Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn, Rest in Peace

Common Dreams, one of the leftie sites I follow, brings us news of the great revisionist historian's passing in the form of two remembrances, by Peter Rothberg and Elizabeth DiNovella — Goodbye Howard Zinn and Remembering Howard Zinn.

It took me more than a decade to finally get around to reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, with its cartoonish juxtaposition of the Noble savage of the Americas with the "Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money" on the first page. After finally reading it, I found much of value in the book, even if I had to hold my nose from time to time.

At times he comes across, like fellow traveller Noam Chomsky, as a "big government anarchist," but, like the M.I.T. Linguistics professor, he's at his best when writing about foreign policy. He makes it clear, without chanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!," that he loves his country and countrymen, just not its rulers, seen and unseen.

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Anonymous ben said...

Zinn may love his country, but it is pretty clear that he hates the Church.

nonetheless, charity demands we pray for the repose of his soul.

2:43 AM  
Anonymous Walt C said...

While were on the subject of the settlement of the Americas, is anyone here familiar with Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor? It looked like an interesting read about the history of the American Indian tribes and the US gov't. It was wriiten in the 1800's.

4:42 AM  
Anonymous Oarwell said...

In threes--Salinger, Auchincloss, Zinn.

Nice Auchincloss quote in the Times: “Like most children of affluence,” he said in his 1974 autobiography, “A Writer’s Capital,” “I grew up with a distinct sense that my parents were only tolerably well off. This is because children always compare their families with wealthier ones, never with poorer. I thought I knew perfectly well what it meant to be rich in New York. If you were rich, you lived in a house with a pompous beaux-arts facade and kept a butler and gave children’s parties with spun sugar on the ice cream and little cups of real silver as game prizes. If you were not rich you lived in a brownstone with Irish maids who never called you Master Louis and parents who hollered up and down the stairs instead of ringing bells.”

7:19 AM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.