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.