Professor emeritus at the University of Vermont, James W. Loewen won the National Book Award for his New York Times best seller Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.
©2005 James W. Loewen; (P)2008 Recorded Books
"Deserves to become an instant classic in the fields of American race relations, urban studies and cultural geography." (Washington Post Book World)
"Sure to become a landmark in several fields and a sure bet among Loewen's many fans." (Publishers Weekly)
I was interested in this book, having read another James Loewen book. However, this needs some serious editing to make it something you can finish. I must confess to having got bored with it, and considering the serious point he is making that doesn't make me feel good about myself.
Sometimes you can make a better point by highlighting typical examples, rather than just endless lists. This takes away from the tragic nature of the way non whites have been treated in the USA of the past (and how this impacts the present and future). It is like listening to a lecture from your dad who just keeps saying 'and another thing'
As I haven't managed to get past the first few chapters I may have to eat my words if I ever get to the end of the book. Given the serious subject matter I feel awful giving this such a low rating. It is something you feel you should know about but do they have to make it so dull?
"Honest Reportage on American Racial's Shame"
This is perhaps the best oral account and history of American racial shame. From former presidents to the American businesses, Loewen exposed the U.S. for atonement. This audiotape will make modern day racists look more like holocaust denials. Throughtout this audiotape, Loewen used facts, not assumption to buttress his objective point of views.
Sundown Towns is a must read for anyone--both Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans who are seeking self-liberation.
This tape will make you cry, and proud at the same time. We (as Americans) have a long way to go.
Loewen, thank you!
"A required audiobook."
This book was a meticulous study into how blacks were treated in the north after about the 1890's when much of the gains made after emancipation began to reverse themselves and blacks, although free, found themselves in encreasinly hostile territory as a result of white backlash. Primary documents along with first hand accounts of whites living during the time solidify the authors claims. It would be better to listen to this along with the actual book inorder that one may refer to the extensive notes that are not in the audio version.
This book is inportant in that it helps us remember exactly how racist we were and may still be. Many people have a cartoonish view of what racism is, that it must be overt and blatant to qualify. However, although racism was quite overt in the period covered in this book, one can see how racism became more covert and subtle in recent times and how it hides in the structural and institutional realities today.
A book not for the faint of heart.
I read a lot (thanks Audible!) and I have many books I have recommended because they were informative and surprising, many because they were simply entertaining, but I have rarely called a book "important". This one is.
FIrst, I studied history in school and yet I had never heard of this pervasive and systemic history of racism in America. The thousands of towns and whole counties that Mr. Loewen uncovers and discusses is staggering. I never thought of the overwhelmingly white towns and suburbs I have traveled through in my life as having a history of being "all white on purpose", but I have been to some of the places he discusses. On top of that, his research is impeccable and the stories of violence, arson, lynchings and non-violent attempts to drive whole groups of people from whole areas of our country is staggering. To this day we live in a world shaped by the policies of these Sundown Towns. And we don't even know it.
Secondly, he does not just make a case for the history of these events and he doesn't just examine how they existed and spread throughout mostly the NORTH of our country, he also strongly links this history of racism to effects in our daily lives TODAY. The overall socio-economic disparity of blacks versus whites in this country can be connected to these sundown towns. Their homogeneity relates to their continued segregation and prejudice. There is little more important in life than where you live (it relates to job opportunities, schooling for your children, social status, safety, crime and overall health).
This book will change the way you view your own town, not to mention our country. It will ALSO affect how you think of current events. Consider this: he links how Sundown Towns and the White Flight of white people into homogenous suburbs (the vast majority of which were established to be or were quickly changed to be "all white on purpose) evolved into the modern gated community - which are mostly white. After this book was published George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in a gated community. When I look at the unfolding news about this attack and the undercurrent of racism it implies I can't help but think that this would never have happened if there was not a history in this country of creating Sundown Towns and thus segregated gated communities. Again, this is my interpretation of events, not Mr. Loewen's (as the book was published BEFORE the shooting) but I think the two are connected.
The narration is strong and the text can be a bit factually dense. But in the end this book will redefine history and current sociology for you. I cannot recommend this book enough.
"How we lost the Civil War in the 1890's and beyond"
As much as some people would wish that American history is a story of how good we have become, there is still much work that needs to be done to bring about a society that lives up to its credo that all men (and women) are created equal. It is only by courageously facing the evil that has been done can we truly create a society with equality of opportunity.
"Explains why people sometimes live where they do"
Lies My Teacher told Me
This book changed the way I thought about American towns and the geography of race. Loewen's work is phenomenal and a compelling read. Eye-opening and something every American should read.
"Excellent view into a world we see everyday"
Well researched and provocative. You may not like what it has to say, but you won't forget it.
Buried in the Bitter Waters covers some of the same material, but from a different point of view.
"Explains How American Housing was/is Populated."
Number 1. If you can't live anywhere that you can afford too in the United States because you will be violently attacked and harassed then that should be legally stated for the world to see, and stop trying to infer that people only live where they can afford. That "they need to try harder".
The author states that there is no other book truly like it. He's right !!
Not that type of book.
Endless amount of moments that are moving !
If books were banned in the United States they would choose this 1st. Some still are probably trying. I can't get it on my mobile device anymore. I can't get it on my audio library anymore. I purchased it and downloaded it but it's disappeared. I didn't delete it ?
"SHOCKING & DISGRACEFUL(not the book. The subject)"
This is not a blemish. Instead, this is an open wound in America and it doesn't seem to want
It makes me angry to have to become aware of this at age 49. As a kid, I was always curious why my African-American friends all lived "North" or on "The other side of the train tracks". Now I know why. It angers and embarrasses me.
Professor Loewen's book is a must read for all Americans-white or black.
But mostly for white!
"Interesting read, not well edited."
From a writing style, Loewen has a terrible tendency to repeat information, already stated in previous chapters, and preview, at length, information in upcoming chapters. A good editor would cut the prose pretty quickly.
Additionally, the lack of citation of sources (while the topic is tough) makes it harder to trust as fact, despite the idea that Loewen proceeds to treat it as fact. While I do think Sundown Towns exist, and I did enjoy the book and the information, I do not think they are as rampant as Loewen speculates.
I don't know if saying I loved it is appropriate, but it sure was informative.
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