Late last summer, the organizers of an annual convention called TechLearn '99 announced that two of the most famous icons of the 1980s would keynote the event. The first was Bill Cosby, one of the decade's most popular entertainers; the second was Michael R. Milken, the "junk bond king" who became a symbol of the decade's greed when he was sentenced to prison for securities fraud. Until recently, Milken's presence on the stage with Cosby would have seemed like a bizarre joke.
Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong, by James W. Loewen. The New Press, 480 pages, $26.95.
In Lies Across America, James Loewen offers 100 short essays, each one discussing an individual monument or historic site and the inaccuracies in its portrayal of the past. He criticizes the way the birthplace of Helen Keller, for example, celebrates her life story as a blandly optimistic account of triumph over adversity and ignores entirely her career as a leading proponent of socialism, feminism, and civil rights.