If this is your general understanding of the first Thanksgiving, then
Lies My Teacher Told Me, Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong,
by James W. Loewen, is certain to fill in the gaps. The book, selling over two million copies when it was first published in 1995, takes a through look at America’s high school textbooks, analyzing their biases, half-truths, and the publishers’ profit-making goals.
High school textbooks say that an Indian named Squanto greeted the settlers in English when they landed and taught them how to hunt and plant corn. But how was an “uncivilized” native, living in the middle of the “wilderness”, able to greet the “settlers” in English? Well, according to
Land of Promise
textbook, “He had learned their language from English fishermen.” That much is true, says Loewen, an award-winning author, historian and sociologist professor emeritus at the University of Vermont; but there’s a lot more to the rest of the story. (Hummm…Paul Harvey anyone?).