Reddit Reddit reviews Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

We found 112 Reddit comments about Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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112 Reddit comments about Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong:

u/AtheistSteve · 340 pointsr/AskReddit

There is a book called Lies My Teacher Told Me that has a chapter that talks about how these high school text books are written. It is very leftwardly slanted, but overall a pretty good read.

EDIT would you consider doing an AMA?

u/cyancynic · 48 pointsr/Denver

Checked out her facebook page. Who decided this idiot Julie Williams should be on a school board? Her highest level of academic achievement was attending a 4th tier local community college. Her facebook page still cites junk “studies” linking vaccines to autism. She’s a proud fan of Hannity and a bunch of other extremist right wing talking heads, and she cites mostly Koch sock puppet think tank “articles”.

It would be nice to have school board members who actually have a quality education. As to the history texts - I suggest Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. Its been a long time since I’ve been in school and I learned a lot.

u/OriginalStomper · 38 pointsr/Foodforthought

This emphasizes different points from those made in Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Texas is the most populous state to approve textbooks at the state level. That means textbook publishers cater to Texas or their books fail, and schools elsewhere are often stuck with whatever Texas approved.

Texas is a Red state still deeply in denial about slavery and racism. Last I checked, kids in Texas public schools are still taught that the Civil War started for a "variety" of reasons, only one of which was slavery.

Publishers who want a successful textbook must therefore cater to Texas by downplaying the viciousness and significance of slavery. This is a primary reason why teachers have a hard time finding the materials they need.

u/[deleted] · 33 pointsr/politics

As much as I love this book for its radical views, one has to take it with a grain of salt. Zinn gives food for thought but occasionally forgets to cite his sources.

What I like even better:

u/raitalin · 24 pointsr/AskHistorians

There's a couple:

In elementary school, I Love Paul Revere Whether He Rode or Not was my first introduction to the idea of history with an agenda. It's mostly a collection of interesting facts, but it does spend some time talking about why people (Americans specifically in this case) mythologize our history.

In Middle School I went totally crazy over the US Civil War, largely because of Gettysburg.

In high school came Marx & the concepts of class and progressive history. I'm not a Marxist politically (not anymore at least, but how else does a history nerd rebel in high school?), but I do think these ideas inform my personal historical narrative.

Then came the reason I finally returned to school for history: Lies My Teacher Told Me. I'd already been bothered by American politicians and citizens presentizing the opinions and actions of our founding fathers, as well as the myth of our unified national ideology, but this book illustrated how we pass that flawed narrative along, dooming people to make the same mistakes.

u/metarinka · 16 pointsr/bestof

I'll give some historical context.

After WWII all our factories were still at full capacity and switched back to making personal cars, and all these returning vets on the GI bill want to college or back to good factory jobs and started buying homes and settling down.

Now the popular notion at the time was that city life was dying. Why get at best a row house or apartment in New york or philadelphia when you can build or buy a crafstmen house for the same price out in the suburbs. Also as civil rights was coming about it was convenient to cede the inner city to African Americans and poor and use things like loan restrictions to zone and price them out of the nice crime free suburbs.

So given the popular notion that the city and urban life was dying. Most city planning resources when into road construction so everyone could live out in the surburbs and take the new highways to their jobs. Entire cities were built up around this concept. In order to pay for this essentially halted Urban public works like subways and light rail. Why would you want to go on a stuffy subway with negroes when you can commute in your cadillac with radio and select-a-matic transmission?

So the results are profound and easy to verify. Any city that become major and modern after world war II has terrible public transportation: Examples include LA, Houston, Denver, Portland. Any city that was major before WWII tends to have still strong public transportation like Chicago, New york, Boston, D.C.

We basically decided as a nation that surburban life was awesome and gave up on public transportation. We even went steps further in places like LA where they actively bought out trolley lines just to close them down and pave over the tracks. Also the very way we designed our suburbs actively discourage pedestrainism and many live in places that "have no where to walk to". I'm ashamed to say that even my hometown Ann Arbor fell into that spiral and built many planned developments that have no feasible options of walking or biking to get to any retail area.

TLDR: city planners after WWII decided everyone (who was white) should live in suburbs and stopped funding public transportation.

Edit: for those who don't believe me this was covered by sociologists in the way things never were

and lies my teacher told me both fascinating reads

u/mugrimm · 15 pointsr/ChapoTrapHouse

These should be the top recommendations hands down, both of these books were designed with your specific goal in mind:

A People's History of America - This focuses on history of the US from the perspective of the everyman rather than the 'big man' side of history where every politician is a gentle statesman. It shows just how barbaric and ghoulish those in charge often are.

Lies My Teacher Told Me. - Similar to the last one, this one shows how modern history loves to pretend all sorts of shit did not happen or ignore anything that's even slightly discomforting, like the idea that Henry Ford literally inspired Hitler, both in a model industry and anti-semitism.

These are both relatively easy reads with lots of praise.

Adam Curtis docs are always good, I recommend starting with one called "Black Power" which answers the question "What happens to African countries when they try to play ball with the west?"

u/DeathLeopard · 14 pointsr/bestof

I'd recommend reading Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong if you're curious about the accuracy of American high school history textbooks.

u/echinops · 11 pointsr/IndianCountry

I have been reading Lies my Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. He does a very decent and attempted unbiased approach at describing the interactions between European colonists and the indigenous cultures.

Christopher Columbus, for example, was a greedy Spanish imperialist seeking riches for himself and the monarchy. He condoned and promoted genocide (against the Haitians), sex trafficking (of young native females), and slave trading on a vast scale. I won't go into the bucket list of his atrocities, but they were the templet used moving forward into the continental genocides (North & South America, Australia, Africa) that followed.

