They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Historians Find Myriad Errors In VA History Textbooks


Heinemann added that the book "should be withdrawn from the classroom immediately, or at least by the end of the year."

Five Ponds Press, a small publisher in Connecticut, is responsible for the books in question. The Post reports that the publisher e-mailed to say the "historians' critiques," as the Post put it, will be included in the books' next printing.

The Post first reported the errors back in October. The author, Joy Masoff, defended her work, telling the Post, "As controversial as it is, I stand by what I write. I am a fairly respected writer." But when it came to one of the Civil War's most controversial themes -- the role of African Americans in the Confederacy -- she relied primarily on an Internet search, according to the report. And the results were based on the work of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a neo-confederate group based in Tennessee.

Masoff's other literary achievements include "Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty" and "Oh Yikes! History's Grossest Moments."

Virginia's Department of Education requires textbooks to fulfill certain "Standards of Learning" goals, including making sure history standards provide "a basic knowledge of American culture through a chronological survey of major issues, movements, peoples, and events in the United States and Virginia history."

The state's Standards of Learning disqualifies many textbooks produced for a national market from being used, leaving Five Ponds Press in a unique position of providing several books for the state. Five Ponds' books are reportedly less expensive than its competitors, too.

About The Author


David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at