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‘1619 Project’ Book, Panned By Historians, Hits Amazon’s Bestseller List

 An expanded book of The New York Times “1619 Project” is already on top of Amazon’s bestseller list before it has been released.

The book, based on the project led by The New York Times staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, is set to come out Tuesday. The book landed on bestseller lists on Amazon, the world’s largest book retailer, over the weekend as Hannah-Jones travels across the U.S. promoting the book for libraries and schools. As the Associated Press reported:

“The 1619 Project” book already has reached the top 100 on the bestseller lists of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Online seller Bookshop.org has set up a partnership with the publisher One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House, for independent stores such as Reverie Books to donate copies to local libraries, schools, book banks and other local organizations.

Hannah-Jones’ promotional tour is a mix of bookstores and performing venues, and at least one very personal journey. She will make appearances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Free Library of Philadelphia. She will visit Waterloo West High School in her home state of Iowa, partner with Loyalty Bookstore and Mahogany Books for an event at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington and attend the Chicago Humanities Festival.

She also will speak at the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English. Lynsey Burkins, who leads the council’s Build Your Stack initiative, which helps teachers build their classroom libraries, says it was important to reflect a diversity of experiences in the classroom texts.

The ”1619 Project” was an effort to reframe Americans history and the founding of the United States away from the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to the arrival of the first slave ship on U.S. shores in 1619. The project has been one of the principle examples of a recent strain of progressive academic theory known as Critical Race Theory.

The project itself was widely panned by historians who alleged that the “1619 Project” lacked nuance and left out much necessary context over the United States past struggle with slavery.

“I was disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account, which lacked context and perspective on the complexity of slavery, which was clearly, obviously, not an exclusively American institution, but existed throughout history,” Pulitzer-Prize winning author James McPherson, professor emeritus of history at Princeton University, said of the “1619 Project.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gordon Wood, professor emeritus at Brown University, said:

I read the first essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones, which alleges that the Revolution occurred primarily because of the Americans’ desire to save their slaves. She claims the British were on the warpath against the slave trade and slavery and that rebellion was the only hope for American slavery. This made the American Revolution out to be like the Civil War, where the South seceded to save and protect slavery, and that the Americans 70 years earlier revolted to protect their institution of slavery. I just couldn’t believe this.

I was surprised, as many other people were, by the scope of this thing, especially since it’s going to become the basis for high school education and has the authority of the New York Times behind it, and yet it is so wrong in so many ways.

James Oakes, Distinguished Professor of History and Graduate School Humanities Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, slammed two of the project’s central claims: that racism is an uniquely American “sin” and slavery is built into the “DNA” of the United States.

“These are really dangerous tropes. They’re not only ahistorical, they’re actually anti-historical,” he said.

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