Yet we are told in our schools that he "sailed the ocean blue," and was a swell guy who founded America.

u/mr_illcallya · 10 pointsr/historyteachers
u/ididnotdoitever · 10 pointsr/politics

American History classes are far more focused than World History classes. That and American textbooks are whitewashed in a big way.

Everybody should read this book for a good grasp on what's happening with American History classes indoctrination.

u/HyprAwakeHyprAsleep · 9 pointsr/TrollXChromosomes

Whew, okay. Pulled out my actual computer to answer this.
So, a lot of what I could recommend isn't short stuff you could read in an afternoon because 1. it's depressing as fuck, and 2. it's likely heavy with the sheer volume of references wherein at least one book attempts to bludgeon you with the facts that "this was depressing as fuck." Frequent breaks or alternating history-related books with fiction/poetry/other topics is rather recommended from my experience. Can't remember if I got onto this topic through Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States or Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong or just some random book found in the library.

The very clean cut, textbook Wikipedia definition of "sundown town", aka "Don't let the sun set (down) on you here.", (Ref:, is:
> sometimes known as sunset towns or gray towns, are all-white municipalities or neighborhoods in the United States that practice a form of segregation by enforcing restrictions excluding people of other races via some combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation, and violence.

For my intro into the subject however, read Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America. This is a very emotionally draining, mentally exhausting book though, frequently with lists of atrocities in paragraph form. I think it's an important read, one which frankly should've been covered my senior year of highschool or so, but it's a difficult one. Also on my reading list is The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration which is a surprising and sneakily hopeful title for such a depressing topic, so only guessing the narration may be somewhat more accessible.

Also, 'cause I totally didn't run to my kindle app to list out titles before fully reading your post, here's some below, and relisted one above, by timeline placement, best as can be figured. These might not be the best on each topic, but they're the ones available to my budget at the time and some are still on my reading list.

The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion

u/Freakears · 9 pointsr/politics

What about "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything your American History Textbook Got Wrong" by James W. Loewen? I imagine they'd like the title, then get progressively more horrified as they proceeded.

u/mm242jr · 8 pointsr/politics

China is the newest hegemony. The US didn't have a choice in Germany or Japan after WWII, since it was either step in or let Stalin take over. Read this fascinating article:

> Stalin had been secretly plotting an offensive against Hitler’s Germany, and would have invaded in September 1941, or at the latest by 1942. Stalin ... wanted Hitler to destroy democracy in Europe, in the manner of an icebreaker, thereby clearing the way for world communism. The book undermined the idea that the USSR was an innocent party, dragged into the second world war. Russian liberals supported Suvorov’s thesis; it now has broad acceptance among historians

The US was founded by slaveowners using the pretext of representation, but it was all about commerce. They put in place a horrific non-democratic system, the Electoral College. The US has intervened repeatedly in democracies and put in place brutal regimes. Read All The Shah's Men, for example.

One reason you might have started with a rosy view is that republicans control how US history is taught to schools across the country; see last two chapters of this book.

As for California, your Congressional representatives are amazing. I'm counting on them to nail that fucking orange traitor.

To counter the criticism above, it was the US that finally shoved the UN aside in Bosnia and stopped the genocide with a few well-placed missiles, albeit three years and 100,000 civilians too late, and it was the US that shoved the UN aside very early when Serbia attacked Kosovo later in that same decade. Fucking Kofi Annan and his inaction in Rwanda... (The hero of that story is Canadian: Romeo Dallaire.)

u/Static_Line_Bait · 8 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'm not sure if these necessarily meet the standard for this sub, but two layman-friendly and highly interesting books you might like are Lies My Teacher Told Me and Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches.

u/jmurphy42 · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

That's definitely a failure of your school system, though I'm not going to comment on Georgia's in general since I know nothing about it. I'm a former teacher who's had experience in several school districts, and all of them required a basic world history course that heavily covered Europe. Heck, when I was in school we covered European geography and history in 5th grade, then again in middle school, and again in high school.

Sounds like you got robbed. Luckily, there's lots of great books out there you can use to catch yourself up if you care to, and some of them are free. (I tried to only highlight affordable ones, but libraries are a great resource too!)

u/jij · 7 pointsr/Christianity

For a few reasons.

  1. It would really really hard for it to not break the establishment clause because you know some teachers will take it too far... thus it's a liability.
  2. There just isn't that much factual about it to teach from a history perspective... most historians think Jesus existed (according to /r/askhistorians) , but they don't go much beyond that. The actual historical lesson on it would take like an hour.
  3. History classes in general are bland and full of fact memorizing, the whole subject is generally hollow and lifeless in order to cover massive amounts of time and things instead of actually having discussions and focusing on certain events and places. Not to mention the textbook writers try to please every group with an agenda, thus making the book absurdly neutral. A decent write-up about this last point can be read here:
u/h54 · 6 pointsr/TrueAskReddit

There are tons of examples out there. American interventionism was following an upward trajectory in the late 19th century. The Philippines, Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Russia, etc, etc were all targets of American intervention. Wilson invaded more nations than any other president in US history.

This book is a pretty good starting point:

u/citizen_reddit · 6 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

If you read Lies My Teacher Told Me the author touches upon this concept. A certain cultural and societal mindset was required - for the most part (vastly simplified) the Chinese simply lacked the motivation or mindset to do what Europe did.

u/LBKosmo · 6 pointsr/news
u/rabidfurby · 5 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

+1, definitely read as much history as you can. I'd highly recommend Lies My Teacher Told Me in addition to Zinn.

u/Cyhawk · 5 pointsr/TumblrInAction

The Redneck Manifesto, Jim Goad puts a good finger on why exactly people in the US confuse class with race and even predicted the rise of SJWs to some extent years ago. Other material such as Lies my Teacher Told me and A people's history of the United States help put a better perspective from a historical standpoint.

