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James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.

Rethinking Our Past

In 2005, Recorded Books invited Loewen to create a “course” in U.S. History for them, which they titled Rethinking Our Past. It sold well and remains available. In addition to the fourteen lectures, it comes with a “Course Guide” with useful images, intriguing questions, suggested sites to visit relevant to each era, and a compact bibliography to accompany each lecture.

Titles of the Fourteen Lectures

  1. Why Study the Past? (and no, the key reason is not Santayana’s cliché, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”)
  2. Archaeology and Prehistory
  3. The Politics and History of Columbus
  4. Pilgrims
  5. Native American Societies and Cultures
  6. The Making and Use of the Constitution
  7. Slavery
  8. The Civil War
  9. The Civil War (Continued) and Reconstruction
  10. The Nadir of Race Relations
  11. (cont.)
  12. United States Foreign Policy
  13. Capitalism and Social Class
  14. Doing History Yourself

Note that several of these topics – in particular the Constitution and Foreign Policy – are barely touched upon in Lies My Teacher Told Me. Also note: there is considerable emphasis on race relations.

Comments on Rethinking Our Past

“What in the Hell is the Relationship between Local History and Radical History?” is an intelligent extended rumination on the final lecture in Rethinking Our Past.

Audible books are rarely reviewed. However Audiofile Magazine did review Rethinking Our Past, calling it a “brilliant and common sense series of lectures.”