Wednesday, January 19, 2005


By L. Schweikart and M. Allen; Publisher: Penguin, N.Y., 2004

It is refreshing to see a book like this published by a mainstream publisher. It seems that at least one mainstream publisher sees the advantage of having some balance in their list. Penguin is normally a reliable fountain of Left-wing books. Perhaps they even bored themselves in the end. The book is however on a special "Sentinel" list for specifically conservative books. Quarantining conservative books like a dangerous disease is a sort of a compliment to such books, though. It shows how much they threaten the Leftist orthodoxy.

From what I can gather, American history as it is taught in most American schools these days consists mainly of a series of crimes committed against minorities and others by "dead white males". The situation is similar in Australia, where we are routinely told that our white ancestors committed "genocide" against the Tasmanian aborigines -- although the aborigines concerned in fact died out from the effects of white men's diseases rather than white men's bullets.

This book is certainly meant to be an alternative to the Leftist propaganda by Howard Zinn and others that passes for school textbooks these days but it does not insult our intelligence by substituting Rightist propaganda for Leftist propaganda. If it had been conservative propaganda, for instance, we might expect it to stress the central importance of the Pilgrim fathers and their Christian faith in the American founding. And double that if you are aware that Schweikart is a committed Christian. In fact, however, the book glides over this small group of blown-off-course religious renegades as the relatively minor event in the British settlement of North America that it was. The Mayflower Pilgrims get in fact less than two pages out of 928. Even Africans arrived in North America before the Pilgrims! If any of that jars you, you need to read the book.

I will not say any more about the book other than to say that it is a meticulous and balanced coverage of the WHOLE of American history right up to the present day. And it only needs the facts to explode heaps of Leftist myths along the way. Don't even get me started on the New Deal and the Great Depression!

I have previously mentioned the excellent A politically incorrect Guide to American history by Tom Woods, which focuses specifically on debunking Leftist myths. This book by contrast is a "just the facts" approach to the whole of American history. Both for students and as a comprehensive one-volume home reference I know of nothing better. And, given recent scandals, I guess I should mention that neither Penguin nor anyone else are paying me to say that. Being both well-off and too old for any shenanigans, I would not be tempted by bribes anyway.

There is a much more extensive summary of the book and a cut-price offer for buyers here. Nearly 1,000 pages of history for less than 30 bucks seems pretty good to me.


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