TL;DR the books: The Wealthy (read: Not rich, but wealthy) decided that after the Civil War and after the conclusion of the French Revolution, they would pit the poor against each other and fight for the scraps instead of turning their eyes upward and see who is dropping the scraps. Seems to be working well.

u/lemme-explain · 5 pointsr/conspiracy

> Racism isn’t rampant. Its factually not.

You and I live in different worlds, with different facts.

> If you really believe racism is thriving, you either don’t interact with real people or you are projecting your own bigotry onto the rest of the world.

LOL. First of all, I'm not a bigot, and if I was, I can't imagine how I would "project" that onto the world and convince myself that racism was both rampant and a serious problem. Bigots do not think that way. Bigots think that the way they think is normal, that everyone agrees with them, and that they are not bigots.

And, I definitely do talk to real people, including real people of color, and I know what they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Look, I get where you're coming from -- I grew up in a part of the country that was heavily segregated, where the public schools taught a lot of lies about equality while papering over every bad thing that ever happened in U.S. history. Our 10th grade U.S. history teacher told us that black slaves in the antebellum South were happy to be slaves, and weren't ready for freedom. I later learned that these lies and more are rampant across the South.

And, if you know your history, it makes perfect sense! The Civil War wasn't even that long ago, and the resentment lingers. People don't want to believe that their ancestors were evil, so they tell themselves that blacks are inferior and subhuman. Hell, we get at least a post a day on this forum telling us that blacks do terrible on IQ tests and that there's a conspiracy to hide this. Racism is everywhere around us. It's woven into our culture, inextricably. I could start pointing to examples but it would never end. If you're not seeing it, that's because your eyes aren't open.

u/caramal · 5 pointsr/politics

I highly suggest you read this book. Changed my world, it did.

States rights were a secondary issue to slavery, but they have been pushed as the issue of the civil war in a campaign that began in Woodrow Wilson's day (if I remember correctly from the book) as the country's backslide back to racism gained a lot of steam.

u/KeithBlenman · 4 pointsr/booksuggestions

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Loewen

u/stabbyrum · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

If you are interested in this, I highly recommend Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. He covers several history books and looks how how each one addresses important events in american history. sometimes it's kinda depressing, but it's a great read.

u/RushIndustries · 4 pointsr/AskMen

You should read this book, I think you might like it...

u/keryskerys · 4 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen was an eye-opener for me. I read it years ago, and haven't read the updated version, but I did find that one interesting.

Also Michio Kaku's "Hyperspace" is thoroughly entertaining and educational.

u/GameMusic · 4 pointsr/Political_Revolution

Read Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

u/xxruruxx · 4 pointsr/japan

I went to a top 100 high school and a top 30 university. Didn't actually learn about the destruction of the Americas until my sophomore year of college. The "Thanksgiving" myth is one of the most insulting--which public school only reinforces.

I don't think a proper account of the destruction of the Americas is school-appropriate. You know, stabbing pregnant women's bellies with spears and throwing children into pits of knives. Cutting off their hands and tying them around their necks to "go send a message" to the others. Mass executions by hanging or burning at the stake. Dismemberment. Sending the dogs to tear villagers apart from limb to limb. Entire clans hanging themselves in the woods to escape the horrors. Friendly competition on who could torture the best. Slavery. Don't really think the PTA was so keen on this rated R account.

As a matter of fact, I don't believe that any textbook I read actually acknowledges uses the term "genocide" in public education.

You should really read Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, if you actually believe that US public education adequately describes genocide in the Americas. Also, Las Casas is the source for my first paragraph.
Edit: Yes, I understand that Las Casas was writing about South America, but I still didn't learn about the Spanish Inquisition in any detail. We were tested more on what resources were valuable, and the names of European Kings.

u/potatolicious · 4 pointsr/WTF

There's a really good book that I'm reading right now that goes into detail with this. The book's theme is basically ripping on common American History textbooks for gratuitously false and misleading representations of history and the dangers of it - there are several chapters dealing with race relations and how the North is far from innocent, despite the common view of American history.

u/awesley · 4 pointsr/history

> He was a warhawk and an imperialist.

And a big racist. See Lies My Teacher Told Me

u/TheFissureMan · 4 pointsr/classic4chan

I'm not talking specifically about war crimes.

History textbooks ignore the role that Native American had in our history. For example, for the first 2 centuries of American history, our government waged constant war against Native American tribes. Many of the democratic principles incorporated into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were present in the Iroquois Federation. This wasn't coincidence.

When they are discussed, they are written from a one sided view, removing any controversy and often written from the archetype of the savage.

Textbooks also try to give you the impression that if only Native Americans assimilated into European culture, they would have been accepted. However the reality is that Americans did not want Native Americans to assimilate and denied them their basic rights.

Did you use one of these textbooks? These were all critiqued by James Lowen in his book.

  • The American Adventure (1975)

  • American Adventures (1987)

  • American History (1982)

  • The American Pageant (1991)

  • The American Tradition (1984)

  • The American Way (1979)

  • The Challenge of Freedom (1990)

  • Discovering American History (1974)

  • Land of Promise (1983)

  • Life and Liberty (1984)

  • Triumph of the American Nation (1986)

  • The United States: A History of the Republic (1991)

  • The American Pageant (2006)

  • The American Journey (2000)

  • The Americans (2007)

  • America: Pathways to the Present (2005)

  • A History of the United States (2005)

  • Holt American Nation (2003)
u/freezoneandproud · 3 pointsr/scientology

I think you misunderstand me, or at least you're using a different definition of "hero" than I am.

