For most Americans, the history of the United States is built on a set of long-accepted beliefs about events, each of which resonates in the nation's collective memory. But what if those beliefs-however familiar-don't really tell the whole story? Our knowledge of history-or what we believe to be history-is the lens through which we view and interpret the world. And when that lens is distorted with misleading information, it has powerful effects on how we perceive the present and how we make decisions in the future, from choosing whom to vote for to interpreting the latest developments in today's news and opinion pieces. To take a skeptical approach to American history is not to dabble in imaginative conspiracy theories or doubt the essence of the American experiment; rather, it's to reframe your understanding of this great nation's past and actually strengthen your appreciation for what makes American history such a fascinating chapter in the larger story of Western civilization.