reader decide for themselves. How many accept Loewen's multicultural thesis as fact? This wholesale acceptance of one point of view as fact is precisely the issue Mr. Loewen is trying to thwart. I hope this irony is not lost on Mr. Loewen.

Dr. Loewen is certainly entitled to his point of view, but I am concerned by the attempt to hide an agenda of political indoctrination under the cloak of "objective" scholarship. The book contains selective facts that support a political agenda. Is multiculturalism about minority viewpoints or political correctness? According to this book, liberal ideas such as multiculturalism are not to be questioned - they are to be taught to students as gospel. This is disturbing stuff. Where, then, is the questioning? Loewen is a sociologist, not a historian. History is history. You can't lie about it.

The narration is adequate, though a bit on the excitable side sometimes.
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- James

Book Details

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