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A Critical Analysis Of: Lies My Teacher Told Me

Out of all forms of literature currently known to man, educational textbooks are arguably the least interesting. On top of being incredibly boring, textbooks, especially American history ones, neglect to include the entirety of the information that they should. Because American history textbooks wish only to paint the United States in bright light, the author’s opt to leave out anything that may hurt its image. What Lies My Teacher Told Me attempts to do is lay out uncommonly known facts for the misinformed history students of today. While it does succeed in bringing forth some good points and fundamental flaws within the educations of the ordinary history student, it itself fails to correct one of the very reasons it claims that history books are so bad.

The information within this book is accurate and would be stimulating in every way had it only been arranged in a coherent and interesting matter. However, after only a chapter the reader is struggling to stay awake with the incredibly boring style of writing and is trying to sort through and organize all of the randomly arranged thoughts that make this more misleading than the history textbooks it attempts to defraud. To open up the book, Loewen tried to explain exactly why history textbooks are so hated. He brings up the very good point that they are, in fact, boring, and uses that as a launching pad to show that the only reason they are boring is the fact that they leave out so much controversy and information that it eliminates the drama once contained in the truth about America’s past.

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He starts off rather arrogantly, claiming that his book will correct what history textbooks got wrong; that his book will put a new light upon what everybody thinks about America and what it was really all about. Then, through the content of the rest of his book, he proves himself to be hypocritical by having laid down an even more boring account of American history. While he makes a respectable attempt by bringing forth potentially interesting flaws in history, it really doesn’t compensate for how disorganized the book is. Loewen’s first chapter to actually contain content about history deals with Americans’ misinformed beliefs about apparent American heroes. He focuses primarily on Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson, both of which have little known facts about them that may impede on their statuses as heroes.

While informing his readers that Keller was a radical socialist who supported the USSR and that Wilson led many motiveless invasions of Latin American countries is, in itself, interesting information to know. However, Loewen constantly jumps back and forth between the two heroes and their descriptions, causing him to not only fail at accurately portraying his message, but also send the reader into a boundless pit of confusion which only gets worse as the book progresses. Next up for this abomination of literature are two chapters about the frequently discussed myths of the first settlers of America. In the first of these two chapters, Loewen tries to bring realization to the conflict surrounding Christopher Columbus and his ill-guided intentions. This, however, is a very commonly disputed topic and needn’t have this book attempt to shine its own ‘glory’ upon it because that ‘glory’ is nowhere to be found.

If a student were honestly interested in the Columbus dispute, they should take out one of the many videos or entire books about it from their library. They will definitely have a better understanding of the topic there rather than trying to stay awake while reading this book and sorting through all of the unnecessary convolutions. The latter of the chapters continues almost directly after Columbus chronologically by then bringing up the topic of the first settlers of what is now known as the United States. Loewen, at the beginning of this chapter, claims to have asked college classes when the first settlers arrived in America, only to receive the unanimous answer of “1620”.

While it is true that many do believe that the first settlers to be the Pilgrims, he must have been working at a remedial school to have received a unanimous consensus concerning the first settlers.  While a dimwitted consensus such as this will most definitely not be found everywhere, Loewen apparently thought it prominent enough an issue to develop. Once again, he brings up very good points in the mistaken text of history curriculums, but, like before, he fails to deliver. Another thing that proposes a problem with his book is the fact that he deals with a lot of things that are, in fact, already known in many areas of the United States. He seemed very prejudiced against the people of the South, who he apparently considers of less intelligence than the other sections of this country.

This being the case, Loewen brings up many controversial and interesting topics that are sometimes a little too widely known for what his book wanted to achieve simply because he thinks all southerners are half-baked morons who not only know less than the rest of the country. While it was still interesting information, he could have cut many things out which, in a sense, take away from his message that history neglects to teach certain things because some of these things were, in fact, taught. The rest of this book follows a similar pattern of proposing great ideas without any follow-through, or if there is follow-through, it is too boring and misleading to appreciate. While this book had the potential of being great in consideration to the teachings of American history due to its ability to identify little-known facts about the United States, it is too flawed to even be thought of as anything impactful.

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A Critical Analysis Of: Lies My Teacher Told Me. (2021, Apr 13). Retrieved May 9, 2021, from