Whitewashing War offers a valuable critique of how today’s corporate textbooks approach the Vietnam War. According to Leahey, just four corporations account for 80 percent of the country’s high school social studies textbooks — and these corporations have a vested interest in how students come to view history and the world today. A helpful chapter offers a critical overview of the textbook industry and its power in shaping what students learn.
The heart of the book is an evaluation of how these textbooks describe — well, lie about — U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Leahey shows how publishers avoid including information that might “mar their efforts to establish a patriotic or benevolent imperialist rationale for American involvement.” The book concludes with some ideas about teaching the war in Vietnam. [Publisher’s description.]
The pioneering work on this subject was the excellent Teaching the Vietnam War (Allenheld, Osmun, 1979) by William Griffen and John Marciano, a book that’s out of print but available as an e-book download on the Internet Archives.
ISBN: 9780807750438 | Teachers College Press