Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past

Basic: Perseus Oct. 2022. 400p. ed. by Kevin M. Kruse & Julian E. Zelizer. ISBN 9781541601390. $32. HIST
Princeton Univ. historians Kruse (One Nation Under God) and Zelizer (Burning Down the House) combined their talents to edit this collection of essays written by historians seeking to set the record straight on a variety of issues, including immigration, imperialism, and the right to protest. The authors contend that Americans are living in an age of disinformation, which is dangerously weakening the country’s democracy. Essays are used to bolster the strength of the editors’ argument that while the Trump administration is responsible for pushing the country to its “crisis point,” this was only possible because of changes allowing right-wing myths to have an impact on American life—namely, the development and growth of conservative media outlets and what the book calls the “devolution of the Republican party’s commitment to the truth.” The authors successfully correct myths, providing historical context and research and making this a compelling collection for readers interested in politics, government, and history. Readers can expect 20 essays on different discourses written by historians such as Glenda Gilmore, Ari Kelman, and Carol Anderson.
VERDICT The authors and editors set some misinformation straight in this highly readable collection. Recommended as a general purchase for all libraries.
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