Y? Why NOT?!? (An Introduction)

Some years ago I read a book called Lies my Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen. It truly is a spectacular book, and I'd recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in history. It was about the surprisingly large number of things people get wrong about history on a daily basis, and why and how textbook publishers and our educational system are to blame.

I was recently handed a project at work - one of those little "Educational Trivia" kinds of books for kids. This one is like a page-a-day thing, but for U.S. states. Each state has a page that lists things like the state motto, state bird, state capital, etc. There's also a bit of trivia regarding famous people or events related to the state in some way. I'm sure you've seen things like this at book stores or tourist stops (or even at Cracker Barrel or Stuckey's shops) around the country.

Now, I don't write or research any of the things we produce where I work, I just archive and tweak files, and do some light design. I'm pretty much just a file-monkey. Nevertheless, when this thing came across my desk - with the instruction to make one specific edit to it for a reprint - I couldn't help but thumb through it. I was astonished to see that there was an error right on the very first page! It was one of those little factoids that people quote all the time because it's a very common misconception that everyone thinks is true, but is, in point of fact, not a fact.

I was told just to make the edit that was indicated and move on.

This hurt my very soul.

The idea of publishing anything that purports to contain historically verifiable truths, but which contains a known error goes against everything in which I believe. But, dammit, if I don't need the paycheck. And, of course, editing isn't part of my job, so I'm not technically responsible. Still, it leaves me feeling like one of the guys at Nuremberg trying to use the "just following orders" excuse. Not that a kids' trivia book is on the order of the holocaust, or anything - it just feels wrong, is all.

So, my solution? How do I alleviate my pain? With this page.

On this page I plan on explaining facts about history. There will be no "old wives' tales", legends, myths, or commonly-held misconceptions here: only Historically Verified Truth.

There will be general types features here:
     1) Narrative History - These will tell the tale of U.S. History from the
          colonial period to to-day.
     2) State Pages - These will be similar to the pages of the book I
          mentioned above, but different.
     3) Topic Essays - More in-depth discussion on particular topics
          in American History.

I haven't set myself a schedule or anything, but I plan on putting something up here at least every couple of weeks or so.

Welcome, Dear Reader, to American History Y.