My point is that a hero is someone who does the right thing at the right time, despite his fears or weaknesses. Someone who runs into a burning building to save a child is not necessarily a wonderful human being in every way possible; he might be an embezzler who cheat on his wife. For the moment in which he committed the heroic act, however, he is a hero. The moment of heroism (and its effects) is admirable, even though the other behavior is not.

There's a marvelous book called Lies My Teacher Told Me, which is about the way American History is taught in high school. In it, the author goes to great lengths to describe how we're taught a whitewashed history in which the people we're expected to admire (such as presidents and the founding fathers) were all wholly admirable. Yet, as the author points out, it's not the human weaknesses of these people that is notable but that they rose above them. Flawed human beings managed to work together to create a Declaration of Independence that is somehow a reflection of the best of our ideals, and gives us something to work towards.

I see scientology the way I do the vision of the founding fathers. We start with the premise that the ideals are attainable, and we work towards attaining them -- even if we do not reach any kind of perfection.

I don't think that LRH was any kind of saint. I think he could be an asshat, and worse. I think he could have done far better with scientology if he let it continue to be okay for others to contribute to it, both technically and in leadership ways, and if he had acknowledged the contributions others did make. But he did devote most of his life to finding ways to get us all out of the mess -- including himself, even if he did not succeed.

u/Commander_Shepard_ · 3 pointsr/videos

And it's been going on for quite a while. American Textbooks are biased, uninformative, and often filled with outright lies designed solely to promote the American Mythos (the idea that certain historical figures were almost godlike or otherwise infallible and filled with pro-american spirit and viewpoints.)

And you can read more about it. Lies my Teacher Told Me is an excellent book on the subject. The author went through dozens of textbooks paragraph by paragraph and counted the inconsistencies, errors, and outright lies he found.

u/Balrog_of_Morgoth · 3 pointsr/movies

James Loewen gives a convincing argument in Lies My Teacher Told Me that slavery was indeed the primary cause of the Civil War. He also directs the reader to South Carolina's Declaration of Secession, in which the string "slave" appears 18 times.

u/youreillusive · 3 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon


["Lies my Teacher Told Me"] ( by James Loewen. This is about how the world really works, basically. It's all about history and politics and economics and how world powers interact with each other and their own population. It's incredibly eye-opening and will make you understand why everything is the way it is today! It's also ridiculously fun to read :D

["The Quantum and the Lotus by"] ( by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan. This is a super fascinating read! It's actually a transcribed conversation between a Buddhist who became a quantum physicist and a physicist who left science and became a Buddhist! It's this AMAZING look into complicated science and it's explained in such simple terms anyone can understand it. But beyond that, it's this really fascinating glimpse into a world where science and spirituality can co-exist. It's like science explaining spirituality, or spirituality giving a wholesome quality to science. It's just so unique and amazing!

["The Power of Myth"] ( by Joseph Campbell. If you can, read EVERYTHING by this guy that you can get your hands on! This book is especially poignant because it's addressing all of the aspects of our modern day society, from religion to gangs to marriage, even education. It is incredibly powerful and eye-opening and explains so much about the way we work as humans and the way the individual interacts with society. Plus, you'll learn a shit ton about mythology that you never knew before! And you'll be looking at mythology from a ridiculously profound perspective that I've never seen anyone else address before.

I can give you more if you tell me what you're interested in learning more about :)

EDIT: Typos.

u/JoeSki42 · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

Lies my Teacher Taught Me: Everything your American History Textbook got Wrong by James Loewen. Fascinating book about what, and why, much of what is taught in Us history textbooks is inaccurate and why most of it is written in a manner that makes the subject boring as sin. Amazing read.

Gig: Americans Talk about Their Jobs. Over 120 masterfully conducted interviews with american workers; ranging from crime scene cleaners to lawn mowing men to transvestite prostitutes. Each interivew is about 4-5 pages long so there's no need to read it in order or in a long sitting. One of my most favorite books and one that helped me decide what I wanted to do for a living. Criminally overlooked and incredibly eye opening.

u/jaythebrb · 3 pointsr/history

Lies My Teacher Told Me was a good read, but kinda the opposite of textbook.

u/fingolfin_was_nuts · 3 pointsr/books

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong is a great book. Importantly, to the study of history, it goes beyond debunking and setting the record straight and stresses history is not cut-and-try but a series of possibilities, arguments, and evidence. Very readable, too.

u/white_crust_delivery · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

What about Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong ? It's a bit above his age group (high school level I'd say) but if he's the type of kid who wants to read books about American history then he's probably above his reading level. This will also allow him to be obnoxiously pedantic and quite possibly correct his teachers in school, which I feel like a good amount of 13 year old boys would enjoy. I also think it's perfect for his age, considering he's probably starting to question authority, and this book pushes back against some of the whitewashing and blind optimism that you see in some American history textbooks.

u/spiceydog · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook

You might also enjoy Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me which was very popular some years ago. My husband was in college learning to be a history teacher and absolutely loved it.

u/the_bigger_jerk · 3 pointsr/teaching

Acting classes, plural! I took a few as electives in college because it was fun and I am so very grateful I did! Now, as a "seasoned" teacher, I recommend them to the student teachers and practicum students I deal with daily. You HAVE to know how to improvise for more reasons than I could explain here.

