A Review Of A Peoples History Of

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A Review Of A People?s History Of Essay, Research Paper A Review of A People?s History of The United States A People?s History of the United States concentrates on the personal experiences and struggles of people who lived in the United States from 1492-present. It is a view of history from the common man?s perspective, rather than the view of the leaders and upper class of this country. The book revolves around the views of history from the oppressed point of view. Howard Zinn makes it clear from the beginning that he will value the views and experiences of the oppressed over the view of the oppressor. He describes the conquest from the point of view of the Native American population. He describes slavery in the south from the point of view of the slave. He describes

industrialization from the point of view of the workers on the shop floor. He describes World War II from the point of view of the soldiers on the front lines. He describes the Vietnam War from the point of view of the Vietnamese. You have to realize that these are his views of history as he sees them, and is only one side of the story. There is no such thing as unbiased, balanced, truthful history. History is in the eye of the teller. In this case, Howard Zinn?s view of the history of this great country is extremely Marxist. He seems to pick and choose historical data that fits his agenda in an attempt to evoke an emotional response from the reader. He does make some good points pertaining to injustices and misconceptions regarding the idealistic view of history, but unrealistic

perceptions are made of the founding and progress of this country. You have to ask yourself, which is more important, that Columbus made his way to America or that he treated the Indians horribly when he got here ? Which is more important, that the Declaration of Independence states, that ?all men are created equal? or the fact that the author of the Declaration owned hundreds of slaves? Zinn seems to argue that we cannot end evils like genocide, exploitation, and abuse until we ?face? them … drag them into the light of day. To that point we are in complete agreement. But, the very heart of Zinn’s ?history? is distorted. To use the two most obvious examples; he condemns Columbus for genocide and America for slavery. However, on the genocidal religious practices of Native

Americans and on the African elements of the international black slave trade, Zinn is virtually silent. That silence is a crime of sorts. It is a crime because it distorts the truth rather than advances it and justice cannot be had by any means other than the truth. If Zinn wants justice he needs to face the truth and to face it he has to be willing to look for it. In my opinion he has attempted nothing of the sort in this book. Zinn’s interpretation of the motivations of the founders with respect to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are inaccurate. For example, if you knew nothing about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Zinn would have you believe that they were merely the results of a clever ploy by the rich landowners. To ?buy? enough support from the middle

class to assure continuation of the system that kept the rich, wealthy. You would not know that these documents and the ideas they reflect have been profoundly important not only in the United States, but also throughout the world. In my opinion his history of the Cold War is wrong as well. In reading about the Cold War, one would emerge from Zinn’s account believing that the U.S. government had driven the arms race throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In his view the Soviets, it seems, had no role in all of this. Zinn fails to mention that after the end of the Cold War, what emerged from Soviet and then Russian sources strongly corroborated most of the United States views on the Cold War. The Soviet missiles were real; they?re potential to conquer Europe with their massive army was