October 19th, 2010


Lies Across America by J. Loewen

A followup work to his biggest success, Lies My Teacher Told Me, here Loewen sets his sites on the historic monuments that dominate the American landscape, choosing 90 that represent larger groups of monuments and historical problems of various sorts, and discussing them, their faults and successes, and what to do to help change the bad old monuments, and make sure that new monuments are better than the old ones.

The biggest flaw with the book is that it, by necessity, covers a lot of the same ground as Lies My Teacher Told Me(which, incidentally, is the best book I've read so far this year). While the focus might be on monuments and markers, the history gets treated much the same, and Loewen does periodically cite himself when talking about many of the issues with a broad brush. For me, this worked out great, but I recognize that this is a weaker book as a consequence.

Something to note about the book is its episodic nature: Loewen covers 90 monuments/markers/historic places in less than 400 pages, and the sections vary considerably in length. That worked out well for me, reading on breaks, but there were some times that I thought some of the markers got shorted a little bit.

Really, I can recommend this only to a super casual reader(who can't handle the older Lies or to someone that is already a Loewen fan. It's more of the same good stuff, with amazing new things to learn, but it's a bit shallower because of its form, and that ultimately makes it more of a companion volume than a stand alone book.