Thursday, March 26, 2009
Lies My Teacher Told Me (audio book)
Narrated by Brian Keeler
book published in 1995
To be fair, I was expecting something different from this book. I thought it would focus on, well, on lies my teacher told me. And it did talk about lies. In fact, the beginning of the book was quite interesting (Helen Keller was a socialist! And Woodrow Wilson was racist!). But then, the author digressed into a long (and I do mean long) rant about everything that is wrong with how American history is taught in high schools. Thing is, I mostly agree with him. But see, I didn't buy the book (which I never read) and then the audio book only to hear him drone on and on and on. And okay, Loewen wasn't the narrator, but Brian Keeler did such a fantastic job of sounding like these were his own ideas that the two will forever be linked in my mind. Oh, and Keeler had a really bad case of Alex Trebek disease (you know, over-pronunciation of foreign words?). Although he said Oregon wrong, which was enough to make me to yell back the correct pronunciation (Ore-uh-gun), which I'm sure was entertaining if you happened to be driving next to me at the time.
So, I'm rambling. Are you still with me? Here are a few more irritants:
- Over-use of the word heroification. I got it the first time.
- This phrase: "Steadfast reader, we are about to do something no high school American history class has ever accomplished in the annals of American education: reach the end of the textbook." First, how do you know no one has never done it? And second, don't say something like this when there are three (3!) more chapters left in your own book. Plus an afterword. It gives a reader false hope that the end is near. And that's just mean.
- Taking the African concept of living dead (sasha) (and that does not mean zombie, btw) and applying it to your own idea and then using the word sasha 99 bajillion times in the course of a chapter. Just say living dead. Did you learn nothing from beating heroification into the ground?
- Speaking of beating things into the ground. Columbus was not a hero. Yes, I got it the first time. And the second. And the third. After that, it's hella boring.
- You're a sociologist. You should say that. Because making people think you're a historian is wrong. Especially when you harp on the education system that I do believe you never taught in (college doesn't count). Then when they find out you're a sociologist, you lose credibility. And then they start picking on your book.
Okay, as mentioned earlier, I did learn some interesting things, but the book turned out to be a big disappointment, mostly for the reasons (rants?) listed above.This has been sitting on my bookshelf for 3 years, so I decided that even though it's about American history, I'm using it towards the World Citizen Challenge. Because there should be a reward for torture, right?