RIP Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn has died at 87.  The author of the People’s History of the United States.  

Just last week he wrote this in the nation:

One of Professor Zinn’s last public writings was a brief essay, published last week in The Nation, about the first year of the Obama administration.

“I’ve been searching hard for a highlight,” he wrote, adding that he wasn’t disappointed because he never expected a lot from President Obama.

“I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president – which means, in our time, a dangerous president – unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”…

I was surprised to learn that the People’s History sold a million copies.  


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  1. I’m sure this will be covered on Democracy Now tomorrow, as well as Counterpunch and dozens of other places.

    He was 87, a good, long run, so it shouldn’t be a shock, but it still is when we lose someone of this stature.

    Howard was a historian, dedicated activist, a good guy, and a real mensch. His People’s History of the United States was one of my first introductions to an alternative view of history and society.

    If you haven’t already, read some of his interviews or listen to them at the archives of Democracy Now.

    He was one of the best we had.  

    • banger on January 28, 2010 at 15:12

    He changed the focus of American history as did Charles Beard long before him. He researched all the inconvenient facts that made American Exceptionalism intellectually laughable.

    Not that these facts weren’t known but that they were shunted into obscure corners and he brought them out.

    Most importantly, he was a beautiful man.

  2. Here was a comment I left elsewhere:

    Brings tears!

    So sad to see one of the most gentle, brave progressives we have known come to an end. The courage of this wonderful man to speak the truth — endlessly, in the face of whatever adversarial “enemies” as might have confronted him for his forthrightness, cannot and should not be forgotten. Would that we had more like him — SUCH MEN/WOMEN are so needed NOW!

    Fighting tears — truly such a sad moment for us all, IMHO!

    Shalom — may he rest in peace — a friend of us all!

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