Lies Across America
|Preceded by||Lies My Teacher Told Me|
The book starts on the West Coast and moves east, a deliberate break from the traditional history found in textbooks, which begin with the Pilgrims and move westward. Loewen covers Hispanic rather than English discovery, and American Indian history.
Loewen's book voices two major complaints about historical markers in the United States. The first, and most major, deals with historical markers established in the Southern United States that attempt to whitewash the history of slavery and the period of Reconstruction. Many of these markers were established between 1890 and 1920, the nadir of American race relations. Most were placed by organizations with pro-Confederate agendas and reflect the racism of the early 20th century. While some markers have been altered in the last 40 years as a result of civil rights progress, many have not, especially those at American Civil War battle sites and in the South.
Loewen's second major complaint deals with the treatment of Native Americans, who are often neglected and omitted in the telling of United States history. The author challenges and corrects many of the inaccurate and Eurocentric mistruths spread by historical markers across America.
At the end of his book, Loewen makes suggestions for how those concerned about the misrepresentation of history can change markers and monuments to convey historical truth and accuracy.
The organizations running historical sites are faulted in Loewen's book according to Wilton Corkern.
In the book, Loewen argues every historic site is "a tale of two eras": the one from when the event happened and the one from when the event was commemorated.
According to some[who?] Loewen is misleading concerning a U.D.C. marker on the courthouse in Jefferson County when he writes "the only memory of Civil War soldiers at the Charles Town, West Virginia, courthouse is a pro-Confederate plaque the UDC affixed in 1986."[original research?] Almost all the soldiers from Jefferson County, however, were Confederate, and only "a few scattered individuals joined the Federals". The county is credited with about 1600 Confederate soldiers.
- Corkern, Wilton (June 1, 2004). "Heritage Tourism: Where Public and History Don't Always Meet". American Studies International. 42 (2-3): 7. ISSN 0883-105X.
- "Looking for something?". www.informaworld.com. Retrieved June 12, 2016.[dead link]
- Curry, Richard Orr, A House Divided, A Study of Statehood Politics and the Copperhead Movement in West Virginia, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1964, p. 53.
- Scott A. MacKenzie. "Voting with Their Arms: Civil War Military Enlistments and the Formation of West Virginia, 1861–1865" – via Project MUSE. (Subscription required (. )) "In contrast, the same conditions prevented Union recruiting in the county. While hundreds of Jeffersonians joined Confederate service within weeks of Virginia's secession, no federal soldiers came from the county. After the war, the State of West Virginia accredited a mere twenty-six [Union] enlistees from the entire war to Jefferson County. Yet none of them lived there.", pg. 35