The Train Keeps Moving: A Small Tribute to Howard Zinn

I don’t remember exactly when I discovered Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States. It must have been about 2000, after I’d stopped working in the wilderness program and after I received my degree in sociology. If I’d read Zinn’s seminal work before ’96 I almost certainly would have become a historian rather than a sociologist as history was and remains my first love. But like many students of history I was not sure of the direction I wanted to go with it. History was fascinating, but most histories were a regurgitation of the same paradigms with some minor innovation to justify their existence.

As fascinating as I thought history was, I wanted to make a real difference in the lives of living people, every day people. I was interested in kids failing school, getting into trouble, trying to navigate the stormy seas of society without the adequate moral compass to keep them from addiction, gang participation, crime, violence or sexual precocity and confusion. I was interested in the victims of our society’s regimes of knowledge…

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