Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

by James W. Loewen
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What does Loewen mean by "heroification"?

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In chapter one of his book, Loewen defines heroification as doing the following:

Through this process, our educational media turn flesh-and-blood individuals into pious, perfect creatures without conflicts, pain, credibility, or human interest.

Loewen, for example, discusses the way history classrooms and texts often elide (omit) Helen Keller's long commitment to socialism to focus on her as a child who overcame adversity and became a "humanitarian." In fact, she helped found the ACLU when supporting free speech was a radical stance, gave generously to the NAACP in a time before supporting civil rights was popular, supported Eugene Debs (a socialist candidate for president), and wrote to imprisoned communists. All of this is erased from standard histories because it is uncomfortable—but doing so distorts the truth and replaces a true story with a false one that happens to be more pleasant for most people to believe in.

Likewise, Loewen shows that though President Wilson is often...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1008 words.)

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