The Unfortunate Allure of Howard Zinn

A People’s History of The United States  fails as a serious work of history because it lacks the basics of the scholarly discipline.

It is often presented at a “textbook” by those enthralled with Zinn’s provocations.

It also fails miserably as a text, for it lacks even the slightest pretense of objectivity.

Social media academics(Twitterstorians…seriously?)  pass allegiance to Zinn’s nonsense as the new sense of being “woke.”


The late, great Cornell historian, Michael Kammen summarized Zinn best in 1980:


Zinn’s gravest error of commission is to include too many tedious snippets as well as lengthy quotations from radical historians. Not only does the book read like a scissors-and-paste-pot job, but, even less attractive, so much attention to historians, historiography and historical polemic leaves precious little space for the substance of history….We do deserve a people’s history; but not a single-minded, simpleminded history, too often of fools, knaves and Robin Hoods. We need a judicious people’s history because the people are entitled to have their history whole; not just those parts that will anger or embarrass them.


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