Which was my main point all along - that Zinn's book is influential and widely used. Kevin goes on in his lengthy post to explain that he uses it with a critical eye and suggests to his readers that is probably what others are doing.
I seriously doubt that, though I'm sure that is the case with some. And I do appreciate the fact that Kevin, along with others who have weighed in, acknowledge that Zinn's book is poor history. So let me attempt to cut through all the back and forth and some of the misunderstanding, some which I likely, though not intentionally, contributed to:
- All who have weighed in seem to agree that Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is politically motivated from a hard left perspective. It would be hard to deny that since Zinn himself proudly proclaims it.
- The initial (though incomplete) evidence appears to indicate that Zinn's book is popular and widely used, though most academics involved in this discussion never had it assigned.
- I do not believe, as Ken Noe suggests, that the "majority of academics are commies." I do believe, however, that there is a pervasive leftist culture in much of academia. How anyone can argue different than that is beyond me. That does not mean that all professors are pinko commie-libs. Logic would suggest, nonetheless, that Zinn's perspective would more likely find favor in these institutions than would a more traditional approach to interpretation.
- I agree with Kevin Levin that Zinn's book could be used to instruct students comparing left/right interpretations of history, though Zinn's book is certainly an extreme example. As a matter of fact, I think that is a good idea, as long as Zinn's self-proclaimed leftist radicalism is made clear to students.
Unless conclusive evidence can be presented, we will have to agree to disagree.
As soon as I get a reply from the publisher, I will post on it. I will also post something later which further indicates Zinn's influence.
**Update: I know most of my readers have enough sense to ignore the totally idiotic comments on other blogs about me being close to wanting to "burn books", and wanting to "exclude information." Those making such comments are ignorant and diminish what credibility they hoped to have.