align="left">Every new driver learns about blind spots; those nasty hidden areas around the car that cannot be seen without turning one's head in their direction. The most dangerous blind spots are the ones that we are not aware of. If this is true..., then the most dangerous educational blind spot has to be the Catholic Church's contribution to the building of Western Civilization.
Rationalist historians, like Lea and Gibbons, over the past few centuries have all but erased the memory of Catholicism's immense contribution to Western Civilization by substituting an unhistorical legend in its place. The Church, according to these legends, not only contributed nothing positive to civilization but it is often depicted as a detriment to human development. This incredibly biased history has become so prevalent that it is part of the "common knowledge" that everybody knows, but no one is really sure how they came to know it. Indeed, this blind spot in our education has been exploited recently by the latest so-called "New Atheist" as a way of denigrating belief in God and especially the Roman Catholic Church.
Fortunately, historians within the last century, both Catholic and non-Catholic, have done some impressive work to uncover the real history behind the founding of Western Civilization. But the dissemination of this information has been slow. Public school textbooks are reticent to include any positive information about Catholicism because it would seem too sectarian or religious. In other words, their dogged commitment to non-sectarianism (except for atheism and agnosticism) has purposely created a blind spot so that even things that are historically true and accurate will not be reported. Moreover, speaking positively about Catholicism in the public square just isn't Politically Correct. Catholic schools are no better. Whether it be because of the fear of sounding triumphalistic or the intellectual laziness of accepting whatever textbooks are available, Catholic schools mostly just parrot public education regardless if it is inaccurate or even it suffers from an anti-Catholic bias.
These blind spots need to be addressed and Dr. Thomas Woods' book, "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" is just the book to begin this process. It is an excellent summary of this cutting-edge historical revisionism that shows the real role Catholicism played in the formation of Western Civilization. His book is detailed and yet very readable. He addresses various areas of advancement in knowledge and development that sprang directly from the Church, but he also shows the connection between Catholicism's application of divine revelation to real-life problems as the nexus that opens the birth of modern society. This last point cannot be overemphasized. The reason why Western Civilization (with all its advancements in science, technology, and art) began and developed in Catholic Europe and not some other culture or geographical area is because the prerequisite presuppositions needed for these developments are embedded in the deposit of the Catholic Faith, and nowhere else (but this is a subject for another book review).
Those on a budget will be glad to hear that Dr. Woods has produced a series on EWTN television based on his book and that it is available for free on the Internet. I have watched several of these episodes and I thought they were very helpful. (The Link is: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7129&T1)
However, if you are like me (i.e., someone who wants the data, dates, sources, and other details) you will want to pick up a copy of this book.
As far as I'm concerned, this book should be on every Catholic (and non-Catholic) bookshelf. If you're homeschooling parents this book will help fill out your history curriculum and also provide much-needed information to fill in those historical blind spots that is so prevalent in our society. If your children go to Catholic school, you still need this book because chances are they're not learning it in the classroom. The fact of the matter is if they don't learn this history at home, it likely will never be learned.
Truth will eventually win out and the new historians' work will eventually displace the non-sense found in much of our education system. But this will not take place overnight, in fact, it probably will not take place during our lifetime. However, we can begin the process of addressing these historical blind spots now and a great place to start is with Dr. Woods' book and television series.