David Barton wins history readers' vote concerning his best-selling book
On July 17, 2012 At 11:35 am
Responses : 5 Comments
Evangelist David Barton, known for his Christian nationalist version of history, just won a history readers' vote conducted by George Mason University's History News Network.
After a week-long poll, his best selling book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believe About Thomas Jefferson came in #1 as "the least credible history book in print."
Among other things, Barton suggests that Jefferson was an orthodox Christian, approved laws providing federal funds to evangelize Indians and helped finance a Bible in 1798 to get the Word of God to America’s families. Conservative commentators such as Glenn Beck have endorsed Barton's book. For Beck, it "really opened his own eyes to America’s true history that so many Americans have never heard before." In promoting the book, the Christian Broadcasting Network wrote, "David reminds us that Jefferson was a remarkable man. When we don’t tell the whole truth, we are blinded by bias."
The poll caught the attention of the New York Times, which wrote:
To many voters the badness of “The Jefferson Lies” — which argues, among other things, that Jefferson in fact saw no need for a wall of separation between church and state — was a truth held to be self-evident. In expert commentary solicited by the network, which is hosted by George Mason University, Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter, the authors of “Getting Jefferson Right,” denounced Mr. Barton’s “distortions,” writing, “As Jefferson did with the Gospels, Barton chooses what he likes about Jefferson and leaves out the rest to create a result more in line with his ideology.”
It's not just "secular" people who take issue with Barton's book. Two Christian professors who teach at a conservative Christian college, Michael Coulter and Warren Throckmorton, recently published In Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President. After extensive fact checking, they concluded that "the reality is often much different than the claim."
A close runner-up was Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.
The poll is still open and Barton's work continues to lead as of this writing: