Paul Boyer: Defends dropping of Merle & Curti names from the textbook they wrote and he revised





One of the most frequently used high school history texts is “Holt the American Nation,” first published in 1950 as “Rise of the American Nation” and written by Lewis Paul Todd and Merle Curti. For each edition, the book appeared with new material, long after one author had died and the other was in a nursing home. Eventually, the text was reissued as the work of another historian, Paul S. Boyer.

Professor Boyer, emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, acknowledged that the original authors had supplied the structure of the book that carries his name. But he said that as he revises the text, he adds new scholarship, themes and interpretations. He defended the disappearance of the original authors’ names from the book, saying it would be more misleading to carry their names when they had no say in current editions.

“Textbooks are hardly the same as the Iliad or Beowulf,” he added.



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