Vin Patel AP US History Howard Zinn A People’s History of the United Sates Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States has been a moving and influential book till its first publication date in 1980. It has told the story of the conquers, the leaders, and the rulers but also the hardship of the enslaved, the oppressed, and the led. Like one of his famous quotes say “ There is an underside to every age about which history does not often speak, because history is written from records left by the privileged”.
Like any US history book, this covers a time period from 1492 to 1760. But what’s different about Zinn’s book is that not only does he cover that time period but also comes all the way up to early 2000’s and even foreshadowing the future from events that have happened in the past. The reason why his books became so popular is because it spawned adoptions of younger readers by giving not the history “ left by the privileged” but by the history left from enslaving blacks, annihilating or displacing Indians, feminist upsurge, and more of the oppressed.
This type of history was better known as an alternate history or the history from below. For example one of the first things he talks about is “ Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress” (10). Other history books would take the perspective of Christopher Columbus but Mr. Zinn, on the other hand, took the position of the Indians. This really gave a better look on what really took place when these two cultures from opposite sides of the globe met. Even after, doing all the research to write from another perspective, Mr. Zinn did not lose any sense of his historical nature.
In the end, he never changed only of the historical events that took place but just told them in a different perspective. Like with the Indians, they were all eventually conquered, but they way he got there is why so many readers from all ages are so interested in his work. Also not only this but he also go out on a limb to talk about things that are yet to occur. For example as in chapter 23 The Coming Revolt of the Guards, he explains that one of the biggest wrongs in American history is committed by people right here “ in our own backyards” (635).
According to him, because of these wrongs, there is a revolt yet to come. In my personal opinion, I feel like I really enjoyed reading A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. He was a great author, from organizing his thoughts to a timeline, and researching deep into history to find things so many others have missed. In the end, he had his own way of telling things from all the wars, defeats, and victories, of the United States. What I got from this book is not only a better understanding of the history but also that people should understand the wrongs done in the past and learn from them in the future.