Cover image for The future of history : interviews with David Barsamian
The future of history : interviews with David Barsamian
Zinn, Howard, 1922-2010.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Monroe, Me : Common Courage Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
166 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D16.9 Z56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Interviews focusing on the last century take a look at history from the standpoint of the ordinary people of the country.

Author Notes

A committed radical historian and activist, Howard Zinn approaches the study of the past from the point of view of those whom he feels have been exploited by the powerful.

Zinn was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1922. After working in local shipyards during his teens, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force, where he saw combat as a bombardier in World War II. He received a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1958 and was a postdoctoral fellow in East Asian studies at Harvard University.

While teaching at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, Zinn joined the civil rights movement and wrote The Southern Mystique (1964) and SNCC: The New Abolitionists (1964). He also became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, writing Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal (1967) and visiting Hanoi to receive the first American prisoners released by the North Vietnamese.

Zinn's best-known and most-praised work, as well as his most controversial, is A People's History of the United States (1980). It explores American history under the thesis that most historians have favored those in power, leaving another story untold. Zinn discusses such topics as Native American views of Columbus and the socialist and anarchist opposition to World War I in examining his theory that historical change is most often due to "mass movements of ordinary people."

Zinn's other books include You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times (1995) and Artists in Times of War (2004). He has also written the plays Emma (1976), Daughter of Venus (1985), and Marx in Soho (1999).

(Bowker Author Biography) Howard Zinn grew up in the immigrant slums of Brooklyn, where he worked in shipyards in his late teens. He saw combat duty as an air force bombardier in World War II, and afterward received his doctorate in history from Columbia University. His first book, "La Guardia in Congress", was an Albert Beveridge Prize winner. In 1956, he moved with his wife and children to Atlanta to become chairman of the history department of Spelman College. He has since written and edited many more books, including A People's History of the United States, SNCC: The New Abolitionist; Disobedience and Democracy; The Politics of History; The Pentagon Papers: Critical Essays; You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times; and The Zinn Reader (Seven Stories Press, 1997).

Zinn is also the author of three plays, Emma, Daughter of Venus, and Marx in Soho. Among the many honors Zinn has received is the 1998 Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction. A professor emeritus of political science at Boston University, he lives with his wife, Roslyn, in the Boston area, near their children and grandchildren.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

In the 1990s, socialist historian Zinn was interviewed for six programs broadcast on "alternative" radio stations. To the extent these interviews have a theme, it's "Where has all the class-consciousness gone?" Zinn advances anecdotes about his students to buttress his optimism that class identity isn't dead, and that youth aren't uniformly seduced by the profit motive he excoriates. Elsewhere, the sympathetic interviewer elicited details about Zinn such as why he became a radical (getting knocked unconscious by mounted police during a 1939 communist demonstration), and why he, a World War II bombardier, turned antimilitary. The life-story factoids weave among the traffic cones of Zinn's criticisms about U.S. history and historians. The Zinn Reader (1997) furnishes the interviewer's concluding points, ranging from Marxism to, irony of ironies, how media capitalist Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV might turn Zinn's most popular work, A People's History of the United States (1980), into a documentary series. Libraries have (or should have) that book; where it circulates well these interviews will be well placed. Gilbert Taylor