Opinion

Peter d'Errico: Another book turns a blind eye to American history






Theodore Roosevelt, who once said “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every 10 are,” according to Indian Country Media Network, is seen on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Photo: Kurt Magoon

Why do some historians gloss over genocide, colonization and other tough issues? Retired professor Peter d'Errico finds some common problems in his review of The True Flag by author Stephen Kinzer:
Stephen Kinzer’s new book, The True Flag, suffers from an alarming fault among historical writers: blindness to history.

The book’s subtitle—Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire—demonstrates the blindness: the American Empire was born more than 200 years before the era of Roosevelt and Twain. Kinzer’s subjects were protagonists in the expansion of the American Empire, not its birth. Kinzer’s unacknowledged truncation of U.S. history mars what would otherwise be a good book; as we shall see, it also prevents him from coming to a useful conclusion and a happy end.

I have reviewed other books by well-known historians who exhibit blindness to history: One claimed the attempted extermination of American Indians cannot be considered genocide because some Indians survived; two claimed the Indian wars were not intended to wipe out the Indians, despite evidence to the contrary.

Read More on the Story:
Peter d'Errico: American Imperialism: America was Never Innocent (Indian Country Media Network 3/31)