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48 Liberal Lies About American History: (That You Probably Learned in School)
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A historian debunks four-dozen PC myths about our nation¡¯s past.

Over the last forty years, history textbooks have become more and more politically correct and distorted about our country¡¯s past, argues professor Larry Schweikart. The result, he says, is that students graduate from high school and even college with twisted beliefs about economics, foreign policy, war, religion, race relations, and many other subjects.

As he did in his popular A Patriot¡¯s History of the United States, Professor Schweikart corrects liberal bias by rediscovering facts that were once widely known. He challenges distorted books by name and debunks forty-eight common myths. A sample:

? The founders wanted to create a ¡°wall of separation¡± between church and state
? Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation only because he needed black soldiers
? Truman ordered the bombing of Hiroshima to intimidate the Soviets with ¡°atomic diplomacy¡±
? Mikhail Gorbachev, not Ronald Reagan, was responsible for ending the Cold War
America¡¯s past, though not perfect, is far more admirable than you were probably taught.

Customer Reviews:

  • eRR..
    Well. He's both right and wrong, but I'd love to know how he a) says liberal bias and b)PC.

    .. many people did in fact die to Columnus.And any other European colonization. So uh.. at least one of his "lies" is truth.

    .. Whatever, it's a political revisionist book aynwya. Do not recommend for actual history....more info
  • Don't Judge it by its Cover
    The main value in this book is that it provokes debate about American history. Historians do have a tendency to present their opinions as fact, and their opinions often have more to do with ideology than hard facts. One point that should be taken seriously is that historians frequently know little or nothing about economics. The general lack of knowledge concerning economics among historians is not a problem for those who claim to be experts on social history or military history. But many historians claim expertise on matters of economic history. Alleged lie #26 (on the 1950's being a dull age of conformity) is a matter of social history. Different people can have different opinions on such matters.

    On the other hand, there is no longer any doubt about the Rosenberg's and many others accused of collaboration with the Soviets. Furthermore, many of the standard lines from historians on economic issues (i.e. the need for government regulation and the causes of the Great Depression) are at very best highly questionable, if not contrary to fact.

    Those who think that Schweikart is purely partisan should take note of the fact that he defends FDR and LBJ from absurd conspiracy theories (in addition to absurd 9-11 conspiracy theories). I am not sure about the extent to which these and other conspiracy theories get taught in classrooms. I also doubt that many students take such nonsense seriously. But I suppose such myths do need to be debunked.

    The problem with this book is that its title discourages discussion between those who disagree on how to interpret US History. Publishers do sometimes like to use provocative titles as a marketing device, and this is likely what happened here. The title is unfortunate because many on the left should rethink their position, or at least try to engage conservatives and libertarians in more thoughtful debate. Of course, there are many on the left who are too dogmatic to ever engage in an honest debate. But there are a considerable number of people on the left who are open to real discussion who might be put off by this book's title. Try reading it anyway.
    ...more info
  • I don't get it
    I don't get it. How is this guy a professor? I thought historical scholarship was supposed to be, well, scholarly. This book does not include any of the rigorous standards of historical scholarship. It is a polemic of the present, not of the past. There is no archival work here. This is just a self-proclaimed patriot writing the past as he sees it.

    Most of us recognize (now) that writing history is inherently political, and authors have a moral obligation to acknowledge how their own politics influences their topics. But it is always source-based. This guy, however, is basing history on his own perspective. It really is tragic, because he is encouraging readers to put up "patriotic" blinders that, in my opinion, are contributing to various forms of fundamentalism in the USA.

    The American past, just like its present, has always had diverse elements, socially, culturally, economically and politically. All this guy does is builds up a false archetype (a straw man) just to tear it down with his "insight." A major trend in historical writing over the last couple decades has been to embrace diverse narratives and a certain inconclusiveness. This guy obviously is threatened by that and is trying to paint it all as "liberal" - a term that is becoming increasingly meaningless.

