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Gregorys previous book, Stupid History ws so much fun to nitpick that when I saw this one listed as free on KindleIQ I decided to pick it up. To his credit, Gregorys research has improved so there are far fewer falsehoods, and he even cites sources occasionally. However, the number of errors in the book remains attrocious.* He claims the phrase a more perfect union is bad grammar since nothing can be better than perfect, ignoring the obvious interpretation of the phrase as closer to perfect, which has been obvious to people for about 225 years now.* He claims the Battle of New Orleans was pointless since it took place after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, and Andrew Jacksons subsequent use of the battle to bolster his reputation was thus dishonest. Never mind that Jackson had no way of knowing what was happening at Ghent, as Daniel Walker Howe points out in What Hath God Wrought, if the Brits had secured New Orleans, giving them effective control of all trade flowing out of the Mississippi basin, the treaty wouldntve mattered.* He claims that Dr. Spock was never jailed for his anti-Vietnam views, then says that Spock was arrested and convicted of telling young men how to avoid the draft, though the conviction was thrown out on appeal. So in that process, he never set foot in a jail cell?* We are led to believe, in our abbreviaed versions of history, that all slave-holding state seceded from the Union during the Civil War, or else they gave up the practice of slavery. But thats just not true. Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware remained in th Union but continued to allow citizens to own slaves.... [They] were joined by West Virginia when it was admitted to the Union in 1863. Several problems here. While its true Kentucky and Missouri remained in the Union, they also seceded -- both states had rival governments throughout the war, with delegations to the congresses in both Washington and Richmond. Maryland and West Virginia both abolished slavery on their own before the ratification of the 13th Amendment. The only slave state that didnt secede and didnt give up slavery on its own was Delaware, which had only a few hundred slaves in its territory. Gregory goes on to say that this demonstrates that the Civil War was anything but black and white, showing sympathy, as he did in Stupid History, with the Lost Causers who seek to portray the Civil War as about issues besides slavery.* He repeats the erroneous etymology of red light district, stemming from railway workers who would hand red lanterns in front of whorehouss so they could be found in case of emergency.* Claims that Francis Scott Key didnt write the Star Spangled Banner -- he wrot The Defense of Fort McHenry, which was excerpted for the Star Spangled Banner. The difference is?* Claims that America didnt have taxes until the Civil War. No, we didnt have a Federal income tax. There are of course many other types of taxes. What does he think the Whiskey Rebellion was about?* Claims that Jimmy Carter was the first Southerner elected to the presidency followng the Civil War. No, that would be Woodrow Wilson who actually grew up in the Confederacy in a slave-owning family. Wilson was followed by Truman from Missouri and LBJ from Texas.* Defines revisionists as people who want to rewrite history to make it more politically correct. No, revisionism is the process of reevaluating history as more information become available. For example, the history of the Cuban Missile Crisis has been significantly revised in the last twenty years thanks to newly declassified documents from both the US and Soviet Union. Weve discovered that, far from the original narrative of Kennedy staring down Kruschev, they reached an accomodation, whereby the US agreed to remove IRBMs from Turkey and to never attempt another invasion of Cuba. This is factual correctness, not political. It is true revisionism is sometimes used pejoratively to describe politically motivated reconsiderations, but such are as likely to be used for non-PC purposes, such as claiming the Civil War wasnt about slavery.* Julia Ward Howe sold her poem, Battle Hymn of the Republic, which was later set to music, to the Atlantic Monthly in 1862 for $5. No, she wrote the lyrics specifically for the music. The tune was a popular spiritual in the years leading up to the Civil War. At the start of the conflict, soldiers set new lyrics, known as John Browns Body, to the tune. These lyrics were extremely coarse (John Browns body is mouldering in the grave), and Howe disliked them, so she penned new religiously-themed words for the song. Why Gregory would go for a mundane piece of trivia when the full story is more interesting, I cant imagine.* While claiming Henry Ford didnt invent the automobile, he points to various attempts at creating steampowered cars, which he notes didnt work. He never mentions the people who actually did invent the internal combustion engine.* He makes the horrors of Andersonville sound like mere mismanagement.* Discusses the fact that Alvin York tried to get out of the army as a conscientious objector. But the only reason anyone remembers York these days is because of the Howard Hawks film, which uses that as a primary element of the story. Why is Gregory mentioning this in a compendium of supposedly little-known facts?* Claims that a Samuel Slater was, in addition to the founder of the American industrial revolution, created child labor. But child labor has been around since time immemorial. The reason people used to have so many children wasnt just the lack of condoms -- kids could be used to lessen the workload of the parents.* He mentions Victor Bergers attempt to abolish the Senate but fails to note any of the more interesting facts of his life.* Claims that no sitting President has lost a reelecton campaign in time of war. Only true if you dont count LBJ dropping out of the primary once he realized he couldnt win.* The crown jewel of Gregorys shoddy research -- he claims that when the Titanic struck the iceberg, passengers were watching a D.W. Griffith film called The Poseidon Adventure. No such film exists. The Poseidon Adventure was a 1969 novel first filmed in 1972, 60 years after the Titanic sank. He appears to have gotten his facts from this Snopes page, but failed to check the references, which leads to this page which explains the story was made up by Snopes to demonstrate the importance of checking sources instead of reflexively believing everything you read. Heh.

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