R.I.P. Howard Zinn

Telling it like it was: Howard Zinn

Telling it like it was: Howard Zinn

Author, teacher and activist Howard Zinn has died at age 87.

Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” remains an influential leftist overview of American history, calling Christopher Columbus out for genocide and trumpeting the contributions of labor, minorities and women. And to think the book, which has been through myriad reprints, initially hit the stands when Reagan was in the White House.

“I can’t think of anyone who had such a powerful and benign influence,” linguist Noam Chomsky, a close friend of Zinn’s, told the AP. “His historical work changed the way millions of people saw the past.”

I agree completely.

As a writer toiling in obscurity, I was also heartened to learn that “A People’s History” was initially published with next to no publicity and a run of 5,000 copies. Didn’t stop the book from selling millions, mainly through word of mouth.