Thursday, January 28, 2010


The great Howard Zinn has passed.

If you only read one book in your life time, it should be “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn, and you should read it at least twice. As a society, we have lost our historical memory, and it makes us fall for the same mistakes over and over. We rely on the powerful, the elite, the victors to supply us with our historical narrative, and without our own historical memory we are left to take their word for it. History cannot be told objectively. You can not be neutral on a moving train. When one claims to be neutral, they really are taking a stance in favor of the status quo.

I was introduced to Zinn in boring 100 level college history class. The professor assigned one chapter from “A People’s History” and a reaction paper. I was so struck by that chapter, I went on and read the book cover to cover, and did not pick up my main text again. I ended up failing that class, because I didn’t hand in any of my papers because I was too busy reading Zinn. The class did not help my GPA, but it shaped who I am.

The book changed me, and is a very important part of who I am today. Howard has his place in history, and it is history that makes us who we are today.

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