Lies Across America

What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong

A fully updated and revised edition of the book USA Today called “jim-dandy pop history,” by the bestselling, American Book Award–winning author

“The most definitive and expansive work on the Lost Cause and the movement to whitewash history.” —Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans

From the author of the national bestseller Lies My Teacher Told Me, a completely updated—and more timely than ever—version of the myth-busting history book that focuses on the inaccuracies, myths, and lies on monuments, national landmarks, and historical sites all across America.

In Lies Across America, James W. Loewen continues his mission, begun in the award-winning Lies My Teacher Told Me, of overturning the myths and misinformation that too often pass for American history. This is a one-of-a-kind examination of historic sites all over the country where history is literally written on the landscape, including historical markers, monuments, historic houses, forts, and ships. New changes and updates include:

•a town in Louisiana that was the site of a major but now-forgotten slave uprising

•a totally revised tour of the memory and intentional forgetting of slavery and the Civil War in Richmond, Virginia

•the hideout of a gang in Delaware that made money by kidnapping free blacks and selling them into slavery

Lies Across America is a reality check for anyone who has ever sought to learn about America through the nation's public sites and markers. Entertaining and enlightening, the book also has a serious role to play in contemporary debates about white supremacy and confederate memorials.

Praise

“Every state has puffed-up heroes, bloated pioneer legend and inflated tales of military triumph. This book, sharp as a tack, punctures the worst of them.”
The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
“A remarkable achievement. . . . A brisk, entertaining, and, at times, inspiring read.”
The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
“An astute, funny, yet very serious book . . . Lies Across America will make us think hard about how easily the public can be misled by a group determined to get their view of history displayed on our roadsides.”
—Robin W. Winks, Townsend Professor of History, Yale University
“An exhilarating, irreverent, often hilarious romp across our commemorative landscape, deftly mixing vivid reportage with caustic muckraking.”
—David Lowenthal, author of The Past Is a Foreign Country and The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History
“I would have thought it impossible for Loewen to write a book that I would find more interesting than Lies My Teacher Told Me, but he’s managed to do so.”
—Thomas Connors, professor of history, University of Northern Iowa
“Brims with fascinating history.”
Los Angeles Times
“A fascinating book.”
The Sacramento Bee
“A fascinating study of what this country chooses to honor and why. As interesting as what is honored is what is left out.”
The Charlotte Observer
“A marvelous review of America’s past that will engage and delight the reader. Loewen exposes with humor and outrage the lies told by our public monuments. He is the high school history teacher we all should have had.”
—Carol Kammen, author of On Doing Local History
“A winner by any criteria: informative, stimulating, and challenging. Loewen’s wry wit is a welcome bonus, too often missing in books of this character.”
—Edwin C. Bears, former chief historian, National Park Service
“A great book, a fun book, and an important book.”
—Ira Berlin, professor of history, University of Maryland
“Loewen is a one-man historical truth squad. . . . He has written a devastating portrait of how American history is commemorated.”
The Nation

Books by James W. Loewen

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

James W. Loewen

Sundown Towns
A Hidden Dimension of American Racism

James W. Loewen

Lies My Teacher Told Me
Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

James W. Loewen