Howard Zinn’s “People’s History”

Tracking U.S. Intervention Across the Globe

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | January 29, 2010                    

Howard Zinn Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, author, speaker, playwright, teacher and activist best known for A People’s History of the United States, which has become a kind of textbook for the left.

Zinn’s experience as a shipyard worker and volunteer Air Force bombadier during World War II led to his disillusionment and subsequent transformation into one of the leading anti-imperialist peace activists of the 20th century. His work, like Noam Chomsky’s, has been highly influential, inspiring not only millions of readers, but celebrities such as Matt Damon, Bruce Springsteen, Morgan Freeman, Bob Dylan, Woody Harrelson, Viggo Mortensen, Josh Brolin, Ben Affleck, John Legend, Oliver Stone and Eddie Vedder.

Here are some writings and an informative video demonstrating the perspective of Howard Zinn.

A People’s History of American Empire (2008)

A People's History of American Empire by Howard Zinn “Various interventions following the U.S. defeat in Vietnam seemed to reflect the desperate need of the still-reigning superpower – even after the fall of its powerful rival, the Soviet Union – to establish its dominance everywhere. Hence the invasion of Grenada in 1982, the bombing assault on Panama in 1989, the first Gulf war of 1991. Was George Bush Sr. heartsick over Saddam Hussein’s seizure of Kuwait, or was he using that event as an opportunity to move U.S. power firmly into the coveted oil region of the Middle East? Given the history of the United States, given its obsession with Middle Eastern oil dating from Franklin Roosevelt’s 1945 deal with King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, and the CIA’s overthrow of the democratic Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953, it is not hard to decide that question.”

This video, narrated by actor Viggo Mortensen, is accompanied by Mike Konopacki’s illustrations from the book.

Mossadegh & Arbenz & Lumumba & Sukarno & Allende... shirts

Mossadegh & Arbenz & Lumumba & Sukarno & Allende... t-shirts

A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present (1980)

Also included in The Twentieth Century: A People’s History (2003)

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn “From military aid, it was a short step to military intervention. What Truman had said at the start of the Korean war about “the rule of force” and the “rule of law” was again and again, under Truman and his successors, contradicted by American action. In Iran, in 1953, the Central Intelligence Agency succeeded in overthrowing a government which nationalized the oil industry. In Guatemala, in 1954, a legally elected government was overthrown by an invasion force of mercenaries trained by the CIA at military bases in Honduras and Nicaragua and supported by four American fighter planes flown by American pilots. The invasion put into power Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, who had at one time received military training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.”

70th Anniversary of TIME’s Man of the Year Article


Related links:

Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower on Iran: “We Are Not Imperialistic” (March 1953)

VIDEO: End of Empire: Iran | Granada Television | ITV (1985)

Chalmers Johnson on Iran, Blowback and the Perils of Empire

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram