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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong  
Author James Loewen
Country United States
Language English
Subject(s) American history, Historiography, Native American history, African American history
Publisher The New Press
Publication date 1995
Pages 383
ISBN 9781565841000
OCLC Number 29877812
Dewey Decimal 973 20
LC Classification E175.85 .L64 1995
Followed by Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong is a 1995 book by James Loewen. It critically examines twelve popular American history textbooks and concludes that textbook authors propagate factually false, eurocentric, and mythologized views of history. In addition to critiquing the dominant historical themes presented in textbooks, Loewen presents a number of his own historical themes that he says are ignored by traditional history textbooks. A newly revised and updated hardcover edition was released on April 1, 2008.


Loewen's ideas

Loewen proposes that when history teachers elevate American historical figures to the status of heroes, they unintentionally give students the impression that these figures were part of an unattainable past. In other words, the history-as-myth method teaches students that America's greatest days have already passed. If textbooks and teachers were honest about historical issues and the flaws of America's heroes, Loewen proposes that students would be left with the impression that America is a nation forever changing wrought with flaws and triumphs. Loewen suggests history textbooks should rely more heavily on primary sources.


The twelve textbooks Loewen considers are:

  • 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)

In the second edition, Loewen added six more books (including a newer edition of the Pageant):

  • The American Journey (2000)
  • The American Pageant (2006)
  • The Americans (2007)
  • America: Pathways to the Present (2005)
  • A History of the United States (2005)
  • Holt American Nation (2003)

Awards and honors

It is the winner of the 1996 American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award[1] for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship.

The book is mentioned in the cover of the Rise Against album, The Sufferer & the Witness.

External links


  1. ^ Call for Nominations - Section Awards, Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities of the American Sociological Association


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