    And, if you actually look at primary sources left by Abraham Lincoln and those around him (including George Fitzhugh) in context, it would be clear that slavery was posed NOT as a moral or racial issue, but an economic issue. The "natural" inferiority of blacks was not questioned in popular politics outside of a few abolitionist circles....more info
  • not all you read is true
    regarding Nixon and troop levels - sure, it's true that Nixon EVENTUALLY reduced troop levels, but not before increasing them. And, not before escalating the war in other ways, such as increased bombing and secretly invading Cambodia. See troop levels here:

    Also increased, initially, were the number of U.S. casualties:

    ...more info
  • Liberal Lies
    My husband saw this book in a bookstore for $25. I found it on amazon for $17 and got free shipping. Cannot beat that deal! I didn't even have to spend gas money to get back to the store to get it for him (as a gift)....more info
  • Winners and losers
    If winners write the history books, Conservatives need to ask themselves why they keep losing?

    Here's a hint - They keep reading crap like this book.

    Or more accurately, this book has nothing really to do with being liberal or being conservative or with any other political affiliation. This book is a pathetic attempt to sell something, anything to the handful of gullible Americans who watch Fox news and listen to Rush.

    A haphazard collection of fantasies that have no coherent connection.
    This book is a litmus test for stupidity. Those that choose to buy (buy into), please carry this book where ever you go, so we can spot you on the street and give you the help you need. ...more info
  • Interesting & Well Written
    If our educators are so concerned about the self esteem of our youngsters why do they insist on teaching that America is a horrible country? This explains why home schooling is more popular every year. This book would be helpful for anyone with school age children. Make sure your kids are not being deceived by liberal, blame America first teachers. ...more info
  • 48 Liberal Lies/Larry Schweikart
    Excellent read/ I skipped some chapters to jump ahead to areas of history-that interest me: Lie #24 "Abraham Lincoln Only Freed the Slaves to Beef Up His Troop Strength". Many of these agendas and misconceptions that are held by many people shooting their mouths off:"Bill Clinton was impeached over sex{Lie # 29),etc. I recommend this to anyone,not just Republicans or Republican history buffs-which might put some people off. Historians or Liberal Historians that compare President Obama to Lincoln should read this....more info
  • Check an old encyclopedia
    We still have an edition World Book Encyclopedia published in 1984 and one published in 1965. It is interesting to verify his complaints about modern text books. The re-writing of history is most disburbing. Find an old encyclopedia and check it out for yourself unless you are old enough to actually remember some of the events of the 1940's till today like I am. Many of us are still around who remember when the nasty lies about the USA were told by our enemies; not by our text books, movies, etc. After verifying facts for yourself, please take action to break this pattern of self-destruction. Please confront your local school boards when you find lies in text books. Hit the text book publishers in the "pocket book." One test is that if a text gets Reagan right, it might be OK. Surely you are old enough to remember those actual events!...more info
  • Incredible!
    This is the most amazing piece of garbage I have heard since the last time I listened to Rush Limbaughzo. That there are a number of people who agree with this little missive of massive misinformation is simply astonishing! ...more info
  • Worst Piece of History I've Ever Read
    Let me just start by saying that this book is currently being used in my American History class as a study on ideological history and to show students that not everything calling itself history is necessarily true. I think that's pretty telling. Basically, it looks more like an attack on academia itself more than a real effort on history (especially as the last chapter is completely devoted to how biased current history text books are). He basically takes several commonly held facts and obvious falsehoods (like Columbus was personally responsible for killing thousands of Natives) and tries vainly to prove them wrong.
    Let's go through some of these. Richard Nixon apparently didn't expand the Vietnam war in any way, there WERE WMDs in Iraq (remember this is copyright 2008), prohibition was popular and not a failure, Lee Harvey Oswald was in fact a communist agent of the USSR, peace activists of the 60's were being manipulated by the KGB, early America had hardly any guns and was quite fair to women's rights. I mean come on! He tries to prove that the founding fathers didn't intend a separation of church and state by using documents like the Mayflower Compact and Virginia Charter, written over a hundred years before the revolution even happened. He contends that because they were better off than the women of N. Korea or Saudi Arabia today, colonial women must have been quite well off. This is just awful logic and bad history. If I tried some of the things he pulls in this book on my papers, I would be failing....more info
  • Easy Read -- Excellent Discussion Points on Biases In Education
    Author Larry Schweikart has done the American public a valuable service in exposing the liberal biases in American textbooks that have helped move the public markedly to the left in the last five decades. He has done this in a very readable fashion -- actually this book is almost fun to read if the subject wasn't so disturbing.

