Howard Zinn

January 27, 2010 at 11:26 pm (Uncategorized)

I don’t think I can let the death of long-time activist and author Howard Zinn pass without comment.

Zinn was a bomber pilot in World war two, but later came to re-examine his actions, and to see the truth beneath them. He was active in the anti-Vietnam movement and most of the important popular struggles since then.

While there’s much to disagree with in Zinn’s leftism, his People’s History of the United States, published in 1980, is a classic of sorts. I remember reading it in the 1980s, and feeling I was being let into a sort of secret alternative world where everything was the same, yet completely the opposite. a world where the losers and the little people of our world get to tell their stories.

For some people, history has been about learning dates or kings and queens; for me, and I suspect for Zinn too, history is about missed possibilities, missed opportunities and the hope that next time, we’ll get in right.

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