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The American Textbook Council is an independent national research organization established in 1989 to review history textbooks. Its many publications and reports, from History Textbooks: A Standard and Guide (1994) to Islam in the Classroom (2008), provide authoritative reviews and widely reproduced and quoted commentary.

Since its foundation in 1989, the Council has achieved a prominent place in national exchanges about social studies textbooks and the curriculum. The Council's has issued many reports and textbook evaluations. It makes repeated efforts to educate the nation about the multiculturalism and contain it as a ruling idea in the curriculum. The Council's studies demonstrate that some textbooks are satisfactory and others are not, and they give detailed reasons why. Many of these reports are available on this website at

The Council endorses textbooks that embody vivid narrative style, stress significant people and events, and promote better understanding of all cultures, including our nation’s, on the principle that improved textbooks will advance the curriculum, stimulate student learning, contribute to civic welfare, and encourage educational achievement for children of all backgrounds.

The Council is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) research organization interested in textbook improvement and review. But it has not shrunk from landmark curriculum controversies in California, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and other states and at the national level. The Council figures prominently in national debates about curriculum, multiculturalism, national history standards, world history, history of religion, women's history, textbook accuracy, and moral education. Its work has been featured in many books on contemporary education and culture. But most important, each year, working with hundreds of educators on a one-to-one basis, the Council helps schools make better decisions about the social studies textbooks they use. The Council was active in the creation of an education website,, a project for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Council is not a trade association or commercial enterprise. The Council does not represent textbook publishers or editors. It does not sell textbooks or instructional materials.

American Textbook Council director Gilbert T. Sewall was a history instructor at Phillips Academy and education editor at Newsweek magazine. He has been on the faculties of New York University and Boston University. He was a Kenan Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and Fellow at the National Humanities Center. He is the author of Necessary Lessons: Decline and Renewal in American Schools and the co-author of After Hiroshima: The U.S.A. since 1945. In addition, Sewall is the editor of The Eighties: A Reader. His articles on education have appeared in Fortune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Education Week, and many other publications.

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