HNN Poll: What’s the Least Credible History Book?

The History News Network is running a fun, though non-scientific, poll (you can vote below) asking readers to vote for the least credible history books around.

Why yes, one of David Barton’s books is on the list. Why do you ask?

Kidding aside, HNN earlier this month asked readers to submit nominations for the history books they feel are most worthy of being placed in the fiction shelves of the local library. The top five nominees went up on HNN’s website this morning as part of the poll.

Making the list of nominees was Barton’s latest tome, “The Jefferson Lies”; Thomas DiLorenzo’s “The Real Lincoln”; “1421: The Year China Discovered America,” by Gavin Menzies; Bill O’Reilly’s and Martin Dugard’s “Killing Lincoln;” and “A People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn.

Of course, our readers will not be surprised that Texas’ own Barton made the list. We’ve long documented Barton’s unique slant on history, including a thorough review of his “Drive Thru History America” textbook, which you can read here (PDF).

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8 Comments

  1. Breckenridge
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    The religious right must have thought it was a presidential primary and turned out in numbers to vote.

    So Rick Perry says no to Medicaid expansion in Texas. Hmm. If you are a CEO of a publically held company that operates hospitals in Texas do you not have an obligation to shareholders to explore shutting down operations there and heading for greener pastures? After all Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation. This healthcare thing could get really ugly.

  2. Ian Reid
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious. I wonder how many of those who have voted have read the books they are voting about. I’m astonished to find Zinn voted less credible than Barton. What’s up with that?

    • Joe D. Gilliland
      Posted July 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      The high vote for Zinn is also a surprise for me, since I consider it the best introduction to American history there is, and there are a number of very good texts. But none of those will ever be selected by the Texas school book committee.

    • Nate
      Posted July 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t read Barton (in his interviews, I’ve found his premises to be about as well-supported as Alex Jones’, so I’m not very tempted to waste my time), but I’m not that surprised to see Zinn place, personally. Zinn was primarily a political scientist and activist, not a historian steeped in theory and methodology. At his best, he tells the nearly-forgotten stories of non-elites who perhaps ultimately didn’t affect the flow of international events much. But at its worst, “People’s History” reads like a polemic leaning on secondary and tertiary sources.

      Nonetheless, conservatives have a hatred of Zinn that goes well beyond questions of scholarship.

  3. Duane Florschuetz
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I am so surprised that Zinn’s book has so many votes as least credible. I agree with Joe D. that it is the MOST credible and insightful.

    It appears that I was able to vote for Barton’s book as LEAST credible, for sure.

  4. Joe D. Gilliland
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Zinn’s “A People’s History . . .” is the most CREDIBLE history book of them all. I know high school teachers in Arizona, not bound by a state mandated text, who use Zinn in their US History classes and face only the mildest opposition from school administrators.

    Could it be that Arizona, as loony as it is, be more concerned about accuracy and truth than Texas? I graduated from high school in Texas (1943) and the history we got in Corpus Christi was much closer to Zinn’s book than what is attempted now in Texas.

  5. Dwayne
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The voting is rigged. You CAN’T vote for the first option anymore. It appears it has been modified so only the last four options can be selected, but not David’s.

    • Jose
      Posted July 9, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Dwayne,

      It appears you are correct. But you can still pick Barton if you go to the HNN website: http://hnn.us/

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