This Thanksgiving Let’s Finally Stop the Nonsense About the Puritans and Pilgrims
Truthful (and sobering) meal
Twenty years ago, James Loewen’s book Lies My Teacher Told Me addressed the paradox that American history was full of gripping stories that bored students silly. The problem, Loewen decided, lay with the textbooks, written in a tone he called ‘mumbling lecturer,’ and in content off-putting even to adolescents of white European descent whose ancestry received the most attention. For the rest, these books were either irrelevant or offensive.
Loewen began with the ‘first Thanksgiving’ in 1621, which in the approved version was full of beguiling assumptions. The Pilgrims, it seemed, had carved a world from a wilderness, and everyone else — the Spanish, the Dutch, the Indians — was invisible or passive or wrong. The story had…
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