As far as books I would base my recommendations on the population you want to serve, and you have to WANT to serve. As a general rule I would start with Educating Esme, A Kind and Just Parent, Lies My Teacher Told Me, and a lot of kid and young adult books. If you want specifics just let me know. I teach banned books!

u/Total_Denomination · 3 pointsr/facepalm

Everyone should read Lies My Teacher Told me.

u/Borimi · 3 pointsr/history

I'm assuming here that you haven't really studied any history since high school, and at the time you likely found it dreadfully boring (don't we all). If this is correct, take solace in the fact that you were being taught history in likely the worst way possible, and the system almost seems designed to bore you and the rest of the students to death.

One tactic, then, would be for you to work on thinking about history more as it is: seeking answers to the fundamental "why" questions that tell what it means, collectively, to be us. It's a study of choices and struggles and understanding the challenging, horrible, daunting circumstances they faced. High school curriculum drives out such notions of struggle and difficulty because they invite controversial questions, like why the rich manipulated the poor or why the white mistreated and killed the black/Native American. In doing so they deny any of the historical actors, whether oppressed or oppressor, their humanity, and without that who cares about studying them?

I would hope that once you get more exposed to actual history and not names and dates, that you'll grow more of a natural interest for the subject. As such, I have two books to recommend you:

  1. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. This book, initially controversial, will turn your initially learned narrative of American history on its head. The good people are usually bad and the quiet people are loud. Be careful, though. It's a new, highly useful angle from which to view American history but its not some gospel of truth either, just because it has a forbidden fruit feel, like you're learning what they don't want you to know.

  2. Lies my Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. This book says in better words that I mentioned already, how school textbooks water down American history into nothing so that everyone swallows it without complaint. It'll also shake up a bunch of assumptions and, hopefully, leave you wanting more.

    These books won't give you a complete view of American history but my hope is that they'll introduce you to a form of history that's interesting while also exposing you to a wide array of American history topics. From there you can see what you actually enjoy learning about and pick better books from there.
u/justinmchase · 3 pointsr/politics
u/dropkickpuppy · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

The Annenberg Foundation has an excellent online course in world history. It's challenging, but it'll give you a pretty thorough grounding in the major themes.

For American history, Lies My Teacher Told Me is one of the more entertaining reads.

But for Quiz Bowl, you're probably better off playing the History Channel's Quiz game. There are a few thousand questions.

u/Coridimus · 2 pointsr/politics

One thing that really grinds my gears about primary and secondary is the devolved method we have of textbook selection. If you have ever read Lies my Teacher Told Me then you will know what I am talking about. One of the best things that I think can happen for textbooks is for input on their adoption to be utterly removed from the School District and State School Board level. FAR too prone to fallow feel-good flag-waving instead of actual education. History is the most tragic example of this.

u/ItsPronouncedMo-BEEL · 2 pointsr/AskAnAmerican

> Because most US history textbooks will gladly omit facts they don't find pertinent.

Recommended reading on that very subject.

Edit: I never would have expected a link to a book whose premise is "American history textbooks suck, and here's why" to be so controversial.

u/HungarianHoney · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

Here is a great way to learn more about the lies your teachers told you...

u/Flux05 · 2 pointsr/atheism

Also, the idea of universal education was made possible with industrialization and the printing press. It just so happened that Europe was the first one to get it, and accelerated greatly ahead, while exploiting the remaining world. The fucked over people in the Americas, Australia, Africa, Middle Ease, China, Japan. Please read your history. Europeans had this whole Enlightenment, but a lot of them were barbarians. Read about who Columbus actually was. Stop circlejerking with an ethnocentric viewpoint. good book (

u/IndependentRoad5 · 2 pointsr/pics

This is patently false

Read Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Columbus spearheaded the intentional culling of the native population. He literally used cut off native ear's as currency. He was a genocidal sociopath.


>Up to 90% of natives died from disease spread almost entirely accidentally. That's not genocide its plague. Its epidemic.

Those were spread intentionally. It was methodical and purposeful.

Also lol

>Columbus explicitly wanted to bring natives under spanish rule, that's not genocide, that's conquest.

u/kandoras · 2 pointsr/books

A History of the World in 6 Glasses.

It's describes how beer (Hey! Drinking this doesn't give us the runs!), wine, spirits, coffee (apparently the British Empires version of the NYSE had the stuff on IV drip), tea (Opium Wars), and soft drinks have affected history.

The best thing I remember from it is learning how similar baking bread and brewing beer are. At it's most basic level, beer is just really, really, wet bread, and bread is just beer that you didn't add enough water to.

u/Supercoolguy7 · 2 pointsr/TrollXChromosomes

Oh yeah no problem here's a a link to the amazon. Yeah it's pretty awful especially considering how interesting history is to most adults, once they have had some time away from highschool. It could be one of the subjects students get excited about just for the subject matter, instead it's entirely up to the teacher to go out of their way to make it interesting.

u/auryn0151 · 2 pointsr/changemyview

>What other things have you said that support your claim that the U.S. somehow was responsible for WWII?

I made statements concerning present day conflicts in the preceding paragraph.

>I'm going to believe what I've been thought since grade school.

I'm sorry to hear that. The history we in the US are taught in grade school is often inaccurate on many important topics. Migh find this interesting.

u/cptnrandy · 2 pointsr/AskMen

Lies Told To Me By My Teacher

Read, develop a healthy skepticism, and then begin asking hard questions about everything you know, believe, and are told.

