2 Followers
24 Following
nouveau

nouveau

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

Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong - James W. Loewen after reading five of the militarist historian [a:Victor Davis Hanson|15262|Victor Davis Hanson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1227566672p2/15262.jpg]'s works, it's time for a trip to their other stretch of the ideological spectrum, and so here is James W. Loewen, whose career was in the historically Black colleges (there's an American phenomenon if there ever was one) and whose focus is on, so to speak, opposing what everyone knows / what everyone was taught. now actually I've read [a:Zinn|1899|Howard Zinn|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1245211489p2/1899.jpg], but the ideological left is a little harder to write about than the ideological right. the right, of course, is full of demonstrable psychopathy, people ranting and raving about national unity and the conspiratal Other who is planning to attack us, so let's strike first, and as fascinating, unified, aggressive, assertive, and interesting as they are, pretty much most thinkers and readers can point out what is verging onto farce about them. it's child's play.

the opposite school (or, one of the opposite schools), comes from books like [b:The People's History of the United States|2767|A People's History of the United States 1492 to Present|Howard Zinn|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348900509s/2767.jpg|2185591], books, so to speak, about the things that aren't covered -- hidden massacres, hushed up oppression, inequalities that are accepted by the people of the time as simply normal and prior practice, whereas they are scandalous to our modern sensibilities. to some degree, the practioners of this school claims their is the more subtle and difficult historical task. how do you document gender oppression, after all, if all the women are locked up inside the house and forbidden to exit? well--you're left with mere collecting of anti-suffragist cartoons, for example, and then show how societal attitudes of the time must have been. the airless [b:Bell Jar|6514|The Bell Jar|Sylvia Plath|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1371843598s/6514.jpg|1385044] of a woman's life in a constricting gender environment, ironically, only comes to light when the society is easing off those attitudes

Loewen's career, according to his website, is about finding out things like this--with particular reference to race. I haven't fully explored his website, but apparently there were a few thousand documented 'no blacks after sundown' towns in the united states--nobody put a law on the books, nobody had to formalize the practice--but even the town firefighters were in on the practice and ran their siren at 6pm after which any Black found on premises would find themselves the target of beatings or harassment.

now a history work from such an author is subtle and difficult to review. on the one hand, the entire book, of course, is just a cover-to-cover indictment of the american system. America has had, of course, a democratic system of some kind, however restricted it was in its early days and we are living in a liberal society that evolved out of the initial impetus to allow elections and guarantee free speech, so taken from an internationalist perspective, one can argue for a multicultural / progressive outcome vis-a-vis the Russias and Cambodias of the world, but when you are actually in the thought-universe of LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME, of course it's hard not to get disquieted about America itself.

anyway the book is good and worth a read, so I rate it at the 4/5 and look forward to coming across other works by the author. incidentally the sundown town phenomenon might be overstated-- I know for a fact that my hometown, listed on the page, was a tiny entity of some 7000 people during the 1930s whereas today it is pushing 100,000. so it isn't completely accurate to label it an ex-"sundown town," no blacks permitted-- by simple statistical growth, 93% of the current population had nothing to do with it, and actually, because America's demographics have changed, it's far likely that 7% was actually statistically out-grown as well.