Okay, so I knew in middle school that the version of history I was being taught was a very Americanized version of actual history. I knew it. From day one it just felt wrong. And by middle school, I’d already begun to read on a regular basis, and when I say read I mean read anything I could get my hands on. History of the Umbrella? Sure, I’ll read that. Romance novel? Yep, why not? How about an old textbook, in Yiddish? Okay, I’ll give it a shot.
I first heard about A People’s History of The United States while watching Good Will Hunting. (2:10) But it wasn’t until Sean reached out and said “You should read this,” that I actually stopped what I was doing and headed to the library. (Thanks muchacho.)
This should be standard reading for all Americans. Heck, all people for that matter, at least those with a hankering for American history. A lot of folks want to assume that this book is just doom and gloom, and it sure is a lot easier to NOT read books like and to just swallow the fairy tale being taught in public school, which is mostly “The world is filled with good people and bad people and we are the good people.” Or, “Everyone is corrupt but us.” The best part of this book is that it infuriates the wackos who believe that reality and truth don’t count if they reveal something that makes us look bad. (A lot of people HATED Mr. Zinn for writing this.)
What is particularly satisfying was reading this book NOW. The week that our beloved president faces impeachment while his band of merry pranksters does everything they can to deny and evade. Ten minutes into Zinn’s book and you are reminded once again that the US has been corrupt from day one. Jamestown. Yep, it goes that far back.
It would be so great to be able to blame one party, one group, one philosophy but it’s far more difficult than that because we’ve been corrupt from pretty much every party, every angle and we continue to be although we are taking things to new heights and in the dumbest most lumbering of ways. And remember, I predicted our downfall four years ago and have also said, time and time again, we deserve what is about to happen to us.
But this book is good on several fronts. It will provide an alternative history, through the eyes of the working class as opposed to the conquering forces and the 1%. And it’s dense in all the right ways. At times we need to be bludgeoned with stats and historical data. As a culture, we are insanely lazy so having to grind through pages of stats is like doing four-count burpees in middle school gym class while being directed by a coach who is missing a thumb.
Get it, read it. Buy it and pass it along.
you’re welcome. ‘dense’ is an understatement. ‘must read’ is not.
Amazing book. And I can see why so many people were in a tizzy about it. Anything that shatters the myth. I keep running into people here who say “It wasn’t that bad,” when I talk about what we did to the Native Americans. And, they don’t seem to know it’s still going on.
Did you ever watch The Sopranos? Here is a piece from the WSJ:
When “The Sopranos” took up the issue of Christopher Columbus back in 2002, the episode was widely panned as the series’ worst.
The show features Tony Soprano’s son reading Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” at the breakfast table—and then dismissing Columbus as a “slave trader” to his parents’ irritation. Likewise, members of Tony’s crew learn of a scheduled protest by Native Americans at a local Columbus Day parade, and then go to bust it up. In a discussion with his associates, one of them tells Tony that Columbus was “no better than Adolf Hitler. ” By the end, we have real life: Even the gangsters are divided, and everyone is aggrieved.
Too…well, not funny but you know what I mean. Yes, you can’t question the American myth without being roundly denounced by those who don’t want the truth. They want the fairy tale.
I refer you to a critic of Howard Zinn’s book: https://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/december/wineburg-historiography-zinn-122012.html
Oh ya, I’ve read several horribly negative reviews, but mostly by people who want the fairy tale. A lot of people have, and continue to make their careers and fortunes based on the fairy tale. An educated population is NOT what politicians want. They want people willing to go along.