Lies Across America Review

November 7, 2018 |  Tagged , , | Comments Off on Lies Across America Review

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 A quick trip to any historic landmark or memorial in New York City can show that public historical monuments can frequently stretch the truth. The monument of Columbus in Columbus Circle, for example, includes his achievements as a cartographer and explorer, as well as his “discovery” of America. What is not included, is his horrific treatment of indigenous American people and the destruction he caused in native places in the areas he conquered. The Columbus monument in Manhattan is one of the most well known in the United States and still misleads the public. This brings those with a knowledge of history to question what other monuments across our nation are misleading the public? In the book Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong James Loewen lists historical and inaccurate sites across America in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and highlights how far history is warped in our monuments.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 James Loewen is an American sociologist, historian and author focused on public history. His previous work, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong broke down historical inaccuracies in American public history books. Loewen’s work Lies Across America takes on over 100 historically inaccurate landmarks and historical sites. In Texas, a Preacher beat the Wright Brothers by a year in a plane inspired by the word of God. Kentucky is the proud location of a cabin built 30 years after the death of Abraham Lincoln. While these inaccuracies are outrageous and at times comical, Loewen attempts to focus on the negative effects these inaccuracies can have. He discusses the omission of sexuality in both James Buchanan’s home and the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial. Even darker still, Loewen talks about a New Orleans memorial erected by the White League, a white supremacy group, which was moved in 1993 to a new location and triggered outcry, and support from Klansman David Duke.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Loewen’s book uses light energy to create an entertaining account of the many historical inaccuracies peppered across the American landscape.  His writing is in an engaging format that takes the reader on a journey through our history which sometimes covered up the darker parts of the American past, even going so far as to engage in a blatant lie. Loewen’s book, while interesting and at times funny, sometimes seemingly exaggerates how these landmarks have warped historical perception. The monument to the first automobile being invented in rural Wisconsin may be wrong but history as we know it has not actually been changed based around this.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Loewen’s work is inspiring to the curious reader, prompting them to question the information they receive day to day in places they may not expect. This is an important skill to develop in today’s world where facts and histories are frequently misrepresented or warped. This book at the same time should be taken less as a very serious compilation of incorrect landmarks, but instead a thought provoking, and fun read for those looking to find out more on American cultural history. At his deepest, Loewen provokes his readers to question what they see and look for context. Maybe Lies Across America is not an intensive historical research source for a historian, but it does stand an interesting and thought provoking book for someone with an interest in history, or students learning how to perceive the world around us.


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