Education: E PIuribus Confusion

U.S. history texts turn a pageant into patchwork

It's textbook time again. In the next few weeks millions of American schoolchildren will be confronted by thick history books with uplifting names like Rise of the American Nation or The Free and the Brave.

For most students the book will represent their main chance of learning about U.S. history. For their middle-aged parents, such titles bring back memories of George Washington with an inked-in mustache, and their own introduction to a unified, changeless heritage: a view of America shaped by its great men, sealed against doubt,...

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