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ERIC Number: EJ987829
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0889-0293
Remembering Zinn: Confessions of a Radical Historian
Snodgrass, Michael
International Journal of Social Education, v24 n1 p33-38 Spr-Sum 2009
Professor Howard Zinn was arguably America's best-known historian, despite the dismissive if not caustic response his book, "A People's History of the United States," elicited from historians. In Zinn's narrative the protagonists of history are "blacks, Indians, women, and working people of all kinds ... ordinary people trying to make a better world, or just trying to survive" (Zinn 1995, 583). Today, thanks in some certain part to Zinn's success, nearly all college history texts integrate previously unsung workers, immigrants, dissenters, or reformers into their narratives. The author learned of Howard Zinn's passing while listening to National Public Radio. Among those interviewed in a brief remembrance were Noam Chomsky and the "conservative pundit" David Horowitz, who once labeled Zinn as one of "the most dangerous academics in America." Zinn, one suspects, would have taken pride in the designation. Upon revisiting "A People's History" 20 years after his first read, the author is reminded just why its appeal remains so powerful and enduring. Zinn's straightforward prose and gripping narratives contrast mightily with typical history textbooks. Rather than offer a comprehensive account of every political, social, or economic development in American history, Zinn chronicles the more shameful moments and heroic struggles about which most Americans remain unfamiliar. His lesson to readers was straightforward and profound: to understand the dangers inherent to seeking out elite saviors to solve a nation's ills. (Contains 1 note.)
International Journal of Social Education. Ball State University, Department of History, Muncie, IN 47306. Tel: 765-285-8700; Fax: 765-285-5612; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: High Schools; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States