That's a path that will set you on really improving yourself.

u/efisher · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'm not a historian, but a passionate student of history. I decided to pursue it as an academic discipline (and possibly as a career) when I read Lies My Teacher Told Me when I was 16. It's a fantastic introduction into the way history is taught in the US (so it might not be that relevant if you didn't grow up in America), and probes into the politics of the textbook system. And you get to find out that most of our nation's presidents were horrible racists, that we fought secret wars in Finland/Russia, and that J. Edgar Hoover tried to blackmail Martin Luther King, Jr. The essential story is that, as agentdcf so eloquently put it, history is by no means one-sided, and it's pivotal that we consider historical figures as people you could know in everyday life. No one's perfectly good or perfectly evil, but a lot of standard history curricula tend to present it otherwise.

u/batmanismyconstant · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

If you like A People's History, you'll probably like Lies My Teacher Told Me. It talks about how mainstream U.S. history ignores the contributions of racial minorities. A really different perspective on what I just assumed was the "truth."

u/McGrude · 2 pointsr/AskReddit


Life as We Do Not Know It

Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets

Lies my Teacher Told Me

Fiction :

Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

The Ender's Game series of books.

u/Peter_Principle_ · 2 pointsr/Showerthoughts

OP, you should definitely read "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen (if you haven't already). This very subject is one of the major themes of this book.

u/yourbathroom · 2 pointsr/Marijuana

Too true and so sad. I'm in the process of reading James W. Loewen's "Lies my teacher told me". It is making me think that government run education, at least when it comes to social topics and history, is a SERIOUS conflict of interest. Generation after generation entering society just to become slaves.

u/Moriartis · 2 pointsr/politics

You mean the same textbooks that taught me that Columbus discovered America and that the Native Americans attacked the colonists first? History =/= Science. Science has to be demonstrated, history cannot be demonstrated, which makes it far less reliable. Rejecting historical claims is not the same thing as rejecting scientific claims.

Forgive me if I don't expect information funded and regulated by the government to be honest about what the government has done. If you don't mind, I won't be getting my information about cancer from the Tobacco industry studies either.

Oh, and if you still believe everything in your history textbook, here's a good reason not to.

u/iamtotalcrap · 2 pointsr/atheism

Unfortunately you'll have to be careful with finding accurate historical perspectives... especially for "celebrity figures" like the founding fathers, Einstein, etc. There's a lot of crap about that... David Barton, for instance, makes a career writing lies about American history and Christianity. American history is especially bad... some interesting books exist about such things, though not directly about religion:


u/atheistlibrarian · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. It's a fantastic book about American History.

u/HereticLocke · 1 pointr/technology

Probably because what you learned in school was sugarcoated.

u/black_omen6 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Anything technical relating to an interest you may have; fiction is good, but reading about topics like fuel cells or woodworking and then experimenting with it is just as fun / well-rounding.

As for history, "Lies My Teacher Told Me" is required reading for anyone wanting a better understanding of US history.

u/OhThrowMeAway · 1 pointr/politics

Fourty percent of U.S. students don’t know that 6 million Jews were killed. Everyone should read Lies My Teacher Told Me.

u/studentsofhistory · 1 pointr/historyteachers

Congrats on getting hired!!! I'd recommend a mix of PD/teaching books and content. When you get bored of one switch to the other. Both are equally important (unless you feel stronger in one area than the other).

For PD, I'd recommend: Teach Like a Pirate, Blended, The Wild Card, and the classic Essential 55. Another one on grading is Fair Isn't Always Equal - this one really changed how I thought about grading in my classes.

As far as content, you have a couple ways to go - review an overview of history like Lies My Teacher Told Me, the classic People's History, or Teaching What Really Happened, or you can go with a really good book on a specific event or time period to make that unit really pop in the classroom. The Ron Chernow books on Hamilton, Washington, or Grant would be great (but long). I loved Undaunted Courage about Lewis & Clark and turned that into a really great lesson.

Have a great summer and best of luck next year!!

u/DrMandible · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Check out Lies My Teacher Told Me. It's not comprehensive (despite the suggestive subtitle, "Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong"). But it certainly points out some nice highlights.

u/sep780 · 1 pointr/atheism

History textbooks (at least on a high school level) don't get history 100% right. A good book to read on that subject is Lies My Teacher Told Me

u/ireland1988 · 1 pointr/funny

You should read the book Lies my teacher told me. Full of good stuff like this.

u/Gr33n_Thumb · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

I learned more about US history from the books below than anything I learned from my high school teachers. I did have some good college professors - but they are the ones who recommended these books. Also, "Untold History of The United States" documentary by Oliver Stone on Netflix. If you like dry stuff any Ken Burns documentary.

Lies My Teach Told Me

People's History of the United States

u/kilgoretrout912 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

There is a really great book called Lies My Teacher Told Me. The prologue to the book has some really good info about Helen Keller's later life, and some theories as to why American history writers would prefer she died at 13.

u/TheRedTeam · 1 pointr/atheism

> There would be no schools or colleges without Christianity. Read your history, then tell me these men evaded thinking. Without Christianity, we would all be uneducated barbarians. Christianity brought brilliance like Bach and Beethoven and created Western Civilization as we know it. Without Christianity, we would be blue-painted barbarians.

This right here tells me your friend has zero knowledge of actual history. The stupid fuck probably thinks that thanksgiving really happened and that Columbus wanted to prove the earth was round. Basically, your friend doesn't have the necessary foundation to even argue with. Your best bet is to ignore the topic of religion, and buy him books like this and this as birthday presents or maybe do a book trade and you both read each other's... and then moved into books like this.

