Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James W. Loewen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1942 in Decatur, Il

-- Website --
-- James W. Loewen on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Loewen grew up in Decatur, Illinois and graduated from MacArthur High School in 1960.

Biographical and Professional Information

Loewen is an acclaimed historian and best-selling author whose mission is to overturn myths and misinformation that too often pass for U.S. history. A highly sought-after speaker and author, he engages audiences with intelligence and humor, honing in on a range of topics encompassing U.S. history, multicultural education, civil rights, race relations, voting rights, law and social science.Loewen is the bestselling author of ''Lies My Teacher Told Me'' and ''Lies Across America''. He is a regular contributor to the History Channel's ''History Magazine'' and is a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Vermont. He resides in Washington, D.C.

Published Works

    Mississippi: Conflict and Change, Pantheon Books, 1974Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Simon and Schuster, 1995 Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism, Touchstone, 20056Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong , Touchstone, 2007Teaching What Really Happened: How To Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History, Teachers College Press, 2009

Selected Titles At Your Library

Mississippi: conflict & change.
ISBN: 0394489640. OCLC Number:

Pantheon Books. New York,. [1974]

A textbook which traces the history of Mississippi from prehistoric times until today, covering all areas of social life and concentrating on recent developments, especially the civil rights struggle and the search for social justice.

Lies my teacher told me :
ISBN: 0684818868. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster,. New York :. 2007.

Criticizes the way history is presented in current textbooks, and suggests a fresh and more accurate approach to teaching American history.

Sundown towns :
ISBN: 156584887X. OCLC Number:

New Press :. New York :. 2005.

Loewen (emeritus, sociology, U. of Vermont) exposes the history and persistence of "sundown towns," so-named for the signs often found at their corporate limits warning African Americans and other minorities not to be found in the town after dusk. He historically situates the rise of the sundown town movement in the years following the Civil War; describes the mechanisms of violence, threats, law, and policy that were used to force minorities out of Northern and Western towns into the big cities; and charts the continued existence of such communities. In considering the sociology of sundown towns he investigates the causes that underlie the existence of sundown towns and discusses why the phenomena has remained largely hidden. The social costs of sundown towns on whites, blacks, and the social system are then detailed and recommendations for fixing this blight on the body politic are proffered. Includes information on Anna, (Illinois), anti Semitism, Appalachian region, Appleton (Wisconsin), Arkansas, Asian Americans, Atlanta (Georgia), Berwyn (Illinois), Beverly Hills (California), black Americans, Boley (Oklahoma), Brown v. Board of Education, George W. Bush, Buchanan v. Warley, Cairo (Illinois), California, Chicago (Illinois), Chinese Americans, Cicero (Illinois), Corbin (Kentucky), Cullman (Alabama), Darien (Connecticut), Dearborn (Michigan), Democratic Party, Detroit (Michigan), Du Quoin (Illinois), economic factors, Edina (Minnesota), educational aspects, Effingham (Illinois), employment, Florida, Fond du Lac (Wisconsin), Forsyth County (Georgia), Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, Gainesville (Florida), Glendale (California), Granite City (Illinois), Great Migration, Great Retreat, Greenwich (Connecticut), Grosse Pointe (Michigan), Harrison (Arkansas), Highland Park (Texas), Idaho, Illinois, immigration, Indiana, Jews, Jonesboro (Illinois), Kenilworth (Illinois), Ku Klux Klan, legal aspects, Long Island (New York), Los Angeles (California), lynchings, Martinsville (Indiana), Medford (Oregon), Mississippi, Missouri, Native Americans, New York, Norman (Oklahoma), Oak Park (Illinois), Ohio, Ocoee (Florida), Orlando (Florida), Owosso (Michigan), Pana (Illinois), Pierce City (Missouri), Pinckneyville (Illinois), political factors, racial stereotypes, real estate aspects, Republican Party, Rosewood (Florida), segregation, Sheridan (Arkansas), signs in sundown towns, social class factors, Jones v. Mayer, Milliken v. Bradley, Plessy v. Ferguson, Shelley v. Kraemer, Valparaiso (Indiana), voting rights, Warren (Michigan), Washington, D.C., West Frankfort (Illinois), white Americans, Wisconsin, Wyandotte (Michigan), Zeigler (Illinois), etc.

Lies across America :
ISBN: 074329629X. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster,. New York :. 2000.

"Offers startling revelations about sites we think we know; Valley, Forge, Abraham Lincoln's log cabin, the Intrepid. It also tells of new sites, events, and individuals that should be commemorated on the landscape but are't; a tombstone with a story to tell in Mississippi, a spy in the confederate White House, the unforeseen fallout from the first nuclear missile test, the reverse underground railway, a modern "sundown" town (blacks can work there, j but they'd better leave before the sun sets). It asks why, across our landscape, Indians are consistently "savage", tribal names are wrong and derogatory, whites "discover" everything, and the term "massacre" is a one-way street; why war museums have selective memories, guides at FDR's family mansion in Hyde park are "specifically forbidden" to talk about Roosevelt's mistresses, and James Buchanan's house denies that he was gay. It muses about the Civil War mare in Kentucky who got an extra body part, the Polynesian King made to look like a Roman emperor on monuments in Hawaii, and the statue of a conquistador in New Mexico who lost his foot."

Teaching what really happened :
ISBN: 0807749915. OCLC Number:

. .

Calling for a new way to teach history, this book offers teachers specific ideas for how to get students excited about history, how to get them to DO history, and how to help them read critically.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Lecture topics include How History Keeps Us Racist, and What to Do About It Sundown Towns What they are, Where they are, and Why they matter Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong about Labor History and Social Class What History Books Don't Tell about Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and John Brown, and Why It Matters How American History in School and on the Landscape Demeans Native Americans Lies My Teacher Told Me Me About the Civil War Eurocentrism, Afrocentrism, and Multiculturalism