Education About Asia: Online Archives

Reasonably Informative, but Downplaying the Ravages of Dictatorship: Recent Pre-Collegiate US Textbook Treatments of Mao Zedong’s Rule

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By Philip F. Williams

Although the 1960s have often enjoyed a reputation for youthful ferment, that decade’s US published pre-collegiate history textbook still focused mostly on Western civilization and American history in particular. Asia east of the Levant seldom entered the picture, except occasionally through a current-events context in social studies courses. While some contemporary back-to-the-basics intellectuals express nostalgia for a simpler era when Euro-American civilization was studied to the virtual exclusion of Asian cultures, most scholars find the contemporary turn to world history a welcome development in the rapidly shrinking global village of today.