An eye-opening book on the truths of American History, Not So is a well written collection of events and what really happened. Did the voyage of Columbus take place to challenge the prevailing belief that the earth is flat? Was the fourth of July when congress really voted for independence from Great Britain? What was George Washington’s teeth really made of? All these answers and a lot more lie within the cover of Not So – Popular Myths About America from Columbus to Clinton.
To relieve your troubled mind, people already knew the world was round, congress voted for independence on July 2, and George Washington’s teeth were made from ivory, and that’s not even the half of it. The whole book is an attack on the falsehood created from rumor and myth; those are just three examples. Much of what is said in history is wrong, and we have been taught this false history since elementary school.
We start out the book with a chapter on Columbus and the flat earthers. Many people were taught, and still are taught that Columbus’s voyage eastward was challenging the popular belief that the world was flat. The truth of the matter is that almost every educated person in Columbus’s time knew that the world was round. Where Columbus ran into trouble was the people’s different belief on the size of the globe. The only resource that the people of this era had on the subject was the bible, and even that never said the actual size. Well, as we all know, Columbus thought that the world was a small sphere, and he was wrong.
The next chapter is written on the tranquility of the Native Americans before Columbus arrived. It states that the Indians were not at one with nature, but were actually destroying it and then moving one. They were savage people, and had a lust for war. The book moves along in chronological order moving to the Puritans, then to American Revolutionary times and so on to the rather interesting time of the incident at Hiroshima.
The prevailing belief is that Americans applauded and American leftists (peaceful activists) denounced President Truman’s decision to drop an atom bomb on Hiroshima. The truth of the matter is that the American public, both left and right, approved of the eradication of Hiroshima as a quick way to end the war with Japan. Admittedly, some activists, such as Herbert Hoover, were against this action, however, the majority of the American public, though they knew that it was a horrible thing to do, agreed that it would end the war with Japan quickly and eliminate the need to invade Japan, therefore saving countless Japanese and American lives, and that’s exactly what it did.
The book keeps rolling along through the horrors of McCarthyism to the horrors of the war in Vietnam, closing with insight into presidential campaigns, speeches, and terms in office. Along the way you will be shocked, you will laugh, but you will definitely be entertained, and you will definitely learn something.
One might ask, who is Paul F. Boller, Jr. to tell us what is right and what is wrong? What qualifications does he have? Well, it just so happens that Paul Boller Jr. is a well-known historian. He is a Professor of History Emeritus and teaches many American history classes that Texas Christian University. On top of being a professor and teaching at a rather popular college, Paul Boller Jr. has written several other books on American history including Presidential Campaigns and They Never Said it. From teaching to being a published author, it is obvious that he knows what he is talking about.
Everyone must have goals when writing a book, and Paul F. Boller Jr. is no exception. His intent was to entertain his audience while dazzling them with historical corrections. He wanted to keep the reader captivated, to stun them with the truth. He wanted people to know the truth about our American history, to stop living in ignorance of what really went on. His main purpose, his main objective, was to inform. To teach the uneducated people what they need to know. But did he accomplish these objectives?
In a word, yes. The whole time I was reading I was learning interesting new facts and hearing mind boggling new theories that really made me think. I looked past the falsehood of the lessons that I have been taught in middle school and grade school and found a whole new world of interesting information. I can now say that I know at least part of what really went on in the early years of American history, and the public opinions of those events, and the whole time I was learning, the quirky humor and wonderful way it was written kept me entertained.
Short, informative chapters (44 to be exact) with just enough humor was the highlight of the way this book was written. It never seemed to get old as some longer winded books seem to do. Every chapter was filled with useful facts that were interesting and fun to read. The vocabulary wasn’t too difficult to understand, even for the not so mentally gifted, however there were a few words that might give people trouble such as decontextualism and innocuous. Other than that, I found the book very well written, and very enjoyable.
I truly think that if I enjoyed this book, anyone can. I’m not really big on reading about history, in fact I strongly dislike it. However, I felt as if I could really relate to this book, and as a result I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It took me one short week to read two hundred and twenty-two pages of historical information. Though maybe not for the grade school children, and middle school through high school social studies teacher that is looking for a book that their students will actually read and enjoy, this is it. Plus, it challenges the way that you think, so I believe that it would be a great book for older people and even teachers who want to expand their minds.
Having been written just recently in 1995, I believe that this book is a descriptive and accurate depiction of history from the time of Columbus to the modern day times of Bill Clinton. It has all of the recently discovered information, and also includes modern theories on ancient mysteries. This book is in touch with the nineties way of thinking, but is also in touch with the 1800’s. It views history through critically with a view that is becoming of this day in age, but doesn’t corrupt the splendor of the actual story. I believe that this book will be a good source of reference material for many a year to come.
This book has definitely changed the way that I think of the past. It has opened up my mind to the idea that I cannot trust everything that I hear from my teachers or read in my textbooks. I learned that if I want to get an accurate portrayal of what really happened, I need to get involved and look at certain things more in depth. It has made me wonder whether or not things happen the way the news portrays them or if maybe they are just covering up the truth with what the public wants to hear. It makes me want to delve deeper into certain issues and news stories. Most importantly, however, it makes me want to learn. Learn more about history, and learn more about the world’s current situation.