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Lies Teacher Told Me

The cover story of the most recent US News and World Report is a remarkable piece examining the history which is currently taught at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg, of course, was the site of the Civil War's most famous battle and from where President Lincoln said this country would have "a new birth of freedom."

It should be remembered, and it currently is not officially at Gettysburg, that he mean a freedom without slavery.

Gettysburg is not the only historic place in the United States where the past is whitewashed. I highly recommend reading James W. Loewen's Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong. It's an essential companion for any vacation trip across America, or even a trip to my neighbors, Independence Hall and the old Presidential Mansion, here in Philadelphia as they confront their pasts. College campuses throughout this country could do worse than to make this book, and Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me required reading by all freshman.

(A wonderful exception to what is, painfully, a rule is Augustus Saint-Gaudens's Shaw Memorial in the Boston Commons.)


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