A Question About National Lampoon's "Highschool Yearbook"

I still have my dogeared copy-still good for laughs. In any event, the US History text mentioned (“The American Spectacle”) lists as its authors “Krock and Loon” :). I remember that my HS textbooks were like this-they were not (usually) authored by distinguished historians, but rather, by obscure “professors” at some 3rd-rate college in the Midwest. Was that your recollection too? Why do schools buy such mediocre texts?

Because they’re cheap?

Because they’re LCD?

Because **real **historians spend their time doing research and publishing obscure monographs?

Here’s some information about the authorship of high school history textbooks:

The questions at the end of the chapter really lived up to the authors’ names:

[li]If the Indians had had the atomic bomb, do you think they would have used it? Would you?[/li]
[li]Brainteaser: What do you believe would have been the outcome of the Revolutionary War if George Washington had been born a horse?[/li][/ul]

My favorite part was where immigrants, primarily Finns and Poles who were lured by tales of a wonderous land where warm woolen socks grew wild on bushes,* served as ballast for ships crossing the Atlantic. :smiley:

I remember the **real **textbook I had in eighth grade (1968–1969) said (to the best of my recollection) that “To be sure, the Native Americans did contribute to civilization, mainly through the introduction of certain food items and words into English. Primarily, however, they served to hinder the expansion of American borders.” :eek:

*The description I always use now when describing the United States to foreigners. :o

I was initially prompted to have a vent about the highly decentralised and atomised US educational system also playing a part, as when creationists take over local school boards and then select texts in biology that try to contest evolution either openly or through means such as ‘balance’.

But, then I thought of the highly centralised and national structures like in Japan, where there are still problemswith obtaining accurate coverage of its less than ethically stellar behaviour during WWII in its history text books.

Krock and Loon could have played their cards right and been international best-sellers.

I always liked the preface to the new edition…where they justified the new edition because they needed the money (and the previous edition said Columbus landed in 1892).:smiley:

Distinguished professors write college-level textbooks. When I took AP history we used Morrison & Commager’s two-volume Rise of the American Republic. It opened my eyes to all the ludicrous simplifications and chauvinism in my high school texts and gave me a love of history that lead to my being a historian.

And that’s why distinguished professors don’t usually write high school-level textbooks. They don’t want to go through the process that makes textbooks acceptable to school boards, nor do they have to.

There’s also far more prestige to writing college texts. And the money is probably greater. True, a state or city buys a lot of textbooks. But they also keep the same ones year after year and colleges can require every class to buy them. Paul Samuelson’s Economics textbook made him literal millions.

Crock and Loon also had a passage speculating on events that would have resulted in Swedish immigrants being the majority in America. Addressing the reader, they suggested how things that would be different: “… and your name would sound like a punctured concertina”.

I remember an essay in a real textbook (from my grade school in West Virginia in the mid-60’s): “Slavery - Good or Evil?”

Back in the '80s, a husband-and-wife team (honest-to-God old hippies) in my college’s History faculty published a high school textbook that basically presented all of their personal opinions with virtually no corroboration. (“Evidence? Who needs evidence? This is a high school text!”)

It was a hoot and a holler!

It was also, as we say in the trade, “profusely illustrated” and made “creative use of white space.” :rolleyes:

Loved the cover.

I loved the National Lampoon radio show, which dramatized events from the same high school.

And, yeah, the cover!

(EW! My keyboard! The Mad Crapper has struck again! GROSS!)

Hugh G Rection? :dubious: