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2003-02-25

A People’s History of the United States, 1,000,000 Copies and Counting: Alice Walker, Danny Glover, Kurt Vonnegut, Marisa Tomei and Others Celebrate Howard Zinn’s Classic

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The majority of Americans have been taught a red, white and blue history of this country.

In our grade schools, middle schools and high schools, we were taught Columbus 'discovered' America.

We were taught that the people who shaped history were the so-called 'great men' like Columbus, Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.

We were taught that every American has privileges, rights and freedoms unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Or ­ if not all of us had those rights and freedoms in the past, at least we all enjoy them now.

We were taught that we can all achieve success no matter how poor we grew up or what kind of racism we experience ­ if we just try hard enough.

We were taught that "America" is the best country in the world.

Well, in 1960, a former shipyard worker and World War II Air Force bombardier decided to take on these myths, and to redefine patriotism. He spent the next two decades researching, and a feverish year writing. In 1980 he published a new kind of history of the United States. A history that looks at how ordinary people experienced life in this country from the ground up: a people’s history.

Who would have thought a history book could become a best-seller? Who would have thought that a history book could not only become a best seller, but could become ever more popular over the years? Who would have thought a little while ago, Professor Howard Zinn would have sold the millionth copy of his famous book, ??A People’s History of the United States?

Well that’s what happened, and on Sunday night in New York City, a group of renowned authors, actresses and editors gathered to pay homage to the book that changed history.

Professor Zinn, Authors Alice Walker and Kurt Vonnegut, actresses and actor Alfre Woodard, Marisa Tomei and Danny Glover, editors Hugh Van Dusen of Harper Collins and Matthew Rothschild of the Progressive magazine and Professor Zinn’s wife, Roslyn Zinn were all there. This is what they had to say. . . .

Tape:

  • Howard Zinn, Author, People’s History of the United States.
  • Alice Walker, author, novelist and essayist.
  • Kurt Vonnegut, author.
  • Matthew Rothschild, Editor, The Progressive.
  • Alfre Woodard, actress.
  • Marisa Tomei, actress.
  • Danny Glover, actor.
  • Hugh Van Dusen, Editor, HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Roslyn Zinn, Howard Zinn’s wife.

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