Tuesday, May 16, 2006

45. "Lies My Teacher Told Me" ~ James W. Loewen

"[...] books actually make students stupid." If the author is correct, then American education needs an overhaul.

Most of us have watched with a mixture of discomfort and honor of "heritage" as children replay the first Thanksgiving - happy Indians, the introduction of turkey and maize, the first mix of the American melting pot. We've known that's not how it happened. We've known that Columbus may have discovered this new world (or did he? - this book analyzes that "legend"), but that native peoples lived here for centuries.

Take that itch of discomfort and ratchet it up to that of 10,000 mosquito bites on your nether regions. That's what this book does. It explains the fallacies of the history taught in today's schools, as well as the reasons why history needs to be taught differently. It's much easier to understand the hatred toward America when president after president invades or bombs other countries.

This book also dissects our views of common figures or events. Helen Keller - a socialist! Nixon - a liar! OK, some of it is obvious, but the majority is fascinating viewpoints that links more than just dates and names.

Unfortunately, it is dull. It is history. I know the author tried his best to make it interesting (and his passion is pronounced through his use of exclamation points). But... it's history. This is not a book that you can read while swinging in a hammock. Sn-zzzz.

3.5 out of 5.0 Stars and Stripes.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

I'm glad you reviewed this book. In my first year of college got to listen to the author speak and I picked up a copy of this book. I cannot recall much now about the prose style, but I found the facts in the book to be very enlightening. It was one of those watershed books for me that really changed the way I look at education.