Tag Archives: Howard Zinn

“Zinn-s” of the Father

Mitch Daniels is absolutely right… “A People’s History of the United States” is a fraud.  It is a best-selling fraud, but it isn’t the first, nor will it be the last  bad history book to reach an unwitting audience.   Zinn, an avowed Marxist (in life, not just academia) crafted a hymnal for New Left disciples to espouse anti-American gospels for generations to come.

This country made me a multimillionaire, but I hate it because this guy says I should !

Zinn’s true genius is the ability…. to pass Marxist bias and left-wing generalities off as actual scholarship.  He offers no research of his own, merely citing the work of others- to mock it with his unsubstantiated drivel.  Impressionable undergrads adore its simplicity while celebrities mine whatever anti-establishment credibility waving a well worn copy can win them.  Matt Damon  used his “academic” credentials (he played a genius once) to support a new edition following Zinn’s death in 2012.  The irony here is that Will Hunting (Damon) proposed a choice in that film–Gordon Wood or Howard Zinn- historian or huckster- sadly, too many eager students accept the cheap thrills of Zinn to the disciplined scholarship of Wood.

Wait ! Obama <hearts> Gordon Wood? He must be a traitor!

Zinn believed the United States was… founded by rich people, to perpetuate evil and oppress millions of the nameless and faceless.  These are the true heroes, the idealized workers who Zinn never really understands beyond Marxist caricatures.  Current historians pay obedient homage in fear that criticism may lead to academic backlash- Doris Kearns- Goodwin is the perfect example of a writer Zinn despised, yet she fawns over his legacy… the New Left has its lock-step.   Michael Kammen, the great historian at Cornell University, summarized Zinn succinctly ….

“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”

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Let the Readers Decide

Compare two descriptions of the same historical event… the American Revolution.  The first is an introduction by the esteemed Colonial era scholar, Gordon Wood.   The second passage is the analysis of “radical historian”  Howard Zinn.  Two very different ideas by men who cannot possibly be writing in the same discipline.

“The Revolution did not just eliminate monarchy and create republics; it actually reconstituted what Americans meant by public or state power and brought about an entirely new kind of popular politics and a new kind of democratic officeholder. . . . Most important, it made the interests and prosperity of ordinary people — their pursuit of happiness — the goal of society and government. The Revolution did not merely create a political and legal environment conducive to economic expansion; it also released powerful popular entrepreneurial and commercial energies that few realized existed and transformed the economic landscape of the country. In short, the Revolution was the most radical and most far-reaching event in American history.”

“Around 1776, certain important people in the English colonies made a discovery that would prove enormously useful for the next two hundred years. They found that by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from the favorites of the British Empire. In the process, they could hold back a number of potential rebellions and create a consensus of popular support for the rule of a new, privileged leadership.”

Liberty, equality, pursuit of happiness… be damned.  The founding of the United States was simply  for exploitation and profit.  Now, Mr. Zinn can prove all of this with documentation, right?  Ummmmmm…..

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Zinn-ister Intent

Who needs sources? I've got Jason Bourne!

Who needs sources? I’ve got Jason Bourne!

The New York Times boldly proclaimed Howard Zinn’s…. A People’s History should be required reading for all college students.  Professors and high school teachers alike have responded by making Zinn’s screed one of the top ten requested academic books.  The only justification can be found in celebrity endorsement and the book’s adherence to politically correct platitudes about our past.  Zinn egregiously claims:

  • Maoist China was “the closest thing, in the long history of that ancient country, to a people’s government, independent of outside control.”
  • Castro and his executioner Che Guevara  “had no bloody record of suppression.”
  • American actions following 9/11 were morally equivalent to the terror attack  “It seemed that the United States was reacting to the horrors perpetrated by the terrorists against innocent people in New York by killing other innocent people in Afghanistan.”
  • America’s very founding was a fraud  “They found that by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from the favorites of the British Empire. In the process, they could hold back a number of potential rebellions and create a consensus of popular support for the rule of a new, privileged leadership.”
  • World War II was never about ridding the world of German Fascism or Japanese Militarism- the war was America’s fault!
    “Was it the logical policy of a government whose main interest was not stopping Fascism but advancing the imperial interests of the United States? For those interests, in the thirties, an anti-Soviet policy seemed best. Later, when Japan and Germany threatened U.S. world interests, a pro-Soviet, anti-Nazi policy became preferable.”

    founding_fathers

Where’s the research?  Where’s the scholarship?  Where’s the objectivity?  

 

Zinn himself, said it best,

I wanted my writing of history and my teaching of history to be a part of social struggle”

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Young and No Head

As long as young adults seek ways to… “discover themselves” and anger their parents- there will be audience for Howard Zinn’s A People’s History.   Parental units are part of the so-called establishment and our farthest reaching right-of-passage in America is fighting the conformity of the “the man.”   The biggest error in judgment these young rebels make is seeing the establishment as encompassing every facet of our existence- even our history…. Zinn is where too many young minds are exposed to distorted, often lazy examinations of these crucial moments.

howardzinnonvalencia-620x463

The failure to see our Founders as truly revolutionary… is the most damaging element in Howard Zinn’s rambling.  That’s what A People’s History is really, unsubstantiated neo-Marxist rambling.  Europeans were murdering oppressors driven by greed; Natives were peaceful environmentalists seeking harmony with nature.  The Founding of America was perpetrated by an elite few looking for a more efficient way to accrue wealth.  To Zinn and his readers this is all very provocative, but when placed under the scrutiny of peer review it is amateurish.

