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Book News: Hippies Were Dirty And Liked Music By Satanists, Louisiana Textbook Claims

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • An American history textbook used by some schools in Louisiana's voucher system has caused a bit of a stir over passages describing 1960s counterculture. America: Land I Love teaches eight graders that during the '60s, "Many young people turned to drugs and immoral lifestyles; these youth became known as hippies. They went without bathing, wore dirty, ragged, unconventional clothing, and deliberately broke all codes of politeness or manners... Many of the rock musicians they followed belonged to Eastern religious cults or practiced Satan worship." This is only the latest outcry over textbooks used in Louisiana voucher schools. Other textbooks claim that "[t]he majority of slave holders treated their slaves well" and "[d]inosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years."
  • "I don't think I'm particularly good at research. For better or worse, I write about myself," says Sarah Manguso, author of The Guardians, in an interview with Guernica.
  • Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is writing a book called A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas, according to The Associated Press. In a statement, Palin says, "This will be a fun, festive, thought provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas." The book is slated to come out in November. There's still no word on the Palin family's fitness book we were promised last year.
  • In n+1, Rachel Aviv writes about Princeton psychologist Julian Jaynes, who used The Iliad and The Odyssey to trace the origins of human consciousness: "Drawing on evidence from neurology, archaeology, art history, theology, and Greek poetry, Jaynes captured the experience of modern consciousness — 'a whole kingdom where each of us reigns reclusively alone, questioning what we will, commanding what we can' — as sensitively and tragically as any great novelist."
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