Thursday, April 8, 2010

Howard Zinn: The People's Historian

Howard Zinn is best known as author of the eminently readable magnum opus  A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present; a powerful and inclusive text that follows the course of American social history from the "discovery" in 1492 through to the Millennium. Howard Zinn passed away January 27, 2010, at the age of 87. His long life of activism and scholarship continues to inspire social engagement and engender debate. 

The People Speak: A companion volume to A People's History, titled The People Speak: American Voices, Some Famous, Some Little Known, Dramatic Readings Celebrating the Enduring Spirit of Dissent. Delivering on its title, The People Speak is an anthology of primary source material that includes the words of well known historical figures (Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain) as well as people who are all too often treated as historical non-entities: Native Americans, slaves, migrant-workers, the unemployed, and the working poor. In 2009, the History Channel adapted the book into a documentary. Some of the actors who provide dramatic readings: Benjamin Bratt, Josh Brolin, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Christina Kirk, Viggo Mortenson, Mike O'Malley, Marisa Tomei, and Kerry Washington.
Find it in the catalog!

You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train:  Professor Zinn's memoir, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times, has also been adapted as a documentary. The film features archival material, insightful interviews with Zinn himself, and comments from some of his contemporaries, including Noam Chomsky, Marian Wright Edelman, Daniel Ellsberg, and Alice Walker.
Find it in the catalog!