History textbooks tend to reflect the perspectives and stereotypes that one culture or nation has concerning another. Historical events are interpreted, either deliberately or inadvertently, to favour the country, culture or language-system for which such books are intended, often to the disadvantage of other cultures. Such bias or inaccuracy reinforces stereotypes and aggravates tensions between cultures, ethnic groups and nations.
Since the late nineteenth century, practically all of the books written about the history of the USA are openly biased and extremely narrow in their historical range. Many barely mention the Spanish exploration of South and North America and jump right to the arrival of the English in Jamestown. The Indians are often referred to as "savages" who had to be removed in order to make way for civilization. Some books took a tolerant view of slavery, portraying Reconstruction as a time of black corruption and disorder, and praising the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Even the books that take a clear stand against slavery, the slaughter of American Indians, or the exclusion of women from public life rarely allow members of those groups to speak for themselves. By the 1990s concerns about political correctness along with the demand for shorter texts combined to produce thin and distorted versions of history that in their one-sidedness are mirror opposites of the old racist texts.