The Opressed. Speaks of Dr. Howard Zinn's " A People's History of the United States"

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Dr. Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States might be

better titled A Proletarian's History of the United States. In the first

three chapters Zinn looks at not only the history of the conquerors,

rulers, and leaders; but also the history of the enslaved, the

oppressed, and the led. Like any American History book covering the time

period of 1492 until the early 1760's, A People's History tells the

story of the "discovery" of America, early colonization by European

powers, the governing of these colonies, and the rising discontent of

the colonists towards their leaders. Zinn, however, stresses the role of

a number of groups and ideas that most books neglect or skim over: the

plight of the Native Americans that had their numbers reduced by up to

90% by European invasion, the equality of these peoples in many regards

to their European counterparts, the importation of slaves into America

and their unspeakable travel conditions and treatment, the callous

buildup of the agricultural economy around these slaves, the

discontented colonists whose plight was ignored by the ruling

bourgeoisie, and most importantly, the rising class and racial struggles

in America that Zinn correctly credits as being the root of many of the

problems that we as a nation have today.

It is refreshing to see a book

that spends space based proportionately around the people that lived

this history. When Columbus arrived on the Island of Haiti, there were

39 men on board his ships compared to the 250,000 Indians on Haiti. If

the white race accounts for less than two hundredths of one percent of

the island's population, it is only fair that the natives get more than

the two or three sentences that they get in most history books. Zinn

cites population figures, first person accounts,