“And the lonely voice of youth cries ‘What is truth?’”:
Western History and the National Narrative

John Mack Faragher

A couple of years ago, I got a call from my oldest grandson, Jeremy. He was beginning middle school and taking his first class devoted to American history. For their initial homework assignment the teacher asked the students to speak with an older relative about their view of the American past and report on what he or she said. When Jeremy mentioned that two of his grandfathers were history professors (a complete coincidence, by the way), the teacher asked him to interview both of us. “Here’s the question, grandpa,” Jeremy said. “What does the United States of America mean to you as a historian?”

“Wow,” I stammered, “that’s big. Can you give me a little more direction?” I was stalling. “I can tell you what Grandpa Lou said,” Jeremy offered. “That would help,” I replied, grateful for a few moments to gather my wits. “He thought about it for a... Click here to read more

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