Howard Zinn’s People’s History, first published in 1980, is a story of America through the lens of the oppressed. It’s a rethinking of history, a narrative you almost certainly didn’t read in school. From Columbus’ voyage to President Bush’s “war on terror” (he revised the book in 2003), Zinn writes through the writings of others: factory workers, union leaders, blacks, Native Americans, the men who went off to war and the women who took their places. While Zinn’s recurring focus on the labor movement is often criticized, it’s important to note he wasn’t simply a historian. He was a social activist who fought for those without a voice. Zinn’s history isn’t a textbook and sometimes doesn’t even feel like a history book. It’s just a brilliantly written story about the U.S. through the lives of those too often overlooked.
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