Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Radical History: Conversation with Howard Zinn, Author, 'A People's History of the United States'; 4/20/01 by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Howard Zinn. Howard Zinn is an activist, a historian, a writer, and a playwright. He is the author of many books, including A People's History of the United States, The Zinn Reader, and an autobiography called You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train. His three plays are Emma, Daughter of Venus, and Marx in Soho. He is a Professor Emeritus of History at Boston University.

  1. Background ... observing his parents' lives ... reading Dickens ... life and scholarship intertwined ... becoming a radical by experience ... dissertation on LaGuardia
  2. The Early Civil Rights Movement ... Spelman college ... learning black history ... watching democracy come alive
  3. The Development of Social Movements ... unforeseen success
  4. Experiencing War ... bombardier in World War II ... first use of napalm ... no questioning ... the myth of precision bombing ... no "good war"
  5. History ... the omissions of history books ... examples: Columbus; Jacksonian democracy ... courage
  6. Writing History ... clarity ... passion ... education through activism ... knowledge of history as empowerment
  7. Conclusion ... cautious optimism ... the reason for learning ... engaging in the struggle

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