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Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History


reviewed by Keith C. Barton ó December 01, 2009

coverTitle: Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History
Author(s): James W. Loewen
Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
ISBN: 0807749915, Pages: 264, Year: 2009
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This is the latest work from James W. Loewen, author of the popular Lies my Teacher Taught Me: Everything your American History Textbook got Wrong (2008), Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong (2000), and The Truth about Columbus (1992). These books, as well as Loewen’s frequent public presentations, provide an invaluable service to elementary and secondary educators by calling attention to how stories of the U.S. past have been distorted by processes of omission, distortion, myth-making, and hero-worship. Loewen’s analysis of how the presentation of history is influenced by political ideology, cultural assumptions, and the demands of textbook publishing have no doubt opened the eyes of many teachers to forces underlying public presentations of the past. Loewen’s lively and accessible style further enhances the appeal of his work. Although teachers are generally enthusiastic about Lies my Teacher Taught Me, Loewen’s most popular book, that work is limited... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: December 01, 2009
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15852, Date Accessed: 12/11/2017 7:51:55 PM

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About the Author
  • Keith Barton
    Indiana University, Bloomington
    E-mail Author
    KEITH C. BARTON is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University, Bloomington. His research focuses on the teaching and learning of history and social studies in the United States and internationally. He is co-author, with Linda S. Levstik, of Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools, Teaching History for the Common Good, and Researching History Education: Theory, Method, and Context.
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