Historian James Loewen, author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong,” will speak about the book at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Cerf Center at Eureka College. Cost is $5. A book-signing and reception will follow. The book will be available for purchase in the college bookstore. For more information, call (309) 467-6420.
The book that has sold more than 1.5 million copies has been described as revealing myths and distortions in textbooks and offering a new understanding of U.S. history. It encourages educators to get students to challenge rather than memorize textbooks in order to develop a more critical perspective of education and of what they read. It received the 1996 American Book Award, the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship and the American Educational Studies Association’s Critics’ Choice Award.
Loewen also wrote “Teaching What Really Happened,” published by Teachers College Press in 2010 to provide K-12 teachers solutions to the problems pointed out in his earlier works. For the Civil War sesquicentennial in 2011, Loewen wrote “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader,” which ties in with presentations and workshops about why educators get the Civil War wrong and why it matters. He also wrote “Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong,” which analyzes more than 100 historic sites in the United States that Loewen says commits errors of fact or interpretation.
Loewen co-authored “Mississippi: Conflict and Change,” a revisionist state history textbook, which won the Lillian Smith Award for Best Southern Nonfiction but was rejected for public school text use by the State of Mississippi, leading to the First Amendment lawsuit, Loewen v. Turnipseed.
Loewen has been an expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights, students’ rights and other issues. His awards include the first Sydney Spivack Award from the American Sociological Association for sociological research applied to the field of intergroup relations. He taught race relations at the University of Vermont for 20 years.