Lies Across America
What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong
By James W. Loewen
The New Press, 1999, 480 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - May 7, 2010
Most people believe what they read and what they hear on TV and in school, even though much of it is untrue. In about a 40 page introduction, Loewen tells how school teachers, guides, historians, politicians, and many others pervert history. Then in 95 vignettes, he recounts stories of misrepresentations and narrates what really happened.
For example, there are many signs in Columbia, South Carolina, declaring that the union general William T. Sherman burned many Columbia sites. But this is not true. Loewen spends about eight pages telling what Sherman actually did in South Carolina.
Little Rock, Arkansas, to cite another example, has a museum in which 88 people are noted for significant accomplishments; however, the museum officials could only find 13 women to include among the 88. To make matters worse, "ten of the thirteen women (are) remoras. The remora is a fish that attaches itself to a shark…and gets carried along without much effort. When the shark kills something, the remora detaches and enjoys the feast." The three women who did something on their own that the museum was able to see were two whose accomplishment was to serve at the museum and a third who designed the Arkansas flag.
This last entry shows the shocking humor that Loewen discloses.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.