LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

EVERYTHING AMERICAN HISTORY TEXTBOOKS GET WRONG

An accessible, eye-opening invitation to look for hidden—and not-so-hidden—agendas in supposedly authoritative sources.

A slimmed-down version of Loewen’s (Sundown Towns, 2018, etc.) damning indictment of the way United States history is taught.

As in the adult edition, the author bases his argument on critical examinations of 18 high school textbooks published between 1974 and 2007. He sees clear tendencies to blandly hero-ify not only historical figures—such as Helen Keller, commonly presented in relation to her disabilities, not for her lifelong social and political radicalism—but also American culture and government, which are consistently portrayed as international forces for good despite centuries of invasion-based foreign policy. To freshen his material, the author slips in more recent statistics and general comments that newer textbooks seem to have filled in at least some of the more egregious gaps. More provocatively, he also flings down a gauntlet to young readers by not reproducing two of the five photos he discusses as iconic images of the war in Vietnam, arguing that they are still too edgy for some school districts. He also offers alternative narratives about the conflicts between European immigrants and Indigenous residents, slavery, racism, social class, and the ideal of “progress.” Overall, he presents a cogent argument for studying historical nuances. He argues that young people should not be deprived of hearing the incredible truth of American history in service to avoidance of controversy or blinkered, parochial nationalism.

An accessible, eye-opening invitation to look for hidden—and not-so-hidden—agendas in supposedly authoritative sources. (notes, index) (Nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62097-469-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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