Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Readers’ Edition

Everything American History Textbooks Get Wrong

Now adapted for young readers ages 12 through 18, the national bestseller that makes real American history come alive in all of its conflict, drama, and complexity

“Every teacher, every student of history, every citizen should read this book.” —Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, on Lies My Teacher Told Me

Lies My Teacher Told Me is one of the most important—and successful—history books of our time. Having sold nearly two million copies, the book won an American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship. Now Rebecca Stefoff, the acclaimed nonfiction children’s writer who adapted Howard Zinn’s bestseller A People’s History of the United States for young readers, makes Loewen’s beloved work available to younger students.

Essential reading in our age of fake news and slippery, sloppy history, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Readers’ Edition cuts through the mindless optimism and outright lies found in most textbooks that are often not even really written by their “authors.” Loewen is, as historian Carol Kammen has said, the history teacher we all should have had. Beginning with pre-Columbian history and then covering characters and events as diverse as the first Thanksgiving, Helen Keller, the My Lai massacre, 9/11, and the Iraq War, Loewen’s lively, provocative telling of American history is a “counter-textbook that retells the story of the American past” (The Nation).

This streamlined young readers’ edition is rich in vivid details and quotations from primary sources that poke holes in the textbook versions of history and help students develop a deeper understanding of our world. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Readers’ Edition brings this classic text to a new generation of readers (and their parents and teachers) who will welcome and value its honesty, its humor, and its integrity.


“True stories—otherwise known as history—need to be told transparently, in all their messy, marvelous, multi-faceted glory. Loewen’s Lies tells the truth to young readers, creating a new crop of critical thinkers and active citizens.”
—Tanya Lee Stone, NAACP Image Award winner and Sibert medalist
“Filled with plenty of accompanying pictures, illustrations, maps, and sidebars, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Readers’ Edition is the perfect gift to help the young historian enthusiast get woke with the facts rather than a fictitious narrative.”
The Advocate
Lies My Teacher Told Me was a big inspiration to me as a young writer, and I’m excited to see this new young readers’ edition. Loewen’s fascinating book is full of little-known stories, debunked myths, provocative ideas—and, best of all, it challenges readers to think for themselves!”
—Steve Sheinkin, author of Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
“James Loewen’s book is a lively and trustworthy guide to what’s wrong with the way we teach history, starting with the textbooks we ask our students to read in school. That students find him irresistible is not hard to explain. Loewen himself is forever young at heart: energetic, curious, skeptical, irreverent, and yet deeply idealistic. Artfully adapted for young readers by Rebecca Stefoff, the text has not been dumbed down one bit.”
—James Goodman, professor of history at Rutgers University, Newark, and Pulitzer Prize finalist
“Here is a call to action that will have students furiously turning the pages and inspire them to question everything. Young people: Read this book, and then talk back to your history teacher!”
—Jesse Hagopian, co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives and high school history teacher
“The young readers’ edition of James Loewen’s classic text Lies My Teacher Told Me imparts vital history in a thoroughly engaging way. Countless teachers have tossed their textbooks aside after reading Lies My Teacher Told Me and now younger readers will be able to learn the truth about history, including race, land, the climate, foreign policy, political leadership and much, much more.”
—Deborah Menkart, executive director, Teaching for Change, and co-director, Zinn Education Project

News and Reviews

Rethinking Schools

“[The book] not only imparts vital history left out of textbooks, it also prepares the next generation to be critical readers of the media."

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.

Books by James W. Loewen

Lies Across America
What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong

James W. Loewen

Lies My Teacher Told Me
A Graphic Adaptation

James W. Loewen, Nate Powell

Sundown Towns
A Hidden Dimension of American Racism

James W. Loewen

Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus
What Your History Books Got Wrong

James W. Loewen

Goodreads Reviews