Howard Zinn Book Analysis


(Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1980. Book. II.

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Howard Zinn, an American author, writer, and historian, was born in 1922 and died in 2012. He wrote a book calling for the U. S. withdrawal from Vietnam in 1967 called Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal and was also opposed to the war in Iraq. The few topics Zinn’s work covered included civil rights and anti-war movments.

III. History cannot be understood unless one looks at it from the perspective of the less-fortunate, or the masses.To quote, “The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is” (10). History is often told from the point of view of the winner, and so to get a better understanding of history, one must view it from the point of view of the oppressed. IV. Zinn’s book definitely tells the story from the oppressed—he informs the reader of the conditions of the slaves, the servants, the Indians; he informs the reader of the atrocities and injustice done to them.

The first 5 chapters really made me think about history in a new way. I’d always learned history from the perspective of the winner. To hear the “other side of the story”, as it is, is an eye-opening experience to help me better understand those times. Two facts that stood out to me the most that I’d never known were that Jefferson, despite being an adamant proponent for abolishing slavery, had slaves until the day he died; the other fact was that George Washington once cruelly put down a mutiny by having rebels’ friends shoot them.In this book, I learned that when history is told from the winner’s point of view, the bad and unjust motives are told but quickly covered up in an effort to make the winner seem like a glowing knight. However, when told from the loser’s point of view, the truth can be seen clearly about the actions of the winner.

This book is eye-opening and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves history.