Thursday, January 28, 2010

Leftist 'Historian' Howard Zinn Has Died

Howard Zinn, whose 1980s leftist history textbook A People's History of the United States became an unlikely million seller, has died. He was 87. As his New York Times obit (which you can read HERE) explains, "A People’s History told an openly left-wing story. Professor Zinn accused Christopher Columbus and other explorers of committing genocide, picked apart presidents from Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrated workers, feminists and war resisters."

I can vouch for the accuracy of that characterization.  My high school American history teacher made this book mandatory reading (in addition to a more generic textbook).  It's been over 20 years now since I read it, but my recollection is that, according to Zinn's version of American history, not a single European white male took any action of historical significance that wasn't simultaneously avaricious, racist and genocidal.  (Oh, and misogynistic.) "Jamestown" was just another "Jonestown" to Zinn, is more-or-less how I remember it reading.  His book was, however, my first exposure to many of the more 'complicated' aspects of American history, some of which have now rightfully become accepted parts of our historical narrative.

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