The Atlantic

Letters: ‘Textbooks Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg’

Readers consider textbooks’ biases—and their limitations as teaching tools.
Source: Joe Corrigan / Stringer / Getty

How History Classes Helped Create a 'Post-Truth' America

In a recent interview for TheAtlantic.com, Alia Wong spoke with James W. Loewen, the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, about how schools’ flawed approach to teaching the country’s past affects its civic health.


As a history teacher, I agree with James W. Loewen’s indictment of history textbooks. But Loewen is old school. Many of today’s history teachers, and all the good ones, have shunned textbooks. They’re using primary sources, film, and other tools that require critical thinking and prompt students to draw their own conclusions about the past.

Tom Bienemann
Spokane, Wash.


I am a high school history teacher. I also own Mr. Loewen’s original 1995 book, . I enjoyed the book, but Mr. Loewen’s argument is based on the assumption that the only resource history teachers use and make available to their students is the textbook. Nothing could be further from

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