Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day Reading List

Many people we consider great historical figures had flaws that were omitted during the creation of their myths. We're not taught much about their shortcomings, only that they were the first to do something. So people seem shocked when they find out Thomas Jefferson owned slaves despite proclaiming that all men are created equal, and that Teddy Roosevelt - hero of our national parks - led the charge not only of San Juan Hill but also the charge to rule over the Philippines, Hawaii, Panama and Puerto Rico. Taught seemingly since birth that Christopher Columbus was first to discover America, we can't easily process that not only wasn't he first but that he helped enslave and massacre thousands upon thousands of the people he discovered.

Let's celebrate Columbus for his salesmanship, entrepreneurial drive and persistence, but that's just the cover to the story and you can't judge a book by its cover.

Columbus Day Recommended Reading List:
* 1492 The Decline of Medievalism and the Rise of the Modern Age
* Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen
* The Island at the Center of the World, Russell Shorto
* Indian Givers, Jack Weatherford
* Native Roots, Jack Weatherford

These are all available at, as are my book reviews

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