Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


This work examines how three current eleventh grade U.S. high school history textbooks report on the origins of the “war on terror.” The researcher chose one textbook from each of the three leading publishing houses that supply the high school market: Holt McDougal, Prentice Hall, and McGraw-Hill. The scope of the researcher’s inquiry covers the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the U.S. invasion in 2001. The nomenclature of the “war on terror,” Reagan’s “war on terror,” U.S. support for the Afghan Mujahideen, the Persian Gulf War, and the decision to invade Afghanistan are examined. Interviews with authors William Blum, James Loewen, and Noam Chomsky are also reported. Findings indicate factual errors regarding historical events, as well as numerous omissions of historical context. Such errors and omissions may lead the high school reader to form inaccurate conclusions regarding current U.S. foreign policy regarding terrorism. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the instructor to devote considerable research to this topic so to supplement the inadequacies of the textbook.

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