Maybe there's hope

Maybe there’s hope

Zinn’s work fails on many levels… but contextually he refuses to surrender bias to the complexities of human interaction.  The Pequot war was not as simple as “Red Man Good, White Man Bad.”  Our Founders were not only motivated by greed- trying explaining that to Robert Morris.  To impressionable undergrads, these arguments are their first bites from the apple of nonconformity.  To the middling academics who refuse to take Zinn to task, the book is an opportunity to gain some anti-establishment credibility with the youngsters.

 

 

 

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Filed under Book Review

Young and No Head

As long as young adults seek ways to… “discover themselves” and anger their parents- there will be audience for Howard Zinn’s A People’s History.   Parental units are part of the so-called establishment and our farthest reaching right-of-passage in America is fighting the conformity of the “the man.”   The biggest error in judgment these young rebels make is seeing the establishment as encompassing every facet of our existence- even our history…. Zinn is where too many young minds are exposed to distorted, often lazy examinations of these crucial moments.

howardzinnonvalencia-620x463

The failure to see our Founders as truly revolutionary… is the most damaging element in Howard Zinn’s rambling.  That’s what A People’s History is really, unsubstantiated neo-Marxist rambling.  Europeans were murdering oppressors driven by greed; Natives were peaceful environmentalists seeking harmony with nature.  The Founding of America was perpetrated by an elite few looking for a more efficient way to accrue wealth.  To Zinn and his readers this is all very provocative, but when placed under the scrutiny of peer review it is amateurish.

Maybe there's hope

Maybe there’s hope

Zinn’s work fails on many levels… but contextually he refuses to surrender bias to the complexities of human interaction.  The Pequot war was not as simple as “Red Man Good, White Man Bad.”  Our Founders were not only motivated by greed- trying explaining that to Robert Morris.  To impressionable undergrads, these arguments are their first bites from the apple of nonconformity.  To the middling academics who refuse to take Zinn to task, the book is an opportunity to gain some anti-establishment credibility with the youngsters.

 

 

 

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Zinn-ister Intent

Who needs sources? I've got Jason Bourne!

Who needs sources? I’ve got Jason Bourne!

The New York Times boldly proclaimed Howard Zinn’s…. A People’s History should be required reading for all college students.  Professors and high school teachers alike have responded by making Zinn’s screed one of the top ten requested academic books.  The only justification can be found in celebrity endorsement and the book’s adherence to politically correct platitudes about our past.  Zinn egregiously claims:

  • Maoist China was “the closest thing, in the long history of that ancient country, to a people’s government, independent of outside control.”
  • Castro and his executioner Che Guevara  “had no bloody record of suppression.”
  • American actions following 9/11 were morally equivalent to the terror attack  “It seemed that the United States was reacting to the horrors perpetrated by the terrorists against innocent people in New York by killing other innocent people in Afghanistan.”
  • America’s very founding was a fraud  “They found that by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from the favorites of the British Empire. In the process, they could hold back a number of potential rebellions and create a consensus of popular support for the rule of a new, privileged leadership.”
  • World War II was never about ridding the world of German Fascism or Japanese Militarism- the war was America’s fault!
    “Was it the logical policy of a government whose main interest was not stopping Fascism but advancing the imperial interests of the United States? For those interests, in the thirties, an anti-Soviet policy seemed best. Later, when Japan and Germany threatened U.S. world interests, a pro-Soviet, anti-Nazi policy became preferable.”

    founding_fathers

Where’s the research?  Where’s the scholarship?  Where’s the objectivity?  

 

Zinn himself, said it best,

I wanted my writing of history and my teaching of history to be a part of social struggle”

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History wishes for the New Year

A few things an  academic outcast would enjoy seeing this year….

Unite us, David...

Unite us, David…

  • A 25th anniversary edition of Stephen Ambrose’s  “D-Day.”  The book would feature a new introduction by David McCullough, extolling the contributions of Ambrose to popular history, national memory,  in particular, the World War 2 generation. 
  • The History Channel televising programs about history.  How about replacing the angry lumberjack show with a weekly historical roundtable discussion….with, you know, historians? 
  • All six of Dumas Malone’s Jefferson biographies made available on Kindle/Nook formats.  50 years ago, a real Jefferson scholar got the story right… the next generation needs to see it.
  • Instead of exposing impressionable undergrads to the whims of huckster, Howard Zinn–  why not introduce them to the works of Gordon Wood?  “Revolutionary Characters” would be a more valuable read than any tripe produced during Zinn’s bitter career.  
An establishment guy?

An establishment guy?

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