Howard Zinn died in 2010. A few years ago, when I tried listing the most influential books in my life, Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States was not among them, and this was an unfortunate omission, to be rectified in a future update.
Now more than ever, you need to know these things.
“Throughout U.S. history, our military has been used not for moral purposes but to expand economic, political, and military power,” says a cartoon Howard Zinn in Mike Konopacki’s 273-page comic book A People’s History of American Empire. Written with Zinn and historian Paul Buhle, the book adapts Zinn’s pathbreaking history from below, A People’s History of the United States, and his autobiography You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train in a direct examination of the U.S. Imperium. Konopacki calls the book his “answer” to the textbooks of “the power structure.” (Explore highlights from the comic history here.)Above, you can see a short video adaptation of some key text from A People’s History of American Empire. Narrated by Viggo Mortensen, the video gives us a nutshell version of Zinn’s cultural, political, and moral education—what the Germans used to call bildung—as he grows from a somewhat naive WWII bomber pilot, to a college student on the G.I. Bill, to a graduate student, then professor, of history.