And Now, From Your Host….

There is little need to manufacture a case… against the scholarship of Howard Zinn.  Simply turn a few pages in his mammoth collection of neo-marxist myths and his utter lack of historical discipline is apparent.  With sneers, winks, and contrived expertise, Zinn proclaims his biased interpretation of America’s founding documents.  He offers no evidence to support his contentious positions- simply stating that “bias” excuses this lack of basic academic rigor.

Be sure to talk about tyranny ! The commoners think they hate that !

All this language of popular control over governments, the right of rebellion and revolution, indignation at political tyranny, economic burdens, and military attacks, was language well suited to unite large numbers of colonists, and persuade even those who had grievances against one another to turn against England.”    Zinn cannot acknowledge that ordinary colonial citizens had a grudge with England.  The wicked colonial elites used “Common Sense” and the Declaration of Independence to manipulate the masses into fighting the British.  The obvious deduction is that Zinn believed  Colonial grievances were not legitimate.  His source material throughout this section of his book is Charles Beard’s “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution”- the long discredited study of the economic origins of our nation’s founding.  Beard was taken to task by the next generation of historians, but Zinn refuses to acknowledge the deficiencies of his source material.

The people of Boston were clearly manipulated into dumping tea….

The academic dishonesty is the toughest part… of Zinn’s work to swallow.  Ignoring volumes of well researched, balanced studies to persistently argue his “biased” view of history is what earns Zinn his “radical” credentials.  The very core of his radicalism was a disregard to academic standards and peer review.  The reputation he built as an anti-establishment hero protects his work from proper scrutiny.  Enlisting celebrities for a dramatic reading of the A People’s History  will further deflect attention from the lack of substance in the words Matt Damon recites.  Zinn is definitive proof that lousy work can be remembered if it has been done colorfully.

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3 responses to “And Now, From Your Host….

  1. I’m not going to lie – Zinn’s work was once quite alluring to me, and I even dedicated a post praising it. Alas, I had read it many years ago in my youthful, far-left days, and in retrospect (and with the help of you succinct critique) I can see exactly what you mean. Thank you as always.

    • His allure is understandable, there is the reputation that the book is dangerous, maybe even a threat to the power structure. Closer examination, and peer review, prove it to be sloppy and unprofessional. Current historians who have praised him are really just being nice; it is well known that Zinn had little respet for them.

      • That’s sort of what happened to me. Once I read through it with more scrutiny, certainly things didn’t add up or felt right. What’s fascinating, though perhaps unsurprising, is that every one of the bad history books you’ve criticized here are best sellers…

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