Second, you shouldn't use quotes with people like this, or if you do just plagiarize and say it's your own. Giving quotes gives them something to attack without personally attacking your words, it makes it too easy for them to go on the offensive without thinking about what you're saying.

u/hugganao · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

This book my teacher chose for us to read kind of touch upon the subject for the classes in US. It's an interesting book and you'd probably gain some insight into what you're wondering.

u/unsolvablemath · 1 pointr/thedavidpakmanshow
u/John_3-16 · 1 pointr/thedavidpakmanshow


Clearly the book you've been getting your information from. I guess it's my turn to roll on the floor.

>I won't stop.

You say that like I care.

u/limbodog · 1 pointr/atheism

Great book, I highly recommend it. Amazon page

u/We_are_all_satoshi · 1 pointr/conspiracy

Read this book

u/FockerCRNA · 1 pointr/NeutralPolitics

Lies my Teacher Told Me by James Loewen

I feel like this is a good place to start.

u/maglen69 · 1 pointr/IAmA

Lies my teacher told me is a favorite book of mine.

u/BallShapedMan · 1 pointr/facepalm

I know I'm late to the party, if this gets under your skin read Lies my Teacher Told Me. The author reviews key points in history like this and what several history books say. Not only does it expand on this it goes deeper than what I thought I knew.

A great read I highly recommend!

u/Kinglink · 1 pointr/gaming

Have you ever read Lies my teacher told me or any similar book?

American history books are almost always written "by the winner". So many little pieces of history are written ignoring our own history. People make a big deal about the fact Jefferson owned slaves.

I'm in no way saying "no American text" are authentic, but I find reading foreign accounts (or just historian's text). make me much happier and enrich the experience than just reading what the history books say.

I mean the best example off the top of my head is World War 2, when I was a kid it was "We were attacked for no reason by those Japanese". then it was "a suprise attack to blunt us" but everything actually says the Americans were going to war soon, and this just kicked us in to high gear. Hell there's even a rumor that America knew of the attack, and allowed it happen for a reason for us to go to war. In fact Pearl Harbour may have lost the war for the Axis, but more for the fact that it unified America, rather timing of us joining.

There's also a belief that it was the Russians rather than the Americans who might have won World War 2 (The Americans joined at the right time to get credit, but even if they didn't the Germans would be strained to keep up both wars, including the Russian Campaign that was at best very costly).

u/Maestintaolius · 1 pointr/AskReddit

This should be required reading for all high school grads.

u/rocketvat · 1 pointr/books

A sort of thematically-similar book I've read is Lies my Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. He goes back through American history and restores a lot of perspective that's missing from the traditional narrative taught in highschool. It reminded me a lot of Guns, Germs, and Steel in that way.

u/WIrunner · 1 pointr/history

I've got three books that would be pretty good. If you only read one, I would suggest the last one that I've listed. It focuses on US history after WWII. Not gonna lie, but most people in the US don't seem to care about much from events earlier than, oh, Desert Storm. This will give you a good idea of what has lead up to things more recent.

First is "That's Not in My American History Book"

Second is "Lies my Teachers Told Me"

Lastly: American Dreams: The United States Since 1945

Bonus books:
American Revolution:
Civil War:

Edit: This is a monster looking book, but it is visual as well. (Okay it is a monster book) but it touches on nearly everything. I've used it as a reference multiple times during college and Kurin is fairly spot on with his assessments.

u/Briskbas · 1 pointr/todayilearned
u/crayonleague · 1 pointr/atheism

What does Lies have to do with Christianity and the history of the Bible? Just curious, it's one of my favorite books.

Also, there's a new edition.

u/repete · 1 pointr/politics
u/thedarkerside · 1 pointr/TumblrInAction

> That said, I largely remain in support of the people involved. That does not mean I support everything our military does but I will be good to the troops. I've seen what happens when people ignore them and their issues after war.

People seem to have a hard time to distinguish between the organization / structure as a whole and the individuals in them. I have sympathy for what many of them have and go through, I am still rejecting the military as an organization though, especially the way it is often use, as a short cut to a political solution.

As have said for a long time, and it almost always gets downvoted: Global politics are paid for in the blood of the young and stupid and I guess I should amendt it by adding "Patriots".

> Just in case... many of us don't wear clothes covered in flags. Our flag seems to be a biggie with people from other counties. More of a big deal than it is here. You'll usually find more people doing it on specific holidays like the 4th and at specific events. It's not 24-7 flag time.

I've lived in the states, I sort of know the reality on the ground. But there is definitely almost a fetishization of the flag in certain parts of the American population. Also, politicians seem to love the flag. Think of the little flag pin they all wear to show how "patriotic" they are.

> Change with weather. It's what Americans do.

Oh not disagreeing. My main point about the police though is that this is something that has been going on for a long time, as you said, that's been around at least since the '60s with the establishing of the first SWAT teams in LA. Funny how that all started around the time of the civil rights movement in the US started.

> It is a way to recycle equipment the military uses without junking it and letting it rot.

Here's a question for you: Do you think a police force that is part of the community should be equipped with tools that is used to suppress armed resistance? Because this is essentially what the police in North America seems to have become. There are the cops, and then there are the civis.

> Trailers and all terrain vehicles that can be used in search and rescue operations or to reach people during natural disasters such as floods or tornadoes.

You know how that works in other countries, and worked for along time in the US? Civil Defence. In Germany for example it's the "Technisches Hilfswerk" "Technical Support Department". They would be in charge of large scale search and rescue operation or disaster management. They have local troops that are drawn as volunteers from the community. Police and Military can be mobilized to assist, but if so, purely as man power under THWs direction.

The US had a civil defence department as well but in 2003 was rolled into the DHS, which means essentially it stopped existing.

