Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 - January 27, 2010) was a historian, playwright, and activist. He wrote the classic A People's History of the United States, “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories.”
The book, which has sold more than two million copies, has been featured on The Sopranos and Simpsons, and in the film Good Will Hunting. In 2009, History aired The People Speak, an acclaimed documentary co-directed by Zinn, based on A People's History and a companion volume, Voices of a People's History of the United States. Howard Zinn was a co-executive producer, co-director , and co-author of The People Speak.
Zinn grew up in Brooklyn in a working-class, immigrant household. At 18 he became a shipyard worker and then flew bomber missions during World War II. These experiences helped shape his opposition to war and passion for history. After attending college under the GI Bill and earning a Ph.D. in history from Columbia, he taught at Spelman, where he became active in the civil rights movement. After being fired by Spelman for his support for student protesters, Zinn became a professor of Political Science at Boston University, were he taught until his retirement in 1988.
Zinn was the author of many books, including an autobiography, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train, the play Marx in Soho, and Passionate Declarations. He received the Lannan Foundation Literary Award for Nonfiction and the Eugene V. Debs award for his writing and political activism.
Additonal biographical information:
- From Wikipedia:
Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 - January 27, 2010) was an American historian, author, left-wing activist, playwright, intellectual and Professor of Political Science at Boston University from 1964 to 1988. He wrote more than 20 books, which included his best-selling and influential A People’s History of the United States. Zinn wrote extensively about the civil rights, civil liberties and anti-war movements. His memoir, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, was also the title of a 2004 documentary about Zinn’s life and work.
- For an autobiographical YouTube video (from the documentary “You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train”) see: