Quick, how many of you readers have heard of Howard Zinn? If you’ve heard of him, how many of you have read the late historian’s “A People’s History of the United States”? D’Souza’s America would have us believe that Zinn’s (according to D’Souza he’s the most read historian of the last 50 years) fabulist telling of our allegedly sordid history is accepted as fact in Obama’s America. Really? In truth, Americans probably know Zinn’s negative history about as well as they know Paul Johnson’s more positive account of this great country; as in not very well.Mr Tamny's point is that Zinn's People's History may be much-assigned and not-much read. And thus a patron of America might not be that familiar with the origins and the intellectual foundations of the guilt narrative. Or for that matter, with Johnson's A History of the American People (not explicitly a rebuttal to Zinn, although the author's preface notes, "I have not bowed to current academic nostrums about nomenclature or accepted the fly-blown philacteries of Political Correctness."
Howard Zinn well might have done great damage to scholarship. But if students are not reading or understanding, what difference, at this point, does it make?
Advanced Placement students might have the opportunity to compare Zinn with Johnson. The rest of the school population? Not so much. I finished Johnson years ago, before the Fifty Book Challenge, and have Zinn in the stack of things to read on chilly afternoons.