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Would you use a History textbook from 1974?


frugalmamatx
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Just wondering. The book in question is Texas and Texans, and would be our main spine for a year of Texas history. I know there is a newer edition out there, but not sure if the material has changed enough to warrant buying the new when I already have this on my shelves. Can't find a copy locally to check the differences. 

 

I would spend a few weeks at the end covering modern Texas History, of course.. 

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I would check on language, particularly things that would now be considered racially or socially insensative. I have a feeling that the founding history if Texas has not changed a whole lot.

 

The only other part that might be different is the level of Nationalism and rah! rah! America. That sort of stuff drives me personally crazy. With the social movements happening in America at that time period, it might be pretty thick.

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We used a text from the late sixties for our state history last year. It is just one we had picked up from a book sale somewhere. My dh has a big collection of those that he just likes to read from before we even had kids. So I never know what I can find in his old stuff. I have seen this particular one still on shelf at the library too when looking for other state history books. 

 

It definitely had the language issues. It used terms that aren't acceptable now. I didn't use it as our main text. But for certain times in history it was actually very precise in what it taught vs. what I could find on library shelves in books aimed at my kids' ages. Ours was a college level I think. So I used it for specific info on battles and things that aren't that in depth in books for teen's books. And it saved me having to buy an expensive new text that wouldn't have been as thorough, since I wasn't going to shell out for a college text. So yes I used it, but it was in conjunction with a lot of other books. Certain chapter we used in full. Other topics were covered by many other things more readily from library shelves and field trips.

 

I wouldn't have used that particular book as our main spine. But it was a useful addition.

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We used The Golden Book of the American Revolution (1958) and Golden Book of the Civil War (1961) last year. They weren't the only books on the topics we used and we discussed as we went. Personally I liked their non-sugarcoated approach better than most modern books aimed at the same ages.

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I've been thinking about this last night and this morning.

 

What makes us think what we are teaching now is "right"? Why do we think we are "right" now? How do we know in 10 or 20 years that the next educators are not going to think that ONE thing is these current books is SO reprehensible that ALL early 2000 books need to be skipped?

 

Christianity claims that man is a worm or something like that. That he is just a nasty creature. I didn't understand that back when I was a Christian, but now I do. Histories are pieces of art that reflect their creators more than what they represent. If man is inherently evil, his creations will contain evil. The flavor of evil might change with the times, but does it matter what poison is used? Is out of fashion evil/poison more evil that currently fashionable evil/poison or just more noticeable?

 

Which is the most dangerous? Is blending in with current evil, instead of committing past evil a worthy goal? Is it a goal worth spending money to accomplish? Does only reading the books of ones current period make one most vulnerable to the condoned sins of their time? A student reared on only current books who grows up to write a book is maybe most likely to write a book that will be labeled as taboo by future people?

 

What if we had a time machine that made traveling to the past like traveling to another country? Would it be "racist" to lump a whole culture and all its books as so evil as to be untouchable? What would we call that practice? Would we think it wrong? How is it different than an extreme form of racism?

Edited by Hunter
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Domestic abuse is all about isolation. When a person is isolated from input other than what the abuser brings to him/her, the victim begins to only believe what the abuser wants and forms a bond so close with the abuser it distorts his/her ability to see the faults of the abuser.

 

Isn't only reading modern books isolating?

 

Of course an abuser is sometimes shielding a victim from other abusers. Humans often abuse. Abuse of all kinds is common. But is it still better not to be isolated? Is a variety of abuse better than just one? Maybe not. I don't know. There is so much I do not know anymore. The more I learn, the less I know. Humans and the world just make less and less sense to me.

 

Sometimes I think I should have just stayed in the abuse, and have been even more isolated than I was. I would have believed just one messed up belief system and believed it. Maybe that would have been less confusing and more peaceful as a whole. Maybe all I said above is wrong. Maybe it is more peaceful to just wallow in post Y2K books, if you can afford them, and not think about all this stuff.

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I just picked up a Times History of the US book from a series published in the mid 60's. It was the last of the series: From 1945-"present." I have another book of this type - written very close to the events. I love that it is so detailed & goes into a lot of history that I didn't know occurred because I'd always read survey books. It is really interesting to get the slant on events that happened really close to when the book was written and compare it to later books.

 

At the middle school & up levels, I encourage comparisons between viewpoints, discussion on differences of opinion, and the overall 'bias' topic. So, I don't see anything wrong with using an older text, especially if you will be discussing & reading right along with your kids.

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I think it's okay, but you need to be reading it along with them and discussing things that have changed or that might be objectionable.  We actually used a lot of old textbooks.  I loved doing that, and we got into some really good discussions!

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