Book Review: “A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present” by Howard Zinn

This book acts as a counter weight against the history we’re normally taught at school. As I was told in my early age that history is normally written by the victor or people who won the wars – not by the underdogs or victims who got in the way of the progress. This book is written for the underdogs: black, hispaniac, native American Indian, the poor who committed crimes due to disadvantaged circumstances, draft deserters, and etc.

The author did a great deal of research. Somehow, I had this impression that he scouted newspapers for the littlest victim stories to make his case, but I guess that’s where the littlest victim/people tend to show up, not on the newspaper headlines.

The only demerits of the book is that the mood of the book was very depressing and the time line was not sequential from earliest to the latest or vice versa. Rather it jumped around based on the victim “characters” he’s advocating. This doesn’t make a good history book but it makes his case more coherent, I suppose.

From the book, I learned of the plight of under-privileges people who seem to be enslaved under the privileged upper class. Despite the shortcoming of not actively lifting those people above their circumstances, this country still boasts the most egalitarian rules without plunging into a wholly socialistic system or worse into a communist system. It’s in this country that Howard Zinn gets to publish a book like this freely without retribution and still earn money from it. His warning is duly noted and the history has spoken. The book served its purpose.