Greetings all – I recently conducted an informal poll on the usual social media sites asking for your general thoughts on Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. I asked because I am assigning it to my 10th grade advanced US history students next year as a counterpoint to more traditional history texts typical in advanced studies in the classroom. If you haven’t already come clean on Zinn elsewhere, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. So far, the (near) consensus is that the book is useful but not particularly great.
I tend to agree – Zinn’s obvious and admitted bias boarders on polemics. But such one-sided disputation notwithstanding, I think it is important that students become familiar with Zinn’s position. At the very least, the readings should both challenge students and inspire some lively debate. And, to Zinn’s credit, his work avoids top-loaded esoteric language and dense academic nitwittery. It is a very accessible book…written about regular people for, I suppose, regular people. For this, I applaud him.