Died: 27 January 2010 (heart attack)
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Best known as: Boat-rocking U.S. historian
Howard Zinn is most famous for his 1980 book A People's History of the United States,
a "radical" approach that has earned him the reputation of revising history with an anti-American bias. Called "history from the bottom up" by some, Zinn's book sought to tell the story of the United States from the perspective of the disenfranchised minorities rather than the more traditional perspective of the powerful elite. A decorated veteran of World War II, Zinn was educated at Columbia University in New York, then taught in Georgia during the 1950s. In the late 1960s he began teaching at Boston University in the political science department, and he and Noam Chomsky
(of MIT) were two of the nation's most prominent academics in opposition to the war in Vietnam; in the '70s and '80s he was a critic of U.S. policy in Central America; and in the '90s he was a critic of the Gulf War. His social activism and written works earned him scorn over the years, but his history book is now a standard text in many U.S. high schools and he had a strong influence on the public's perception of Columbus
, the Founding Fathers and American foreign policy.
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