Thursday, January 28, 2010

howard zinn: r.i.p.



historian howard zinn died yesterday, january 27 - he was 87 years old. zinn, while not a household name, was the author of "a people's history of the united states" - among the 20+ books that he published during his lifetime. while zinn taugh at spelman college and boston university (retiring in 1988), he was born in brooklyn and attended n.y.u. and columbia - a true new yorker :D

i first encountered his "people's history" - a decidedly alternative view of the united states - in the early 1980's. but it was zinn's more traditional "laguardia in congress" that made me into a fan. then a couple of years later, it was zinn's memoir, "you can't be neutral on a moving train" that converted me into a lifelong admirer of the man.

"you can't be neutral on a moving train" was subsequently (2004) made into a documentary, with matt damon as the narrator. more recently, zinn had been in the news as "a peoples history" premiered last month on the history channel as the program "the people speak." zinn has had an enormous impact on popular culture.

rest in peace, howard zinn.

2 comments:

Slomohusky said...

Just heard him in an older NPR interview. He was talking about his experiences at the end of WW2. Which obviously had a great impact on him. Also, JD Salinger died today or death was annouced today.

rundangerously said...

interesting how experiences shape us! his ww2 was big... and he also mentioned being knocked down and out by a police officer at some rally/demonstration!

not sure what was up w/salinger, though?! one great book followed by an entirely anti-social/hermit life?! what spawned that?!