Lies My Teacher Told Me

A Graphic Adaptation

At last! The long-awaited graphic version of the multi-million copy bestselling corrective to American history myths—adapted by the famed National Book Award–winning artist behind John Lewis’s March trilogy

“Loewen’s book contains so much history that it ends up functioning not just as a critique, but also as a kind of counter-textbook that retells the story of the American past.” —The Nation on Lies My Teacher Told Me

Since its first publication in the 1990s, Lies My Teacher Told Me has become one of the most important and successful—and beloved—history books of our time. As the late Howard Zinn said, “Every teacher, every student of history, every citizen should read this book.” Having sold well over 2 million copies, the book also won an American Book Award and numerous other commendations and prizes and was even heralded on the front page of the New York Times long after its first publication.

Now, the brilliant and award-winning artist Nate Powell—the first cartoonist ever to win a National Book Award—has adapted Loewen’s classic work into a graphic edition that perfectly captures both Loewen’s text and the irreverent spirit of his work. Eye-popping illustrations bring to life the true history chronicled in Lies My Teacher Told Me, and ample text boxes and callouts ensure nothing is lost in translation. The book is perfect for those making their first foray past the shroud of history textbooks, and it will also be beloved by those who had their worldviews changed by the original.


“This updated version of Lies My Teacher Told Me NEEDS to be in every history classroom and incorporated into teacher education programs and coursework. Nate Powell’s captivating artwork adds depth and emotion that will help readers connect to our true, shared history in ways that prose alone cannot.”
—Tim Smyth, social studies teacher and author of the Eisner-nominated Teaching with Comics and Graphic Novels
“From fables of noble presidents and benevolent governments to falsehoods about classless and colorblind societies, Lies My Teacher Told Me: A Graphic Adaptation reveals the deception of so many American history textbooks and provokes kids to ask, ‘Why are they hiding the truth?’”
—Jesse Hagopian, teacher and co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives
“Nate Powell’s emotive graphics add a vital new dimension to James Loewen’s razor-sharp critique of our nation’s textbooks. This collaboration will reach those with the most to gain: students still spoon-fed with constrained narratives masquerading as history.”
—Ray Raphael, author of A People’s History of the American Revolution and Founding Myths
“This new iteration cleverly demonstrates Loewen’s key concepts while vividly bringing the content to life.”
“There are something like 1500 individual panels in Lies My Teacher Told Me . . . [Powell] does a marvelous job of synthesizing Loewen’s concepts into a new work that delves into the many ways that history textbooks have long failed our students.”
Comic Book Resources
“James Loewen’s classic Lies My Teacher Told Me is an essential title in the pantheon of books that challenge commonly held racist historical assumptions about the past. This new graphic adaption will inspire even more readers, young and old, to interrogate these false narratives. Nate Powell’s wonderful illustrations capture Loewen’s sly humor and reverence for truth-telling and will entertain even as they inspire and teach.”
—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning: A Graphic History of Racist Ideas in America
“Thank God for Nate Powell—his beautiful illustrations kept me rapt all through this groundbreaking work of history. No matter what you think you know about the story of America, there’s something in this book that will blow your mind. Dive in!”
—Adam Conover, comedian and host of Adam Ruins Everything and Factually with Adam Conover
“Countless people have told me how their lives were changed by reading the original Lies My Teacher Told Me—including many inspired to become U.S. history teachers themselves. With Nate Powell’s skillful adaptation and creative illustrations, readers can see detailed examples of how, to quote Loewen, ‘history textbooks are anti-citizenship manuals, handbooks for acquiescence.’ This book will get young people asking the right questions and looking beyond textbooks for answers.”
—Deborah Menkart, executive director of Teaching for Change and co-director of the Zinn Education Project
“James Loewen’s history of our country is everything most textbooks are not: critical, idea-rich, anti-racist, class-conscious—and funny. Loewen’s irreverent storytelling comes to life in Nate Powell’s action-packed adaptation of Loewen’s classic Lies My Teacher Told Me. This volume is especially welcome at a moment when truthful history is under attack.”
—Bill Bigelow, curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools and co-director of Zinn Education Project
“Powell’s characteristically fluid art lends new depth. . . . Long a favorite of radical educators, Loewen’s original text receives the vital and accessible adaptation it deserves.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Powell’s visual depth beautifully adds visceral layers to Loewen’s efforts to undercut scholastic elisions. . . . In cleverly dissecting and debunking what was taught for decades, Loewen’s stories collectively serve as an illuminating textbook in their own right.”
The Washington Post

News and Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Read a starred review of Lies My Teacher Told Me: A Graphic Adaptation in Publishers Weekly.

Lies My Teacher Told Me Reader's Guide

The New Press is pleased to share a Reading Group Guide for Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen.

Goodreads Reviews