Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A People's History of the United States

1492-Present, by Howard Zinn.

Quickie Recap: Does America really need an introduction?

Quickie Review: I was gutted by the first page, the first fucking page, when Christopher Columbus gets off his boat, is touched by the generosity of the "native" Americans and remarks what "fine servants" they would make..."With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." What a sickeningly cynical way to give birth to a nation, and yet there it is, on the very first page....and it made me wonder what kind of people would go on to celebrate this man, even name a national holiday for him...but not to worry: there were still 700 pages to go.
Luc lent me this book, called it his bible. And I totally get how you might come to hold a belief system based on this book, because I felt stirred while reading it. I felt restless and touched and small. Zinn is critical of his government every step of the way, and by all accounts, there is much to be critical of. However, this is the people's history, and it is clear that Zinn feels that it's the people who have made his country a great one, in spite of its government, in spite of the oppressive class who relied on slavery to give birth to a nation and now relies on poverty to keep it going. People fought...and I can't help but feel complacent in comparison, and this has me a little worried for the future.
Quickie Recommendation: Arm yourself.

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