What did you learn in history class? That the Rosenbergs were innocent? Gorbachev, not Reagan, ended the Cold War? That FDR knew the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor but did nothing to stop it? Neither did I, which is why I am skeptical about the market for 48 Liberal Lies About American History (That You Probably Learned in School).
The author, a US history professor, reviewed 15 to 20 of the bestselling college US history textbooks and The People’s History of the United States and set out to prove that history books have become too politically correct and anti-American. What lies did he find? To find out,
- Columbus killed millions of Indians: Not so. He attributes this to bad statistics. So thousands?
- Separation of church and state: The Founding Fathers did not want the "wall of separation" that history tells us.
- A disproportionate number of anti-American pictures: Too many KKK pictures, not enough landing on the moon.
- Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy because he was a marine: Oswald did not shoot Kennedy because of his "marine-ness" but because he was a Communist who disliked Kennedy’s hard line against the Cubans and the Soviets. I could believe that!
A lot of these are worthwhile counterpoints, but others — Columbus killing millions, the Rosenbergs' innocence — are not things I learned in school as much as grumblings I've heard since leaving.
I always heard history class was too pro-American — looks like the backlash of the backlash has begun! Is history class a time to be critical of the US, or a time to celebrate its achievements? Will we ever find a balance?