    Schweikart is admittedly a conservative academic historian; a very rare bird indeed and something simply not permitted on faculties of "elite" universities like those in the Ivy League who are promoting the Bilderberg agenda and producing globalist and socialist leaders. One wonders even how he gets along at the University of Dayton with its overwhelming numbers of leftist faculty.

    Some of the "Lies" Schweikart presents are extremely well researched and argued while others would take many more pages to firmly nail down the truth. He comes up short, for example, on the leftist contention than North America was populated by vast numbers of Indians (some "historians" go as high as 90 million) before Columbus arrived. He fails to mention the leftist methodology for arriving at the "high" estimates. Those promoting such absurd figures take the Indian populations as estimated by colonists and explorers (already high estimates), then after assuming those populations to be only 5% of their former numbers due to European-introduced diseases and European brutality, they fecklessly multiple those numbers by 20.

    Another "Liberal Lie" that troubled me was #3, "FDR Knew in Advance About the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor." First of all, this contention normally comes from the conservative side rather than the liberal. In addition, the preponderance of evidence shows that Roosevelt did believe an attack at Pearl Harbor was quite possible, but he also believed all necessary precautions had been taken by his military commanders to repel such an attack. Kimmel was an aggressive commander, and Short supposedly had put the Army at the highest possible alert level. Unfortunately, Short had reversed the alert level numbers without informing Marshall, so Marshall thought Short was at the highest alert level when actually he was at the lowest. The rest, as they say, is history.

    The last "Lie" I wish to comment on is Schweikart's correction that Slavery was indeed the driving force behind the Civil War. As Schweikart points out, Slavery was THE issue causing the South's secession. However, the motivation for most of the South's men to fight was not to preserve slavery, but rather to defend self-determination and their home-grown rights. (See McPherson, "Why They Fought.") This is an important distinction, and one not often made in the North.

    Yes, history textbooks are biased to the left, and this work exposes that fact for parents who care how their children are indoctrinated in school. They should purchase and read this book. Even if some "Lies" can be subject to discussion, it is exactly this discussion that makes this book so valuable. Parents could do much worse than go over every one of the 48 "Lies" with their children to help balance their education. Education is simply too important to be left up to teachers and educators.

    Highly recommended. ...more info
  • Why Stop at 48?
    Larry Schweikart offers a great follow-up to his "A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror" (co-authored with the great western historian Michael Allen).

    I was particularly fond of Lie #12 regarding the supposed "wall of separation" between religion and government. That phrase came from a letter Jefferson sent to a group of Baptists in Connecticut who were being harassed by some Congregationalists at the time. Few people have actually read the letter FROM the Danbury Baptists and thus have little context to that controversial phrase. I would recommend "The The Political Origins of Religious Liberty (Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics)" if you are interested in this matter.

    Allen does debunk a few "conservative" myths as well, such as the idea that Jefferson was a "small government" guy.

    My only complaint is that this book stopped after 48 myths. Schweikart could have continued on with 200 more. Let's hope he follows this book up with a second volume. ...more info
  • Weak follow up to a Patriot's History
    First of all I have to say that I had grand expectations for this book given how much I enjoyed Larry Schweikart's "A Patriot's History of the United States," yet this book chose the path of being more provocative, and confrontational rather than educational. Schweikart makes a number of good points but also picks and chooses his battles which I believe undermine his arguments in a number of instances.

