Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose leftist "A People's History of the United States" became a million-selling alternative to mainstream texts and a favorite of such celebrities as Bruce Springsteen and Ben Affleck, died Wednesday. He was 87.
Zinn died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, Calif., daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn said. The historian was a resident of Auburndale, Mass.
Published in 1980 with little promotion and a first printing of 5,000, "A People's History" was – fittingly – a people's best-seller, attracting a wide audience through word of mouth and reaching 1 million sales in 2003. Although Zinn was writing for a general readership, his book was taught in high schools and colleges throughout the country, and numerous companion editions were published, including "Voices of a People's History," a volume for young people and a graphic novel
"A People's History of the United States" was a very influential book to me and a lot of people I know. No matter our political leanings, it always managed to spark a good, civilized discussion. Howard Zinn will be missed.
MacGruber! Making life-saving inventions out of household materials! MacGruber! Getting in and out of ultra-sticky situations! MacGruber! The guy's a freakin' genius! MACGRUBER!
Good luck getting that theme song out of your head
That's too bad. Zinn's work was amazing to me as an annoying 10th grader trying to outsmart his geriatric US History teacher. Some years after graduating, I was talking to a friend's younger sibling at a party and found out that the current US History curriculum at my old high school now included A People's History. Score one for upstate NY.
Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.
Aside from any ambiguity about a possible afterlife, Western culture places a different value on life and death, I think. The Japanese, for example, have a tradition of honorable suicide, something not found in our cultural heritage.