I consider myself a history buff of sorts, specifically American History. I am an engineer by trade, but history fascinates me to the point of it being a hobby. I can tell you that the modern education system from elementary school all the way to advanced college courses has failed in their attempt to teach American history. Until I started reading books on history I began to realize that much of what makes up our history is not taught in public schools. It has nothing to do with time constraints and more to do with picking and choosing what is taught to students. There is a clear bias in the American education system. This bias has brainwashed most American people in believing that what is told to them is right and that there is no other explanation. I think the Civil War (or more appropriately, the War of Northern Aggression) is a perfect example of the bias being pushed onto children in the public education system.
I am not going to give anyone a course on the Civil War, it would take many pages to write and there are many resources out there to learn for yourself as I will show you below. Most people who went through public education could not give any simple facts on the Civil War without using Google. How many Confederate and Union generals do you know? What years did the war occur? What percentage of the south actually owned slaves? Did you know Lincoln himself didn’t truly care about slavery? I could go on with questions that no one could answer. It is expected though because the American education system does not teach such things. If you open a textbook you will find maybe a dozen pages on the Civil War and everyone one of them will focus on slavery as the underlining issue. They may mention a few notable battles, maybe call out a Confederate general or two, but the takeaway on their educating the student will be that the Civil War was over slavery and nothing but. This has brainwashed people into a state where anytime issues are mentioned in the news, especially of late with the removal of Confederate monuments, they attack with their “facts” given to them by the education system. I have read hundreds of comments on different media sources on the drama surrounding the removal of the Confederate monuments. Most of those that support the removal of the monuments do so in the name of “forgetting the slave owning south and their bigotry” or “the south lost the war, slavery was abolished because the north won, time to move on”. Those kind of reactions clearly show how our education system has failed people, because they truly know nothing of American history, especially the Civil War.
I compiled a list of books for those that want to learn about the Civil War. I realize every author may present their form of bias, but it is the facts that I tend to focus on when reading history. There are many books just on the Civil War, but I have found these to be the best.
The Civil War by Bruce Catton – One of the first writings on the Civil War and to this day still one of the best. Can be a hard read, but very informative.
Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson – James is a great historian and he doesn’t skip a beat with this book. Lot of information and a much easier read.
Civil War Volumes 1-3 by Shelby Foote – Another classic that is very informative. Shelby puts great attention to the battles that took place and the individuals who were part of them.
Lee by Dougles Freeman – Since Lee has been getting a lot of flack and disrespect I think this book is a plus. After reading this book you may actually start giving Lee the respect he deserves. There are also many books on other Civil War generals that people should look into as well.
These 2 books may have some bias toward the Confederacy, but are filled with facts that they do not teach in schools. I highly recommend reading them both.
The Real Lincoln by Thomas Dilorenzo – And finally a book that I think all should read, especially Lincoln supporters. This book shines light on the real Lincoln and his views on war and slavery. I won’t say no more, just read it and find out for yourself.
Remember the old sang, “Do not believe everything you hear”. It is unfortunate that it applies to our education system, but it does. So go do some reading and then spread the word to others. People need to be educated on real history, not bias!