How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History



   Order Code: TCP103    ISBN : 9780807759486
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In this follow-up to his best-selling Lies My Teacher Told Me, author James Loewen calls for a new way to study history, showing teachers how to free themselves from the "straitjacket of the textbook."

After urging teachers to focus on a list of topics that they want to teach rather than trying to cover the entire textbook, Loewen discusses the importance of teacher expectations, historiography, and how to help students "do history, not merely learn it." He concludes by examining six specific topics that can be problematic (including slavery, the "$24 myth" of how the Dutch acquired Manhattan, and the "nadir" of race relations from 1840 to 1920), offering added information and new ways to introduce them. Finally, a chapter written for the second edition addresses how traditional and social media can distort current events and the historical record.

“James Loewen’s new book should be in the hands of every history teacher in the country. It is not only a devastating critique of how our nation’s history has been taught in our schools, but also a wonderful guide to how the teaching of history can open up minds, excite the imagination, and educate a new generation dedicated to making this a better world.”
—Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

“Loewen’s candid and revealing descriptions of institutional racism in U.S. society and in textbooks are not presented to make students cynical or disempowered, but to help them acquire the knowledge, skills, and commitments needed to attain agency and to act to create a better world.”
—From the Series Foreword by James A. Banks, Director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington, Seattle; Past President of the the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

“In this follow-up to his landmark bestseller, Lies My Teacher Told Me,, Loewen goes beyond the usual textbook-dominated curriculum to illuminate a wealth of intriguing, often hidden facts about America’s past.”

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Teachers College Press




Second Edition


Teacher resource for grades 5–12