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Politically Incorrect Guide to the History of USA

John Simkin

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The Politically Incorrect Guide to the History of America by Thomas E. Woods is a bestseller in the United States. It has been plugged by right-wing talk shows. Woods is a member of the League of the South organization. The book claims that early settlers treated native Americans with respect, buying rather than stealing their land, Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant, the real heroes of America were the Southern Confederates, FDR deepened the economic misery of the 1930s, Senator Joseph McCarthy was right and that President Kennedy’s politics were no better than his morals.

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I had the displeasure of being around the genesis of the Southern League which was subsequently renamed the League of the South.  I have not heard of the book or the individual, but the League of the South is simply a buttoned down version of a right wing hate group.

The real problem is that there is now a campaign for this book to be used in American schools as a history textbook. I would be interested to know how this book treats the Civil Rights movement.

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John, I find it extremely difficult to believe that such a campaign could get the book used in class. There is little chance that the book is even on an academic par with a book by Al Franken or John Stewart. You are right to be concerned about our rightward turn here in the US but we still have teachers who insist on using accurate and diverse text books in their classrooms. (And parents, and school boards etc.)

Talk radio can talk all it wants and they can show their power in getting an agendized book on the best seller list, but neither Al Franken nor this guy are going to emerge as accepted authorities for our history cirricula.

The civil rights chapter discusses the key cases that transformed American society with regard to race, including Brown, Green, Swann, Griggs, Bakke, and Weber, and the fundamental lawlessness that characterized the process. It doesn’t take the line that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a wonderful, visionary piece of legislation that was mysteriously replaced by affirmative action quotas years later. It shows, first, that the act had far less impact on black employment than people typically suppose, and second, that the logic of the act (in spite of all its disclaimers) in fact led directly to affirmative action.


edited to add a blurb about civil rights by Woods.

This is also a good blog post about some of the views under the skin of the League of the South.


And a book review by Woods


Edited by Raymond Blair
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