Wednesday, January 27, 2010

R.I.P.: Howard Zinn

In the film Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon's character says to his psychologist, played by Robin Williams, "If you want to read a real history book, read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. That book will knock you on your ass."

It's true. Zinn's book tells a much more real and relevant story of American history than all the watered-down truths and pumped-up mythologies we're taught in high school textbooks. People's History records the struggles and successes of average citizens -- workers, students, slaves, men, women, young, old, etc., and it's not a better tale just because it's true. It's also much more interesting.

Howard Zinn died today at the age of 87. A decorated veteran of World War II, Zinn fought against the immorality of war for the rest of his life. A leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he was on the front lines of the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s. Even after he retired from his post as a professor at Boston University, Zinn never stopped standing up and speaking out.

Tonight there is one less courageous person in the world.

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