What are some examples that Loewen uses to support his argument about heroification in Lies My Teacher Told Me? 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 1 of his book, Loewen criticizes history books for engaging in "heroification."  He says that they turn people into "pious, perfect creatures."  The two main examples of this that Loewen cites are Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson.

Loewen argues that Keller is made into a model of perseverance.  Her childhood struggles are discussed and her persistence is glorified, but then the rest of her life is ignored.  Loewen especially points out that textbooks completely ignore the fact that Keller became a socialist and later a member of the IWW.  Loewen says that Wilson is presented as a champion of progressivism.  He says that this overlooks Wilson's racism and the instances in which he used the US military for imperialistic purposes in Latin America.

Loewen argues that these aspects of "heroes" lives are left out because history texts want us to revere them rather than to understand the whole complex stories of their lives.


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