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History as Mystery - Michael Parenti

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Published: 1st January 2001
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Essays on how history's victors distort and suppress the documentary record in order to perpetuate their power and privilege, and how historians are influenced by the professional and class environment in which they work.

"Michael Parenti, always provocative and eloquent, gives us a lively as well as valuable critique of orthodoxy posing as 'history.'"--Howard Zinn

"Solid if surely controversial stuff."--"Kirkus"

Table of Contents

Prologue: Against the Mainstream
History as Miseducation
Mainstream Orthodoxy
The Hunt for Real History
Textbooks: America the Beautiful
For Business, Against Labor
The School as a Tool
Priests and Pagans, Saints and Slaves
Triumph of the One True Faith
Silencing the Pagans
Accepting the Powers that Be
Affluent Believers
Saints For Slavery
Bishops and Barbarians, Jezebels and Jews
The Myth of the Devout Peasant
The Curse of Eve
The Burning of Books
Preparing the Holocaust
History in the Faking
Suppression at the Point of Origin
Cold War in the Archives
Classified History, USA
Listening to the Muted Masses
In Ranke's Footsteps
His Majesty's Servant
An Aristocratic Profession'
Purging the Reds
Publishing and Privishing'
Marketing the Right Stuff
The Strange Death of President Zachary
Taylor, a Study in the Manufacture of
Mainstream History
Examining the Examination
Confrontation with the Slavocracy
A lethal Dose of Cherries and Milk?
Honorable Men and Official History
Against Psychopolitics
Depoliticizing the Political
Dubious Clinical Data
Lenin as Oedipus
The Compulsive Hoover
The Political Hoover
When the Political Becomes Personal
Afterword

A somewhat scattered but well-considered manifesto for a history that serves as a weapon "in the age-old war for our intellectual emancipation." A quarter of college seniors cannot come within 50 years of pinpointing Columbus's arrival in America; 40 percent cannot give the dates of the Civil War; most cannot distinguish WWI from WWII, except to guess that one preceded the other. Small wonder, says left-wing historian Parenti (Dirty Truths, 1996, etc.), for most written history is "an ideologically safe commodity" that serves the interests of the ruling class - and that in any event is generally pretty uninteresting fare. At points in this collection of essays, Parenti examines the nature of American history textbooks, which, he believes, ignore or undervalue the contributions of ethnic minorities, women, and labor; considers the influence of Christianity on European culture, a tradition, he argues, that is replete with misogyny, anti-Semitism, and book-burning; and generally offers assessments of the nation's past that would give Lynne Cheney and William Bennett fits. Opponents of left-wing points of view will immediately dismiss Parenti's arguments as more liberal breast-beating; proponents of those points of view will likely admire this book, which suffers only from a tendency to repeat attention-getting slogans on matters of racism, sexism, and classism. Historically minded readers on the left and right alike will find Parenti's account of the 1991 exhumation of President Zachary Taylor - who, some scholars have suspected, was assassinated by poisoning - to be of much interest. Parenti takes issue with the conclusions of that long-after-the-fact inquest, writing that "the chief medical examiner's investigation pretended to a precision and thoroughness it never attained," while the media "eagerly cloaked the inquest with an undeserved conclusiveness." Solid if surely controversial stuff. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780872863576
ISBN-10: 0872863573
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st January 2001
Publisher: City Lights Books
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.0  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.35