But again, that sort of supports my point. It is all structured around military ideas, often invisible and, one could argue, with good intensions, at least at the outset.

> The police in my town are trained at a community college (it's a impoverished rural area) and they are not trained to be like the military.

Actually this is probably worse, because often these smaller department look at larger ones to "figure out how to do things" and this means they are sort of doing a "trial and error" kind of thing. There was an interesting documentary called "Peace Officer" I watched recently which looks actually at the smaller communities. It's only a handful of cases, but you have to wonder how often these things happen.

> They seem to be obsessed with American poloce having these deep web of connectivity that allows the police state to flourish. It's a bit out there considering our set ups.

Actually the people I have mostly listened to are your own politicians and the language they use, the terms. America loves to be at war with someone or something. The War on Drugs, the war on poverty, the fight against X, Y or Z etc.

I get why many people in the US do not see this and I am actually somewhat surprised I haven't gotten downvoted more because I just basically told most of America that in my opinion their country is a lie, which again, most other western countries these days are too to varying degrees.

Here's the problem. When people think "Dictatorship" they think of roaming kill squats and an iron fist. When they think "bad nationalism" they think Nazi Marches with torches and book burnings. These are powerful images no doubt, but people aren't stupid, the ones in power, they understand that people understand these images as for what they are, how could they not? They have established that narrative for 50+ years. But that's why you don't do it that way. You're more subtle. The boiling frog principle.

I think the next 20 years will be interesting for the West. Either we will indeed have "won the world" or we will all be in for a rough awakening. Personally I think the latter.

BTW, a book someone recommended to me last week and I am almost through and which explains a lot about the current SJWism as well as a whole host of other things I had wondered about with regards to the US is "Lies my teacher told me".

As someone who didn't attend the US school system I had always wondered about certain blind spots I had noticed with Americans when it came to their own history. Obviously we didn't deep dive into the US history to the same degree as we did to my countries, but there are a lot of things in the book that I was aware off that apparently is almost completely missing from the American education.

u/m4n715 · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/Cacafuego · 1 pointr/tipofmytongue

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

EDIT: The same author recently published Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History

u/BedlamStatesman · 1 pointr/atheism

Two books off the top of my head. "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen and while I normally would hesitate to recommend things from a Fox News Channel analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano's "Lies The Government Told You", which I am currently going through for the second time, cross-referencing and reading critically, has proven to be a good read.

"Lies My Teacher Told Me", while written by an admitted Socialist, provides a good alternate viewpoint on American History "From the other side of the fence". Typically from the South's side during Reconstruction, from the views of a British Loyalist during the Revolutionary Era, on up to the Clinton Years in the last edition I managed to find. As for Napolitano's piece, I can't say I agree with everything the man espouses (I am, for example, still skeptical of his claim we need to get rid of regulatory agencies like the USDA and FDA) but he raises several good points on the abuses of agencies such as the DEA, NSA and other Federal Agencies and State Agencies throughout the years of American politics. It's at least worth a read for an alternate viewpoint, even if you don't agree with everything being said. That having been said, the book is definitely marketed towards the Center-Right/Independent demographic, so do with the info what you will.

u/SplitIndecision · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Lies My History Teacher Told Me (Amazon link) looks at how history books do a terrible job of teaching American history. History books have improved since then, but there's still a lot that is glossed over or ignored.

Here's some random examples that I found interesting:

  • During the Revolutionary War, the French fought the British around the world in India, Gibraltar, the Caribbean, etc. Many of these colonies were considered more important to the British Empire.

  • The War of 1812 was fought because the British were supplying Native Americans with arms, making expansion westwards difficult. Most textbooks claim it was because of American sailors being impressed. However, New England was against the war, despite most of these sailors coming from New England.

  • Woodrow Wilson was extremely racist; he screened the first movie in the White House, Birth of a Nation. This is the same movie that inspired the KKK to reform.

  • Helen Keller's writings were ignored, since she was considered a radical socialist and blamed society for contributing to blindness.

  • The South was against states' rights just prior to the Civil War when they were in power, arguing that northern states did not have the right to protect runaway slaves.
u/DeadFyre · 1 pointr/history

While you're at it, you may want to check out Not everything you may have been taught prior to 1960 is taught without bias.

u/baleet · 1 pointr/pics

Lies My Teacher Told Me, first published in 1995 (?) describes the influence of the major text book publishers, especially on standardized testing at the state level. Total scam.

Please don't let that turn you against a college education. It can be a profound experience if you can get some of the education part and not just experience it as some kind of vocational training.

u/Necoya · 0 pointsr/booksuggestions

Are you looking for Fiction?

A favorite non-fiction of mine is Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

u/chefranden · -1 pointsr/AskReddit

>Yes because for 60 years they've been living under US protection

You believe everything you where told in school don't you?

u/cloudedice · -1 pointsr/AskReddit

I too believed some of the lies my teacher told me.

u/the_eyes · -1 pointsr/Documentaries

Profoundly lacking what? Everything I stated was true. I didn't claim anything that you said never happened, but collective land owning never happened. Read a fucking book. You can start with this one:

u/Doomed · -4 pointsr/comics

>A note from the author:

>All of the information in this essay came from A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, and Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W. Lowewen, both of which uses primary sources such eyewitness accounts, journal entries, and letters from Christopher Columbus himself.

Affiliate links have been removed.

I could have told you this shit, and I wouldn't have asked for any advertising revenue in return. But because I didn't dig up a cutesy font, you guys would never read it.

u/Sherm · -9 pointsr/funny

>Grab any US school history book, you can't miss it

Except when you can. Like, almost always.