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A Matter Of Opinion

Fri., Jan. 29, 2010, 12:43 p.m.

People’s historian passed, too

Author J.D. Salinger's death on Wednesday got lots of appropriate attention but it seems to have eclipsed that of political scientist Howard Zinn on the same day. Sallinger was known primarily for his novel "Catcher in the Rye."  Zinn was known most widely for one book as well: "The People's History of the United States," which I saw described in one reference as a "landmark leftist manifesto."  It was mainly a look back on the development of the United States told through the eyes of those who, in Zinn's eyes, have been kicked around.  I read it a few years ago after it was passed along to me by a very conservative friend who got half way through and couldn't bear to read further.  Zinn's book was where I first read of the Wobbly free speech campaign in Spokane a century ago.  "Landmark leftist manifesto" sounds a little inflammatory to me, but those words seemed to have been written by an admirer, so who am I to quarrel?

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