Album Review

Zinn, Howard – “a People’s History of The United States” – [Ak Press Audio]

abacus   7/25/2012   A Library, CD

AK Press brings us some more agit-prop from influential historian and activist Howard Zinn. This is a lecture he did at Reed College in 1995 to coincide with the publishing of his book The People’s History of the United States.??Here he talks about his position in the profession of history and how he came to adopt the radical perspectives he espouses. The tone is very conversational, with not too much proselytizing and a lot of humorous interjections and comparisons. The first section of the lecture focuses on the profession of history and historiography, critiquing the cult of objectivity that infects academic historians and challenging mainstream historical perspectives. The real meat of this lecture starts off at the end of disc 1 and leads into disc 2 where he talks about his exploration of labor history and involvement in the civil rights movement and the effect this had on his point of view. With this framing he leads us into a discussion of the dynamics and potentials for social change through education and freedom of information. The importance of revealing the history of anti-systemic struggles becomes a source of inspiration for those discontented by the state of our union and seeking models for future transformations.

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