Howard Zinn: Historical Interpretation + Q&A (1997; must-see)

Howard Zinn

Image by via Flickr

with Howard Zinn
Writer, Dandelion Salad
February 5, 2014

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” — George Orwell, 1984

The Film Archives on Dec 23, 2013

A people’s history, history from below, or folk history is a type of historical narrative which attempts to account for historical events from the perspective of common people rather than political and other leaders.

A people’s history (otherwise known as social history) is the history of the world that is the story of mass movements and of the outsiders. Individuals not included in the past in other type of writing about history are part of history-from-below theory’s primary focus, which includes the disenfranchised, the oppressed, the poor, the nonconformists, the subaltern and the otherwise forgotten people. This theory also usually focuses on events occurring in the fullness of time, or when an overwhelming wave of smaller events cause certain developments to occur.

This revisionist approach to writing history is in direct opposition to methods which tend to emphasize single great figures in history, referred to as the great man theory; it argues that the driving factor of history is the daily life of ordinary people, their social status and profession. These are the factors that “push and pull” on opinions and allow for trends to develop, as opposed to great people introducing ideas or initiating events.

In his book A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn wrote: “The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.”


from the archives:

Corporate Media’s Bias is One of Omission by William Blum

Howard Zinn: Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress

Untold Truths About the American Revolution By Howard Zinn (repost)

Howard Zinn: Be Honest About the History of Our Country

Howard Zinn: Myths of the Good Wars (Three ‘Holy’ Wars) (must-see)

The Bomb: Daniel Ellsberg

A People’s History of The US by Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (2004; must-see)

8 thoughts on “Howard Zinn: Historical Interpretation + Q&A (1997; must-see)

  1. Pingback: Howard Zinn: The Interpretation of History – Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: Chris Hedges and Eric Foner: Not Just the History That Those in Power Want Us to Remember – Dandelion Salad

  3. Pingback: Columbus, the Indians, Human Progress | Dandelion Salad

  4. Pingback: Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress by Howard Zinn | Dandelion Salad

  5. Pingback: Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress | Dandelion Salad

  6. Much applause to Lo for posting this classic address.

    It must surely take a colossal effort of perversity to mis-hear the truth of what is said here.

    Why squander so much valuable integrity on denial, when all we need to do is just listen ~ then act wisely upon what we have learned ?

    I guess some folks need a bit longer to get the message, than others do. 1997? That’s all of nineteen years ago…& it’s a first for me.

    There’s another word closely related to omission, and that’s erasure.

    What society needs more than anything is a restoration of trust, an affirmation of the real. A genuine sense of proportion. As the great Canadian peoples’ poet Milton Acorn once averred, “dig up my heart.”

    Thank you Mr Zinn.

  7. Pingback: Chris Hedges: Blind Obedience Works Well on the Battlefield, But Not in a Peacetime Society, Part 2 | Dandelion Salad

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