David Barton and Glenn may be able to continue broadcasting their silly and misinformed shows about American history, but at least we can be guaranteed of a certain number of critical reviews that expose their shortcomings. Barton’s most recent book about Thomas Jefferson was pulled from store shelves after serious problems with his research methods were revealed. Hopefully, the weight of commentary has helped to steer a few people away from purchasing their products or thinking of them in any way as educators.
As an educator, however, I worry much more about people like Dan Horn and his new series of videos, titled “Causes of the Civil War” which he sells through a website called Discerning History. Horn is “is a writer, tour guide, computer programer and pastor based in North Carolina. He is an elder at Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and has written several books on theology.” He has no credentials in the field of history or history education. Here is what that gets you.
Like many of you who are in the classroom I spend a good deal of time trying to find ways to impart the complexity of slavery and the master-slave relationship to my high school students. Mr. Horn’s understanding of the subject is not only seriously flawed, it’s dangerous. From what I can tell his understanding of the history of slavery is based on books written entirely before 1940. His website looks somewhat professional and the videos themselves will easily seduce those who do not know any better. This is just another reason why the Internet can be both a blessing and a curse.
It should go without saying that a site such as this without any institutional affiliation and hosted by an individual with no formal training in the field should not be utilized as an educational resource.