    Please don't misunderstand I am grateful for Mr. Schweikrart's viewpoints and I am glad he is there to make sure we don't slide into an overly biased viewpoint of American history. Still, one only needs to review a representative sample of history texts to see that they bend of backwards to try and be fair and it is in doing so that we end up with the silliness Mr. Schweikart so astutely points out. I enjoy this book, but we are far from the crisis alluded to within its pages. ...more info
  • There is hope - The truth is getting out
    I bought this book for my granddaughter. She was reading it during reading time in her classroom. Her eighth grade teacher noticed the title and asked if he could take a look. He started reading and couldn't put it down, she wondered if he was going to give it back. Finally he smiled as he handed back the book and commented very good. Perhaps this teacher is the exception but my granddaughters story certainly made my day. ...more info
  • If Schweikart had presented the case, O.J. would have been convicted the first time.
    Larry Schweikart is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. A story teller at heart, Schweikart methodically presents the overwhelming and convincing evidence that dismantles one liberal myth after another. Meanwhile, his writing is not only informative, it's entertaining and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny.

    Schweikart bulldozes through popularized myths and dismantles them before your eyes in a way that makes you wonder why anyone ever believed them in the first place. Each is punctuated with featured erroneous statements by "respected" historians from popular history texts. Of course, for an historian to be featured in one of Schweikarts books is like a nursing home being "featured" on 60 Minutes.

    From the original religious intent of the Founding Fathers to the motivation of Lincoln's Emancipation, from the impact FDR's New Deal to McCarthy's discovery of communist spies, from the atrocity of the Great Society to the duplicity of Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda, 48 Lies lays waste to the fiction that has infiltrated our education system and lives.

    So devastating is Schweikart's 48 Lies that the New Left's only defense will be to hope you ignore it. Don't.

    If Larry Schweikart had presented the case, O.J. would have been convicted the first time. There will be a place for Schweikart in a Wolf Administration.

    A reponse to those on this board and elsewhere who stubbornly cling to the canard that Gorbechev, not Reagan, ended the Cold War: Fine, if it makes you feel better. And Sonny Liston ended the fight with Muhammad Ali ... by shrewdly lying unconscious on the canvas.

    ...more info
    As a history teacher I can tell you that this book is garbage. I have no political agenda when I teach, and I can tell you that this book obviously does and is full of misinterpretations. It is scary that some people will believe this hack instead of the truth. Going to primary documents is the only way to get the truth. For example the author claims that The founders wanted to create a "wall of separation" between church and state is a "lie". Read the letters written by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and you will see that they definitely wanted church and state separated. And he claims the first presidents did not want to be isolationist. Well, President Washington issued a PROCLAMATION OF NEUTRALITY, not hard to figure out that that means "can't get involved in European wars right now" And in his farewell address, President Washington warned of forming permanent alliances with foreign beware of this book, and it is a sad day when people will believe political bullies over academic teachers.......more info
  • daring bunkum from half-wit with an agenda
    silly bunch of uninformed, uneducated trash from a partisan lamebrain with a gigantic ax to grind.

    If you believe the New Deal (!) was the end of the Republic, by all means buy this inaccurate bit of trivia and rub around in the mud with all ten of your compatriots.

    If you have any sense, take a history course instead.

    At the very best, call this nonsense Preaching to the Choir....more info
  • An easy to follow discussion of issues worth consideration
    I love doing these reviews. I particularly love the lack of anonymity for most who post their opinions. It is as easy as clicking a link to see the other opinions folks have offered. You can often find that seeing what folks have said about other things is very revealing.

    The bottom line is that this book discusses events and issues that have room for the consideration of viewpoints outside the current popular conclusion.

    As with any work like this, the proof is in the bibliography. What are the writers sources? Are they primary sources? While you may not agree with some of the conclusions based on the evidence, the author in this case at least makes points that you can follow. You might even go so far as to see how the author has come to his conclusions, even if you do not agree with him.

    That is what the free exchange of ideas is all about. Let me suggest that some of the power of the book is not limited to what you are going to specifically read, but rather the books listed as sources that you might want to track down yourself.

    For the extremists out there that have just completely attacked this book, let me just suggest that readers simply do a quick click on other opinions written by those folks to get a feel for their bias. In just about every case, you will find that the detractors have a consistent and often intellectually dishonest track record of praising only extreme left offerings (in many cases ones which we now know were filled mostly with incorrect information).

    In this case, the author loses a star for some occasionally stale or lackluster writing. However, he does do a good job of keeping your attention on what he is talking about and walking you through his conclusions with references....more info
  • Clear thinking
    Professor Schweikart has presented a worthwhile book in an effort to set the record straight. This work is something every student of history should read. It has been said that we learn nothing from history but this is true only to the extent history is ignored. Even if a person disagrees with Schweikart's work, a reader will come away knowing that not everything is as clear as some may assume. He clears away a lot of the fog which has so often given a fuzzy picture of what truly has happened. Going all the way back to George Washington, Schweikart has pinpointed important times in American history and shown how we've gotten the wrong picture.

    Highly recommended....more info
  • Politics aside, the editor should have been replaced
    For disclosure: yes, I am a liberal. That said, instead of continuing the round-and-round by stating the political views I hold that everyone can already guess, I will do the unheard-of: rate the book as a book. Before I continue, I would like to emphasize the theme of the book: it is about American history, especially, how American history is taught in American schools. Each chapter follows the pattern of: "Lie #such-and-such," a summary of the lie, and a refutation of the lie.

    The problems start with the couple of chapters about JFK conspiracy theories; there is also a chapter dedicated to the 9/11 conspiracy. I defy anyone to show me a popular American history textbook that promotes either of these classics of kookiness! The author's claims are on par with saying public schools teach that modern civilization is based on alien technology from the twelfth planet, with a discussion the day before summer vacation about how the moon landings were faked. The author also dedicates a chapter to global warming, which is not a topic in history, American or otherwise. It is a topic of discussion in geology, maybe even economics; but regarding its relation to how American history is taught, I haven't the foggiest.

    Four times the author shows us he can't stick to a simple theme. In a scholarly essay, a skilled writer might be able to get away with this, perhaps by tucking the unrelated topics into a miscellany section. However, such a possibility was ruled out by the fact that this book is essentially a collection of unsorted essays -- and the lack of chapter-level organization means the off-topic chapters stand out rather awkwardly. This is an anthology that fancies itself a coherent whole; and its author, by presenting it in this misleading way, does his field of research a disservice....more info
  • Conservative lie about Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor
    Calling 'a liberal lie" the assertion that FDR allowed US forces to be attacked at Pearl Harbor is the exact opposite of the truth. FDR is a hero to liberals because of, among other things, social security, which conservatives hate. The lie that FDR betrayed our troops was invented by conservatives.

    Those familiar with Schweikart's other work will not be surprised that he is inaccurate. Here are a few factual errors from America's Victories:
    The Battle of Kasserine Pass, in 1943, was not an American victory, despite the book's assertion. This battle was a stunning defeat for inexperienced and badly led US troops.

    The book asserts that the 82nd ABN Division fought the Germans at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. In fact, it was the 101st.

    Schweikart is also gullible, a serious fault in a historian. To take only one example of gullibility: S accepts Westmoreland's estimates of enemy casualties in the siege of Khe San. Only an exceedingly naive historian would credit any general's claims of enemy losses, since these are typically exaggerated, as any historian worth his salt knows. In the case of Westmoreland, enemy casualty estimates were driven by the usual military egoism and also by his attempt to sell an unpopular war to the people back home. Westmoreland even imagined himself to be a viable presidential candidate! America's Victories

    ...more info