A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is his best known and best selling book, having sold 400,000 copies to date. It?s basically an alternative ‘history from below’ of the US. Howard Zinn has written numerous other books, and Mat Damon and a couple of other famous Hollywood types from Goodwill Hunting are currently negotiating with Fox to make a 12 part TV series based on a People’s History Of The United States?book.
He is probably the best known historian in the US. In terms of his sales potential: in the book trade he outsells Noam Chomsky by a factor of something like 5-1. His notion of ‘people’s history’ is one which recovers the stories of rebellion, resistance and revolution usually censored from mainstream history. He taught during the 50’s and 60’s at Spellman College in Atlanta where he pushed his students (like Alice Walker) into leadership roles in the civil rights movement. He has taught at Boston College for the last 25 years.
His appeal is similar to Noam Chomsky or Studs Terkel–students, lefties and former lefties, people who know that something wasn’t told to them and want to know what it was. What Chomsky does for international politics, Zinn does for US history.
A scintillating lecture and discussion by the legendary teacher, historian and activist. Here Zinn explains with great humor and passion how his teaching, his history and his activism are parts of the same project. The recovery of the stories of social movements–labor, civil rights, feminists, anti-war–are usually left out or grossly distorted in mainstream history writing. The efforts of Zinn and others to recover and pass on those stories offers to their students, to their readers and to us, models, ideas, inspirations for how and why we might go about challenging and changing the structures of power.
In the last couple of years he has published YOU CAN’T BE NEUTRAL ON A MOVING TRAIN (a memoir) and THE ZINN READER a collection of his famous essays.