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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American history Textbook Got Wrong - Essay Example

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Research is done to analyze the book “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American history Textbook Got Wrong” by James Loewen. Loewen is able stir the audience's emotions that would probably cause them to do something about this matter, whether on their own, or in a larger context…
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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American history Textbook Got Wrong
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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American history Textbook Got Wrong

This essay discusses that James Loewen, in his book, “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American history Textbook Got Wrong,” argues how American history textbooks fail to teach students the more important events in history. Loewen's purpose is to convey the fact that in order to help the new generation intelligently move on into the world outside classrooms and create their paths towards being effective citizens of the nation, no part of the American history should be omitted in school textbooks. He utilizes the three modes of persuasion to appeal to the logic and emotion, and even answer doubts, of the target audience. While it is apparent that Loewen's target audience are the people behind the education system, anyone who is concerned about what students learn about America would also greatly benefit from the book. Loewen effectively adopts the three modes of persuasion to tap into the tastes and gain the agreement of his main target audience, and all the other people interested in the truth about America's history. Loewen briefly provides a hint regarding his credibility on the issue regarding what American history books are lacking by saying: “As we college professors...”. He immediately establishes his credibility regarding the issue by making sure that his readers know that he is a college professor. He does this in order to erase any doubt that his audience might feel not only regarding his knowledge on the topic, but also regarding his purpose in discussing it. Furthermore, this disclosure ensures that more of his target audience --- the members of the education system --- will be more solidly interested in what he has to say. This strategy also calls the attention of students who would definitely want to hear what a professor has to say against the current situation in schools. Through this simple statement, Loewen is able to convince his target audience that he indeed has something important, and most probably factual, to say about what students learn of the American history. Logos After establishing his credibility as a writer on this topic, Loewen enumerates several researched facts to support his point by saying: I examined how the ten narrative American histories in my sample cover the five decades leading up to the 1980s...On average, the textbooks give 47 pages to the 1930s, 43.6 pages to the 1940s, and fewer than 35 pages to each later decade. (233-4) On the first day of class in 1989 I gave my students a quiz including the open- ended question, “Who fought in the war in Vietnam?” Almost a fourth of my students said the combatants were North Korea and South Korea! (234) He appeals to the logic of his audience by showing that his concern is based on factual details and events, and not merely on personal perspectives. He does this in order to establish his point that the problem of students lacking knowledge in the recent American history is very real, and in a way, disappointing and bothering. He points out his detailed research and personal experience to call the attention of the people who are greatly involved in this education system that are responsible for what students learn inside the classrooms. Furthermore, he also attracts the attention of the students who might be concerned about what is being fed to them in classroom lectures. Loewen's presentation of facts is effective in convincing his target audience that this issue is worth looking at and doing something about. Pathos After presenting facts that support his argument, Loewen targets the emotions and sentiments of the rest of the audience by saying: Avoiding the sahsa surely does not neet students' needs. (234) To show a photograph of one naked girl crying after she has been napalmed changes the entire meaning of that war to a high school student. (237) In addition to leaving students ignorant of the history of the war, the silence of other textbooks on ... Read More
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